How Does a Lawsuit Start?
Beginning a Small Claims Court Case Requires Issuing a Document Known As a Plaintiff's Claim and Then Serving the Document Upon the Other Side. After the Defendant, Being the Other Side Is Served, An Affidavit of Service Must Then Be Filed With the Court.
To start a case in the Small Claims Court requires the issuing of a document known as a Plaintiff's Claim. The Plaintiff's Claim is a form, known as Form 7A, and is available online. The main form parts of the form are relatively easy involving simple fill in the blanks information. The more challenging aspect of starting a lawsuit is knowing what parts of the story to say and what parts of the story to avoid saying, or at least to avoid in the beginning. There are many rules regarding the manner of what should be provided. The rules on starting a Small Claims Court lawsuit, referred to formally as 'commencing a proceeding', are found in Rule 7 of the Rules of the Small Claims Court.
Although the Small Claims Court is, generally, thought of as a court with relatively informal processes that are simple enough for people to do without assistance from a lawyer or paralegal, there are many potential pitfalls as things to think about. Things to think about include:
- What if I am countersued by the Defendant?
- What if I lose the case?
- What if I lose and the Defendant seeks costs against me?
- What if the Defendant sues another person as a 'third party'?
- What if I get a name wrong?
- What if the case becomes more complicated than originally expected?
The concerns listed above, among others, should be very carefully reviewed before bringing a lawsuit. Diligent review of these questions and the potential pitfalls are highly important before getting started.