How To File Small Claims In [5] Easy Steps

Are you looking for a free, easy, step-by-step guide on how to file small claims? In this article, you will learn about how to file small claims. First, let’s talk about the step involving filing small claims.  and then will go through each step further.

Step one; try to resolve the problem with the other person. Step two; determines whether your case should be a file in a small claims court. If so, then file the claim. Step three; notified the other person that you have the file the claim by having him or her served with the someone and all the papers you file with the court. Step four; wait to see if the other side responds. Step five; prepare your day in court.

In every loss, the person suing is called the plaintiff.  Otherwise, the person been sued is called the defendant.

two men scolding at each other in a office
Try to resolve the problem before it’s too late

What Is The Small Claims Court Process;

Small claims court is a part of the district court of Maryland. It handless claims for $5,000 or less. and it’s not formal as other Maryland courts. The rules of evidence and procedure as simplified. It is easier to represent yourself without your lawyer. Although,  you may have a lawyer if you want. A judge will decide the case.

Also, a small claims court has defined the claim;

your claim must be for $5,000 or less. your claim must be for money only. not for the retaining property or the performance of other services. Also, you can not request any discovery. that means you won’t be asking the other side to answer written questions called interrogatories. Also, you won’t be doing a lot of formal factual investigation.

While small claims court is less formal. you may want to talk with the lawyer. If you claim involved personal injury or medical expenses, you are seeking damages from a traffic accident or if you are unable to fill out the necessary court forms.

How To File Small Claims [5] Steps

1) Try To Resolve The Problem

Before you file a claim in court, try to work out to dispute on your own. If you can avoid going to trial, you probably save time and money. Also, even if you win the other part could appeal and you may have to go through a new trial.

Finally, if you try to resolve the dispute before taking the person to the court. You may be able to use this as evidence to establish your case. First, talk to the person that you thinking to sue. Think about the amount of money that you think that he or she or sue and decide the minimum amount that you accept to avoid going to court, called settlement.

Try to talk person face to face. If you come to an agreement, put it in writing.

Also, both you and the other party should sign the settlement agreement that you reach. If you can’t resolve the dispute by talking with the other party, write a letter. Start by describing the issue, clearly and politely state your request for payment. and then include the date by which you expect to receive a response.

State that if you do not receive the payment, you will sue in court. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter and send it by certified mail with return receive requested.

Mediation Is Another Option Before Going To Court. A trained mutual person called a mediator will help you and the other person find a solution to which you can both agree. The district court alternative dispute resolution program provides help on mediation.

For more information about mediation, you can read our latest article >> What happens after the mediation settlement?

2) File The Claim

Before you file the claim you should evaluate whether you are likely to win the case.

women file a claim
File the Claim

Here Is What You Consider;

First; your claim must be within the statute of limitations. This law required that you bring sued within a certain time period. Usually, you must bring the claim within 3 years after the problem arose.

Second; ask yourself whether the patent can prove your case by the preponderance of the evidence. In other words, you must have evidence to convince the judge you are most likely right.

To prove your case you must present evidence to the court which could include letters, contracts, estimates, and witness testimony are all evidence. Also, it evaluates whether filing a claim will be worth time and effort. Consider what the maximum amount of money is that you are like to win and whether you will be able to collect from the other person.

Step Of How To File Small Claims Case;

  1. File complaint form.
  2. Pay the filing fee.
  3. The court will issue a writ of summons detailing the date, time, and location of the trial.
  4. Get the defendant served with court papers.
  5. Give the court proof that the defendant was served.

File The Complaint;

  • Forms are available online at mdcourts.gov. You can also pick up forms in the clerk’s office.

Affidavit Judgement;

  • The court can decide the case without a trial.
  • The judge will base his or her decision on written documents submitted with the complaint.
  • You must demand judgment on the affidavit when you file the complaint.
  • The district court form has a place for you to do this.

Pay The Filing Fee;

  • File your complaint of the district court and pay the filing fee.
  • If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask that the fee be waived. File a written request to waive the fee. most courts have a form to use.
  • There may be additional fees to have the defendant served with the court papers.

3) Have The Defendant Served

The service of process is how the defendant learns that you have sued against him or her.

4) See If The Defendant Responds

After service, the defendant must respond within 15 days if served in Maryland. 60 days if served out of state. If the defendant wants a trial, he or she must file a Notice of Intention to Defend. This means that the other person plans to argue, that he or she does not or you the money claim.

The other person may also respond by attending the settle the claim with you. If you settle, get the agreement in writing. You and the defendant should sign the agreement.

5) Prepare For Trial

Find the court location and direction. Plan what you are going to say. Also, you can organize your evidence. Choose and prepare witnesses.

three judges in front of a man
Organize your evidence before going to court

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