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Filing a Small Claims Court Case is Fast and Easy

November 29th 2005

Small Claims Court

Have you ever had a minor dispute where you feel you need to be compensated?  You might consider small claims court.  Disputes are handled quickly and inexpensively.  You may not need to hire an attorney either.  In fact according to the state of California “a lawyer can't represent you in court.”

The courts are all over the country.  They handle small dollar amount claims.  In California that amount is $5,000 or less.  According to the State Website “You can file as many claims as you want for up to $2,500 each. But you can only file 2 claims a year that ask for more than $2,500.”

You can only sue a guarantor for up to $4,000 ($2,500 if they don't charge for the guarantee). A "guarantor" is a person who promises to be responsible for what another person owes.


Common cases filed include money damages from car accidents, damage to a persons property, landlord / tenant disputes and the collection of money that is owed on a loan. It is a good idea to include evidence for your case including witnesses, photos, bills, receipts and the original contract if there is one. 

There is a minor filing fee of $22 for the first 12 claims you rile in a year.  If you file more than 12 the fee increases to $66 per claim.  Expect to go to court within 40 days after you file your claim unless the defendant does not live in the county you filed in. In that case you could wait 70 days for a hearing.

Not all cases will be heard by a judge.  In some counties a commissioner may hear your case or maybe a temporary judge.  If you don’t like the idea of a temporary judge you can always ask for a real judge to hear your case.  The judge may give you a judgment at the end of the case or may want to think about it a little and mail you his decision.   

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                     Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:39 PM