If you have a small-value case, the expense of a lengthy lawsuit can keep you from filing. According to, Michel Fontaine Criminal Lawyer, he says this is why states have created small claims court. These are special court procedures created so that plaintiffs with these small-value cases can still use the justice system. This includes those homeowners who wish to sue a contractor who had hired them for maybe say, Winnipeg mold removal, but were left with mold still in their homes. In most cases, small claims court is a short, less formal procedure and you’re not required or expected to have an attorney.
Who is Allowed to Sue?
The laws in your state will determine the types of cases that qualify to be seen in small claims court. In most cases, any competent adult is able to sue in small claims court. If a homeowner had a home repair contract with a contractor and he/she did not do the job as stated, they can sue. If the home is jointly owned, both homeowners will be listed on the paperwork. Additionally, businesses can sue in small claims court, represented by their employees.
Filing Your Case
In order to begin your small claims court case, you will need to file a form with your local court. If you’re suing a contractor, the form will have a place to put your information as the plaintiff, and a place to list the contractor as the defendant. You will also need to write a statement of what happened and how much you’re claiming as damages due to the actions of the contractor for your criminal attorney to see. Then, you will need to arrange for the contractor to be served with the papers- either private process server or the sheriff’s department. A hearing date will be set.
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Prove Your Case
Juries are not usually permitted in small claims court. Instead, the judge will hear the evidence presented by both the plaintiff and the defendant. The hearing will be short, so it’s good to make sure you know exactly what you’re going to say, make sure you bring your witnesses, and any documentary evidence. You may have to provide the court with copies of the evidence. Additionally, attorneys are not typically permitted in small claims court, but you can obtain one to get some guidance in preparing.
If the judge decides in favor of the plaintiff (the homeowner), the defendant (contractor) will be required to pay the homeowner a set amount, ordered by the judge. Procedures for collecting the judgment will vary according to state. In some states, both the plaintiff and the defendant can appeal the judge’s decision.