After you finish your court forms, you must give your forms to the clerk of the court to file your small claims case.
Follow these steps to file your claim:
- Figure out how much you have to pay to file
You will have to pay a fee to file papers with the court. The amount of your fee depends on how much you are suing for.
- Take your forms to your small claims clerk
- Plaintiff's Claim and ORDER to Go to Small Claims Court (Small Claims) (Form SC-100);
- Other forms you filled out (if any); and
- Payment or fee waiver forms to the court clerk.
- Some courts also require you to bring 2 or more copies of your Form SC-100 and other forms. (You must copy all 5 pages of Form SC-100.)
- File your forms with the clerk and get your court date
When you take your forms to the court, the clerk will look at your forms and may ask you a few questions. If you want your hearing to be at night, ask the clerk for possible evenings and times. After looking at your forms, the clerk will usually stamp the forms "Filed" and fill in the date, time, and location of your court hearing. The clerk will keep the originals of the forms and give you a copy for yourself and other copies for each defendant you are suing.
- Mark your calendar with the date of your court hearing
It is very important you go to your court hearing. If you do not go, the judge will probably dismiss your case, or make a decision without hearing your side. If the defendant has sued you back (in a defendant’s claim) and you do not go to your hearing, the judge will not take into account your position and you may lose
- Keep your court papers safe in a separate folder
Be sure you keep a clean copy of all of your court papers in this folder.
- Serve your claim
Once you file your claim, the other side needs to find out about the case and the court hearing. That happens when you "serve" your forms.
If you realize, after you file your claim, that you made a mistake and need to change your claim, you may be able to correct your Form SC-100. You may also be able to change your court date if you need to postpone it. Find out how to change your claim or your court date.