Sacramento County Superior Court classifies a “Small Claim” as a claim of a sum of money you believe is owed to you below or equal to the amount of $10,000. No one wants to have to go to court to have to get what they feel are legally owed to them but sometimes there comes a time we have to. If you’re not familiar with the Court Process LDA is here to help you! First let us prepare you for what you should expect when engaging in a small claims case. Sacramento County Superior Court allows you to start a Small Claims case $2,500 and above only twice a year, after that you can only sue for less than or equal to $2,500. But before you start the case, you should ask yourself a few things. Are you willing to go through with the Collections Process? That leads to the next question, does the Defendant even have money? Are you willing to wait for the collection of the Judgment? And finally, is there a chance of you losing your case and losing money in a Counter Sue (Example; if the Defendant is found not at fault but they want to sue you for lost wages while undergoing the Court Process.) If you have no complications with the statements above than you may move on with your court case knowing some of the probable obstacles that may arise.
Once deciding you want to proceed with your Small Claims case you need to know the proper etiquette and suggestions when behaving and entering a Courtroom. First you want to make sure you stand up straight with good posture when speaking (standing with good posture gives most people a sense of presence and confidence.).When speaking about your case you want to be as brief as possible while explaining any document in your case. Third, it is fairly common to begin with the end of your story instead of the end so you can describe your loss, how it has affected you, the emotional value and finally the asking value. Only then should you continue the story in chronological order. It is important to remember the judge decides who is in the right, and who is the wrong and that you have to persuade the judge while stating and presenting facts. That said, you should always show the judge the utmost respect by never interrupting them (judge) and answering their question to the best of your abilities. One last thing to remember is that a judge that is certain that one side is morally right they will go through great lengths to find a legal reason to help side with that person. (Example; If you let, someone borrow a few hundred dollars so they don’t get evicted and they refuse to pay saying it was a gift the judge can also call it a gift under legal technicality if they identify with the defendant.). If you are ever in this position, you should let make sure to express the loss you took financially, and emotionally having to give that money to said person. (Example; saying, “having given my friend that money I was able to get an extension on my electricity bill believing my friend was going to pay me back.”).
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Say you have 15 witnesses on your roll call for your claim but they key witness doesn’t show.You should never be afraid the ask the judge for a continuance to get your affairs in order. A Judge will approve or decline the continuance if they feel the witness or missing document will make a difference in the case or their decision. (Example, awaiting dash camera footage would be appropriate for a continuance whereas your work schedule proving you left work to get on the highway at a certain time would not be appropriate.). Lastly, you need to remember that if a document, piece of evidence, or person is important enough to be brought up in your story they are important enough to be in court.