Filling a civil suit against an organization or a person in the hopes of collecting a debt can prove to be quite costly and last for numerous months. There are cases in which large sums of money are in dispute between the two sides, and these cases cannot be judged anywhere else except in civil courts. For smaller claims, however, people have the possibility to bypass civil courts by filing a small claims case with a small claims court. The option to file a small claims case is only limited by the actual amount of money being disputed. The maximum amount of money is generally $7,500, but there are some states that permit lower sums, such as New York with 5,000. People that file small claims cases only have to pay a small fee of $35 in order to have their case heard. A great advantage to filling cases in small claims courts is that cases are quickly resolved. |
Perhaps the largest difference between a regular civil case and a small claims case is that in the case of small claims cases, lawyers are not allowed to attend the proceedings. This, along with removing the need for a jury, is done in the spirit of delivering timely judgements on all cases presented. This of course leads to keeping costs to a minimum. And this reflects in the small costs required to file small claims. While there is no attorney needed to file small claims cases from a legal stand point, filing a small claims case without the assistance of an expert lawyer can be viewed as a rushed action and it can easily lead to a person loosing their financial rights, even if these rights are backed by solid proofs.
The rule of thumb in all cases that need the judgement of a certified judge or mediator is to seek the expert advice or service of a competent lawyer able to represent or advise in court cases. This also applies to small claims court. While lawyers are not legally needed and are not permitted to represent their clients in small claims court, people thinking to file small claims cannot afford to risk losing their case on behalf of a childish mistake. Looking over important aspects of a small claims case is pretty frequent, and frankly, the risks are not worth it especially if we take into consideration the low court fees.
Anyone thinking to file small claims in a small claims court should know that cases are resolved by court appointed mediators that are highly skilled and more than able to resolve this type of cases. Mediators take the first look at a case when in the court room with the two parties and a short trial follows. The mediator thoroughly explains the approximate costs and time spent with a regular civil suit should a conclusion not be reached by the end of the session. Although many small claims cases are resolved in small claims court, the cases which cannot be resolved shall return to civil court.
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