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Leonard M Kolakowski

Leonard M Kolakowski (3.13 Miles)

3131 Camino Del Rio North
San Diego, CA 92108

Litigation Attorney, Product Liability Lawyer
(619) 684-3927
Amy E Hargreaves

Amy E Hargreaves (6.31 Miles)

600 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101-337

Civil Attorney, Government/Benefits Attorney, Litigation Lawyer
(619) 238-2805
Matthew J Joens

Matthew J Joens (6.33 Miles)

225 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101

Business Attorney, Litigation Lawyer
(619) 233-1600
Darryl H Steensma

Darryl H Steensma (10.75 Miles)

12636 High Bluff Drive
San Diego, CA 92130

Intellectual Property Attorney, Litigation Attorney, Copyright Lawyer
(858) 523-5400
Ryan T Antes

Ryan T Antes (71.64 Miles)

3 Park Plaza
Irvine, CA 92614

Civil Attorney, Litigation Lawyer
(949) 864-3400
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Guide to Finding Small Claims Court Lawyer

What is Small Claims Court?

Small claims courts are courts with very limited jurisdiction that can only hear cases over financial maters between two private parties. Damages in a small claims court are limited to between $2,000 and $15,000. One of the ironies of small claims courts is that though judgments are legally-enforced, it is still up to the losing party to pay for winning party. Small claims courts can be seen on such syndicated television programs as Judge Judy and The People’s Court.

Some typical cases heard by small claims courts include:

• Car accidents

• Property damages

• Owed rent and security deposits

• Breach of contract.

Do I Need a Small Claims Court Lawyer?

First, it should be noted that many small claims courts don’t allow small claims court lawyers inside, so you should figure what your particular court’s rules are. However, even if that’s the case, it may be in your best interest to seek out a small claims court lawyer before even filing your complaint. Here are some reasons why:

• A small claims court lawyer can notify you of existing laws and statutes that may be applicable and that can help your case.

• Perhaps you have been, without knowing it, in violation of a local law. Your small claims court lawyer could notify you before you put yourself in court and at risk.

• A small claims court lawyer can tell you if a statute of limitations is applicable, if that time period has passed, and if you have any recourse.

• Sometimes a small claims court lawyer will advise you that a complaint is not worthwhile because the expected monetary gains are lower than the costs, either because the party you are accusing is low on funds or because the damages you can claim are too low.

• Contrarily, some states allow more money to be collected in damages that you may anticipate. Consumer protection violations, for instance, can pay off handily for the victim in some states. A small claims court lawyer can let you know what damages money is available.

Where Do I Find a Small Claims Court Lawyer?

• Ask people around you. Your boss may know of a smart lawyer who is easy to work with or perhaps your sister owes a small claims court victory to an attorney. There is no better indicator of future court success in all the word than court success in the past.

• Call a referral services. Within any state, there are numerous services which interview potential clients before directing them to attorneys that may be the perfect choice for their particular needs. Most state or local bar associations run a referral service, and these can be a great idea to ensure that the small claims court lawyer you contact has legitimate credentials. One potential problem is that referral services often charge a nominal fee.

• Many people, some without even knowing it, belong to legal insurance plans through a union, their employer, or their credit union or credit car company. Since the insurance plan will pay for most of the insured’s fees, leaving only a percentage co-pay to be covered by the insured, it can be a very intelligent move to contact your own legal insurance attorney to act as you small claims court lawyer and advise you as you draft and file your complaint.

• Often times, lawyers advertise their legal services. Though these advertisements can be found everywhere, from the yellow pages to billboards to radio, most of these lawyers might be unwilling to take such a minor case, and it might not be worth their fees for you if they did. Occasionally, a dedicated small claims court lawyer will advertise and feature their field of experience proudly.

What Happens Next

Taking your case to court can be a headache-inducing process. Be prepared by knowing the basic procedure that will follow if you and your small claims court lawyer decide to file a complaint.

• You, or you with your small claims court lawyer, will file a complaint at the nearest small claims court, which you can find by looking online or in the blue pages. In the complaint, you will include your name and address, the name and address of the person you are accusing, a description of why you are filing a complaint, and the amount of money you believe is owed to you.

• The complaint will be served to the accused. Your small claims court lawyer may help you find an appropriate process server for the job. You will be responsible for any associated fees.

• The accused will then serve a counter-complaint on you.

• A mediation or arbitration may be ordered, depending on the court, before any trial. During this mediation, both parties attempt to build a solution that will avoid a trial.

• If you have any witnesses, make sure they are willing to come to court. If they are not, a small claims court can send a subpoena duces tecum ordering them to appear. The court will need quite a bit of time before the trial to issue the subpoena.

The Trial and Beyond

On the day of the trial, you will appear in court and deliver your case, as discussed with your small claims court lawyer, using whatever evidence you’ve decided will help to prove your points. Though your case is sometimes called “an argument,” remember during the trial not to argue. Don’t argue with other witnesses; merely state what you think is true and ask them what they think. Most importantly, never argue with a judge. This could land you in far more trouble than a small claims case could ever be worth.

Persons who dislike the verdict of the small claims court can file an appeal. Again, it may be a good idea to check with a small claims court lawyer first, since most appeals are never heard by a court. It’s important to know if you have a case before you go to the trouble of filing for an appeal.

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