Small Claims – Is It Worth It?

[This is a transcript is a result of automated audio transcription from the video posted below. For help from The Small Claims Lawyer, visit www.TheSmallClaimsLawyer.com or call 888-632-6623. Grammatical errors may be present in the transcript below. This transcript is for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as legal advice.]

Hey everyone attorney Brian Russ. The Small Claims lawyer, coming to you today with another small claims video topic, this video is on “Small Claims – Is it Worth It?” So I get questions all the time, and usually the first question I get from prospective clients is they say, “You know, is it worth it to go to small claims?” And so I’ve kind of come up with a few different responses kinda an analysis of, is it worth it to go to small claims. I want to share that with you.

Before I do I have to give you a few disclaimers. First disclaimer is that nothing in this video is legal advice, it’s for informational and educational purposes only. I don’t know your case, I don’t know the facts and specifics, I can’t tell you through this video if your case is worth it. I’m just gonna kind of go through my analysis of kind of the common questions I asked about you know if a case is worth it or not, so we have that going on so first this is not legal advice. Next thing is that you need to retain an attorney to help you with your legal situation. Don’t rely on YouTube videos, you know if you have questions, you really go get a lawyer, you can hire me, you know, my contact information is above so check out our website, reach out to us. We’ll see if we can help you if your case. So no attorney client relationship is formed by your viewing of this video and finally, to the extent this video can be considered an advertisement it really should be considered advertising. I sell my services. The reason I put out these videos to get my name out there, let you know I’m not some, you know, crazy guy. Like I said my contact information is above that small claims lawyer.com We can give us a call 888-632-6623 We’ll get you set up with a, with an appointment to talk to somebody on our team.

Now to the main topic, you know, small claims. Is it worth it, and this is my first answer you’d be so mad at me, is really “It depends”. It depends on, you know this is small claims, but you know so what one of the big things I get from people is they, you know that they wonder if it limits the money recovery limits in small claims in small claims court is really those limits are hard. So again, you know, for an individual, the most you can sue for is $10,000, the most you can recover is $10,000 in small claims for a corporation or entity. The most you can recover is $5,000 so, you know, it kind of depends. If you know if so, and then the same thing to you know one of the things and we’ll talk about this later in the video is appeal rights if you bring a claim if you bring a suit in small claims, and you lose you strike out, you’re done. You know there is no appeal.

Now, I have what’s called the secret appeal. I need to do another video on the secret appeal. It’s another motion you can make that similar to an appeal if you really think the judge was just wrong. Not so much that you want to take a chance you just flat out wrong there so there’s what I call the secret appeal. I’ll do that another video on that but, you know, like I said, is it worth it to bring in small claims, it really depends on how much you’re shooting for depends on, you know how much you value that appeal right. It depends.

So generally, you know where I end up is saying, you know, if you’re an individual person, you’re suing somebody and your claim is less than $10,000. Honestly, it usually is worth it to go with small claims just because it’s so much faster I mean you’re getting these cases done in three to four months, rather than 18 months to two years, it ends up costing you a lot less to bring a small claim. You know one of the things I see a lot is people don’t anticipate the actual cost of litigation so they hire an attorney, you’re usually gonna charge you $5,000 retainer. Again, this is for, for higher general court and especially like in a breach of contract like, oh my goodness, unless your contract says that attorneys fees are recoverable you’re out that money. So yeah I mean I think generally where I land is if your claim is clearly less than $10,000, like there’s really no reason not to pursue proceed with a small claims process. Now, again, I mean, I’ll do another video on this topic. This is a topic I have very strong feelings about but service of process if you don’t know where the person lives, and you’re suing a person, you might need to go to higher general court just because they have different mechanisms of serving somebody in small claims you have to physically serve somebody, or get them certified mail sent to them by the court so generally Yes.

Say hey if your claim is less than 10,000 bucks, you know generally is worth it. I also say, you know it’s generally worth it if you value expediency. So say you have a claim for 500 bucks, and you’re just mad at somebody you want your money back. You know, again, it is going to take you three or four months to get through this rather than, you know, 18 months, two years to get through something in litigation, and also with litigation comes appeals, and it can just drag things out so generally you know small claims is designed to help people get to the process quickly with as little hurdle as possible and I really believe it does that.

So again, if you value expediency. Small Claims it might be worth it for you. And as I said before, If you don’t mind losing your appeal rights, you know, maybe it’s worth it. Right. I know some people get really upset, I’ve talked to a lot of people who think they have a slam dunk case and then they mess up something, they mess up the filing, they don’t put on a good case, they emphasize the wrong points the judge finds against them because again the judge has to follow the law. The judge has to find that, you know, the other party was negligent they have to find there was damages and if you don’t hit all those elements, because you don’t know what you’re doing, you know, the judge can’t find for you now the judge usually has a lot of leeway but. So you think you have this great slam dunk case and maybe you do what you just present it wrong. You just prepare it wrong, but you lose your appeal rights, so if the judge finds against you, you’re done. One and done you’re out. So, you know it, but also at the same time I was talking about like you know appeal isn’t a redo, you know, in small claims that appeal is redo but if you do if you want to appeal. You know something, it’s not like you get a second bite at the apple. It’s like you have to you have to say that the court found found us the wrong standard or something like that but but in small claims you just, you’re out of luck. So anyways, is it worth it. Generally, I’m usually gonna say yes it’s worth it you know if you meet certain criteria. Again, I can’t tell you about your situation, I can’t tell you about your case. I don’t know your case is just a YouTube video. But if you want to reach out to my firm, go to the website above http://www.TheSmallClaimsLawyer.com, call us (888) 632-6623. We’ll get you on the phone with a member of our team, maybe it’ll be me maybe one of my staff will talk to you about your case we’ll talk to you about options and you know maybe how we can assist you. Alright, that’s it. Have a good one.