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All About Small Claims Court

How to File a Claim, What Happens in Court, What if You Win, What if You Lose


"I will take you to court" usually means small claims court.  And, yes, Judge Judy and the People's Court are examples of small claims court, although most judges are not that flamboyant. Before you take that person to court, or if you receive a summons to small claims court, you need to know about the process, including the claims process and how to get the money once you win a case. 

1. The Small Claims Court Process - An Overview

Any individual or business can take another individual or business to small claims court, if the amount owed is under a certain amount, which varies by state.  This article provides an overview of the small claims court process, and it shows you how to find the small claims limit in your state.

2. How to File a Claim in Small Claims Court

Filing a claim for in small claims court is designed to be an easy process. You will need to find the nearest U.S. District Court location and talk to the Clerk of District Court.  Read through this section so you will know what to bring with you to file an Original Notice.

3. How to Prepare for Small Claims Court

Whether you are the plaintiff bringing the lawsuit or the defendant in a small claims action, you must show up in order to have your side of the case heard.  You must also be prepared with witnesses and supporting documents.  Your preparation can mean the difference between success and failure in this lawsuit.

4. How to Act and Dress in Small Claims Court

A court is a special place, filled with tradition and protocol.  How you act in a courtroom can significantly affect the outcome of your appearance.  The key word here is "respect."  How to address the judge, what to bring to court, and how to dress are just some of the items covered. Do's and don'ts of courtoom etiquette are explained in this article. 

5. What to Do If You Lose in Small Claims Court

If you lose in small claims court, you can file an appeal.  Here is what you do.

6. How to Collect Your Money if You Win in Small Claims Court

You have won your case in small claims court, and the judge has issued a judgment in your favor.  Now you have to collect that money, from someone who will probably not be willing to pay you.  Here are some options for collecting on that judgment.


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