18 Apr What is the process of filing a claim to Small Claims Court?
If you are dealing with a conflict that you believe should be brought to Small Claims Court, you may be wondering how to begin this process and how to file a claim.
First, Small Claims Court handles civil law disputes that are monetary claims up to $35,000, so if the matter deals with a claim greater than this amount, the claim should be made to the Superior Court of Justice instead. This court handles disputes for damages pertaining to reputation, property, injuries, or issues with contracts.
If you are under 18 and wish to file a claim, the monetary claim can be up to $500. If you wish to claim a greater amount, the supervision and consent of a legal guardian is required.
Steps for the plaintiff
The first step to engaging in the Small Claim Court process is issuing the Plaintiff’s Claim. This claim is issued by the person who wants to sue for damages and wants the conflict resolved.
The Plaintiff’s Claim should include names of both parties, why the plaintiff is suing and the explanation of the situation at hand, the monetary relief the plaintiff wishes to receive from the defendant, the contact information of the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s lawyer, and the defendant’s location.
When describing the situation or conflict, ensure that it is clear and concise. It may be easier to explain in point form so that it is easy to follow. Provide as much relevant information as you can and include any dates that you can remember.
Once the claim is issued, it must be served. “Serving” the claim means that the reason for the claim and the required engagement in this process must be provided to the defendant. The plaintiff has 6 months to serve this claim to the defendant so they have the chance to respond, and the claim can be resolved appropriately. The date and time the defendant is served needs to be recorded and provided to the court.
Steps for the Defendant
Once the defendant has been served, they have 20 days to respond. In this response, the defendant would state why they oppose this claim.
If the defendant does not respond within 20 days, the plaintiff could request for a default proceeding where the defendant would no longer be informed of the steps involved with this matter.
If applicable, there are situations where a defendant can file a defendant’s claim. This applies to situations where the defendant would have an additional claim against the plaintiff, or another party involved. The defendant’s claim must be filed within 20 days of their response to the plaintiff’s claim and will engage in the same process as the plaintiff’s claim.
Both the defendant’s and plaintiff’s claim can be heard and resolved at the same trial hearing.
If you are filing either a plaintiff or defendant claim and need legal counsel, please contact, KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.