Resolving Unpaid Debts in Small Claims Court can often provide a resolution when other means have failed. Of course you will need to have documentation of everything in your complaint, but your law firm can help you prepare and can advise you on what you need to bring on the day of court. Below is a brief outline of the steps to take to bring a collector to small claims court.
Before persuing legal alternatives you should first try and work things out with your customer. Inquire about whether they are willing to accept a payment plan or have any suggestions for reducing their debt. If you are unable to get any satisfaction from attempting to compromise with them, then you may consider taking them to court as a last resort.
You will need to check with your state and local government on how much you can collect. Amounts vary from state to state, so while one state may allow you to claim $5,000 another may only let you claim $3,000. Call and speak with your law firm about the laws involved with small claims and what your limitations are.
You’ll need to file the appropriate paperwork. This is vital; otherwise your case may not even be heard. Mistakes made in paperwork result in delays and cancellations. Plus, you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim. When speaking with your law firm attorney, discuss the statutes for your claims and how much time you have to make a claim.
Will you have to appear in court? Sometimes the owner of the business or a manager can represent that party in the courtroom. You should delegate that to the person who is the most knowledgeable about the issues and deals directly with billing or the finances of the business. Your attorney can advise you on this matter as well.
Have copies of all of your case evidence ready because you may have to submit multiple copies to the court clerk when you file. Make sure to have everything kept neatly in a file for easy reference. Invoices, payment contracts, past due notices, communications, and anything else you think will help you prove your case.
If you will be representing your company in court it helps to be prepared ahead of time. Rehearse the testimony you will give so it sounds natural and you’re not nervous when you try to speak. Your law firm can help you by explaining what to expect in the courtroom, how you should dress, and proper courtroom etiquette. Call and speak with an attorney if you need help collecting an overdue debt or have questions about taking someone to court.