Today’s article puts some personal in personal finance. That’s the point, right? The car situation has escalated. After much deliberation we decided to go ahead and file a small claims lawsuit.

It’s been such a headache with having one car (we couldn’t share as we work in different cities with overlaying schedules) and repairing the car was expensive. I’m grateful we’re back to two cars.

Do you want to know what bothers me the most? This could have been fixed for under $150 if the mechanic fixed it right away. Let’s just say our costs are far more than that amount.

I wanted to help those who may be in a similar situation and decided to answer some questions about small claims court. I would hate to see people overpay for information that they could get with some phone calls and research.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. I highly suggested you contact your local legal resources.

What is small claims court?

Small claims court is usually for cases involving claims of less than $5,000. A benefit of small claims court is that you do not need a lawyer as it is simplified to expedite cases.

What can I do in small claims?

There are two type of warrants in small claims. The first is Warrant in Debt which is when the plaintiff (the one suing) is trying to get money from the defendant such as when you are seeking to be reimbursed for repairs due to negligence on the defendant’s part. The second is Warrant in Detinue to recovery your property from another person.

How much does it cost to file a small claim?

Fees vary, so please contact your local court to find out.

How should I start the filing?

Make sure that you are filing a small claims lawsuit to the right person. If you’re suing a business, make sure you see what the correct address is and the name of the registered agent. Some resources to use are:

  • City License Bureau
  • State Corporation Commission

If you send it to the wrong person, the case can be dismissed. Call the clerk’s office ahead to make sure you have the right information for the small claims lawsuit.

How should I prepare?

You should have all your necessary paperwork organized for the case. The basic idea is that you have to present why you should win your suit. Try to make it clear and logical. Don’t get caught up in the emotions. Remember that you can bring witnesses, pictures, receipts, records, etc. with you in court. It’s best to get this done before the court date. What you and the defendant present to the judge is what they will rule on in the case, so prepare well.


I hope this helps some people out. Please get information from your local court clerks office to get the proper information for you and your case. If you’ve had to go through the process, please leave a comment.

Photo Credit: Nygtowl