If you’re considering filing a claim in Florida’s small claims court, you may be asking yourself, where do I begin? You should first exhaust all possible reasonable solutions outside the court system before considering filing a claim. If you were unable to come to an amicable conclusion to your dispute, consider if there is enough evidence to support your claim. While you’re in the heat of a dispute, you may not be thinking clearly. Take the time to methodically write down all clear evidence to support your claim and lay out evidence to counter your claim. This should be the first step you take when considering filing a claim with the Florida court system.

“Ok, I’ve done that and the evidence is in my favor, now what?”photo-1428542170253-0d2f063e92c2

Next, what makes a small claim a small claim in the State of Florida is that the monetary damages that you will be claiming. If your monetary claim is under $5,000.00, excluding any additional fees or costs associated to the claim (ie attorneys fees or filing fees), then you may proceed to file your claim with your local small claims court. Once the claim has been filed, you must serve a Summons, Notice to appear in court, and a copy of the Statement of Claim to the other party. This is called Service of Process to the defendant, it is required, and will be an additional cost to your claim.

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You’ll be provided a pre-trial date, this is very important. If you do not show up to the pre-trial, your case may be dismissed. Conversely, if the person you are suing, the defendant, does not show up to the pre-trial date, the judge may enter a default for your case. During this pre-trial, or mediation, you and the defendant cannot come to an amicable solution you will be provided a trial date. After the trial, a final decision will be made on your claim by a judge.

Do you have questions for the SEM Law Group Law team about small claims court? Let us know! We offer free consultations! Also, not feeling up to the task to represent yourself in your case? Let us know and we may be able to assist you with that as well!