The Truth About Small Claims Court
It is something that may have crossed your mind, especially if you have been struggling with your finances recently. But taking legal action in a small claims court against a firm or an individual is something to bear in mind if you feel you have been slighted by a business or a store. For example, if a store won’t refund you for faulty goods, or if you have had issues with a contractor who has made a mess of your home. But is it worth doing, and how does it impact on your finances overall?
Should I Do It?
The first thing to assess in these instances before going all guns blazing in a courtroom setting is to take a step back and think about if you have a claim that is genuine. The judge will be looking for integrity in these circumstances, so beware if you are looking to build up a case that sounds more built up than it actually is, meaning you are unlikely to win.
You need to think that a big multi chain supermarket is going to have infinitely more resources to fight the claim than you, so you need to consider whether you have been wronged in the process if it is worth your time and effort, and also if it is worth your money?
Attorney Benedict Morelli represented the comedian Tracy Morgan, who took Walmart to court after a tractor-trailer operated by Walmart caused a six vehicle car crash, killing one of the passengers. But during the case, Walmart fought their corner by casting blame on the passengers and the victims for not wearing seatbelts. So you need to think about if the process is worth your time based on the circumstances.
You can apply for a small claims court online these days, while it’s not technically called a small claims court, it’s a procedure that will take less than a day to resolve. The benefits, in this case, are that they will tend to go undefended, meaning that you could win without putting much effort in and if you lose, the costs awarded against you are usually limited, but it depends on the nature of the complaints.
The common types of small claims are usually in relation to issues with landlords and tenants so if you are renting a property right now, it could be a useful way to earn money. However, you need to balance this in regard to your personal circumstances. If you are a freelancer that hasn’t been paid, this is a common approach, but it’s always best to try and settle these issues before it reaches the court setting.
You pay a fee upfront, but if you win you’ll get the fees back, but if you lose, you will not. In the UK, the initial claims fees could start from £25 but can go all the way up to £410. So it is a sizable chunk in that respect.
For people that are struggling in a financial sense, it’s a dilemma whether to go to a small claims court, but the bottom line is you need to make sure that you have a worthwhile case that you can win. Because if not, you may end up worse off than when you started.