Small claims court is designed to help small business owners and everyday citizens get justice. The small dollar amount of these cases should not run you the expenses of costly lawyer fees. However, justice does come easier when you prepare for small claims court and hire an experienced paralegal, so here are some tips to get that preparation done.
Be sure you know the monetary limit for small claims litigation. The limit in Ontario is $25,000.00. The amount owed in excess of this limit must be taken to other courts.
Also be sure to keep track of accounts receivable by running an accounts receivable aging report regularly. This way you won’t allow a customer to exceed his limit.
Make sure you know the defendant inside and out. The first thing to make sure is that you know his personal details, his address, phone number, business type and his trade names. If you have previous addresses or phone numbers and any other contact information like an email or a facebook ID, include that in your research also.
The one key to winning in small claims court is being prepared. If you are prepared, the likelihood of winning the case increases. If you have key pieces of evidence that help your case, you will most likely win. Whether it is a car accident or a dispute of nonpayment, knowing the basic facts of the incident will serve you well.
The defendant may claim that you were at fault in an accident or that you didn’t deliver well on a service and hence you don’t deserve the payment. This is where the records will help. In the eyes of a judge, the best thing you can do is present the objective facts of the case and not try to sway him with emotion. That will get the job done as swiftly as possible. As long as you prove in small claims court that you performed your duties as they were required, you will win.
If you bring photos and witnesses to court, you will put visuals and faces to the case to corroborate your side of the story. This helps incredibly. Also remember to make sure your witnesses stick to the facts of the case. And make sure that any photos you bring are directly pertinent to the case.
Be prepared to follow up to receive the amounts you are owed if you win the case. You may have to get a lien on the debtor’s property or a garnishment of wages.