Mistakes to Avoid When You're Going to Small Claims Court
Everyone who goes to a small claims court wants to win. That said, it's incredibly simple to sabotage your case by making mistakes you could have easily avoided. Here are a few of the most common blunders you can make that might cost you.
Not Considering Alternatives
While it might be tempting to go straight to court to get your ‘dues', don't. Instead, consider alternatives like mediation or out-of-court settlement options. Not only will it cost you to go take further legal action, but you might end up losing completely. If there's no way to solve the matter outside of court, you can take further legal action.
Not Having the Correct Information
Before you file your case, double-check all your information and facts. Do you know who the responsible party is? Do you have all the details, like names, dates, and addresses? If you file a claim without the correct information, your case will likely be bounced.
Make sure to prepare for your day in court, too. You'll need to know all the above details and answer any relevant questions the judge may have.
Not Consulting a Lawyer
Before you file any claims, consult a lawyer. It's their job to provide counsel and failing to get legal advice might be the fatal flaw in your case.
For example, many personal injury cases either don't have to go to court or are limited to small claims. However, depending on your location and the severity of your injuries, you might need to take further action. Only a lawyer would be able to give you these details.
You're not a legal professional, so consult someone who is.
You're in front of a judge, you're upset, and you likely have a good reason to be. However, losing your cool isn't going to help you at all. Treating the clerk, judge, or court personnel rudely isn't going to win you any points and might even cost you the case.
Keep calm, speak confidently, and present the facts. Let your evidence speak for itself.
Not Sticking to the Financial Facts
It's easy to get caught up in the prospect of a relatively big payday when you're going to court.
Stick to the financial facts when you argue your case. You need to be able to prove your damages and defend the amount you think you're entitled to. Your chances of the judge ruling in your favor are higher if you base your arguments on facts. If it looks like you're just out for vengeance or a payday, you might not get anything at all.
Going to small claims court, for any reason, can be an emotional and difficult challenge. However, you can take steps to make sure you stand a better chance of getting your dues in court.
Check your information and make sure you're prepared. If you can, consult a lawyer to get advice and to learn more about how your local court works. Be polite, and stick to the facts. Follow these tips, and you'll stand a better chance of coming out victorious.