What are Small Claims?

Small Claims are usually issues or disputes involving less than $5,000 USD. Small Claims were designed to enable persons to avoid paying attorney fees for representation in disputes where the attorney fees might cost more than the amount of lawsuit. Call your local Small Claims Court Clerk to find the actual limits in your state.

Certain types of cases are not proper for Small Claims Court even if they fall under the claims limit. Examples include martial disputes and divorces, child custody and support issues, real estate matters involving significant amounts of property, bankruptcy, cases involving actual personal injuries, criminal acts, or matters seeking injunctions or similar relief, such as TRO (Temporary Restraining Orders).

Typically, you represent yourself and cannot have a lawyer present with you in the courtroom. That means you will be using your own time from start to finish. That includes everything from researching your case, filing the correct paperwork and attending court.

Suing someone is a commitment. You must appear in court at the appointed date and time, otherwise a judgment may be entered against you. Your case may also be dismissed if you fail to appear or file certain documents and you will be unable to collect against the party who you filed the lawsuit.

If you are unsure whether or not your case falls under Small Claims, please feel free to contact Member Services.


Posted in: Small Claims