Taking Collections to Small Claims Court
Steps and Requirements of a Small Claims Court
Small claims court may offer the most reliable and efficient means to resolve a collection matter. In order to be successful in small claims court, you must be well prepared. The following information will give you a brief overview of the steps and requirements of a small claims court hearing.
- Exhaust your alternatives. Make an effort to collect the debt before going to court. Did you know, as a LegalShield small business member, your benefits include collection letters written by your provider law firm. You may also consider working out a payment plan or other alternatives.
- Know the maximum amount you can collect in small claims court. States have varying thresholds for what amounts can be disputed in small claims court. For instance, in Virginia claims may not exceed $5,000, while in Texas they may not exceed $10,000. Talk to your LegalShield provider law firm about the laws that govern small claims court in your state.
- File the correct paperwork. It is important to file the right paperwork in order to receive a court date for your matter. Find out the statutes of limitation for collecting debt in your state and make sure you file in a timely manner. Discuss the process with your LegalShield provider attorney to make sure you understand the necessary procedures to bring your matter before the court.
- Know who will need to appear in court. Some states do not require the business owner to appear in court and may allow you to send an employee on behalf of the company. In such cases, it is important to send someone with first-hand knowledge of the matter, such as a bookkeeper or manager, who dealt directly with the customer.
- Compile and organize your evidence. The quality and accuracy of your documentation may make all the difference in court. A payment policy or contract, signed by the customer, will help your case. In addition, you should have copies of invoices, past due notices, or any other correspondence you sent to the other party.
- Prepare and rehearse your argument prior to court. Part of being prepared for court involves knowing what to expect and how to properly present your argument. Your LegalShield provider law firm can help explain what to expect and what information may be most important in court. Call and speak with an attorney today if you have any questions about small claims court or need assistance collecting a debt.
LegalShield provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield Members through member-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. See a plan contract at www.legalshield.com for specific state of residence for complete terms, coverage, amounts, and conditions. This is not intended to be legal or medical advice. Please contact a medical professional for medical advice or assistance and an attorney for legal advice or assistance.
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