Quick Answers...Legal Issues
What are some tips about filing a claim against a company in Small Claims Court?
Following are some tips about suing in small claims court:
- Before you file, learn about the limitations and requirements of the small claims court. This includes the maximum amount that you can sue for, and restrictions against filing certain types of cases.
- Ask the clerk of the small claims court for advice about how to file your case. If you do not file correctly, the case might be thrown out.
- Give the company a chance to resolve the problem. Before you sue, notify the company of your intention to sue by sending them a letter. Tell the firm why you feel it owes you money, and the specific dollar amount you want from it.
- Find out the company's legal name, and use that when suing it.
- Formally notify the company of your suite. Ask the court clerk how to do this.
- Prepare your case. Gather your evidence and consider whether there are witnesses who can testify on your behalf. Practice your presentation by explaining your case to friends. Ask if they can understand your position and think you are making a good case. Be clear and concise.
- Go watch a few other cases being tried in Small Claims Court before you file a claim to help you understand the process better.
- Practice with friends and family until you have a clean, concise case.
Brenda Procter, M.S., State Specialist &
Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri-Extension
Last update: Friday, April 21, 2006