If you are the plaintiff, you must prove your case. Arrange to have any witnesses and records you need to prove your case at the trial. A written statement, even if made under oath, is not admissible in court. Only actual testimony in court of what the witness(es) heard or saw will be allowed. Prepare your questions in advance.
Bring to court records of any transactions that may help you prove your case. Such records may include:
- Canceled checks, money orders, sales receipts.
- Bills, contracts, estimates, leases.
- Other documents proving your claim.
If you are able to settle the case with the defendant before the trial date, call the Small Claims Court Clerk to have the case dismissed.
If you are the defendant, you should prepare your side of the case as the plaintiff prepared his or her case. Bring all necessary witnesses and documents to court with you on the scheduled trial date.
If the plaintiff does not appear, the judge may dismiss the case. If the defendant does not appear, a default judgment may be entered and the defendant may have to pay all or a portion of the money claimed to be owed.
If you are able to settle the case with the plaintiff before the trial date, call the Small Claims Court Clerk to have the case dismissed.
THE DAY OF TRIAL
The plaintiff and the defendant must come to court at the time and date stated on the summons, unless otherwise notified by the court, and present your case when it is your turn to speak.
If you are unhappy with the final outcome, you may or may not have the opportunity to appeal depending on the State in which your case was filed.