The court is built to make legal, sensible decisions for the protection of a citizen’s rights. While many cases are big enough to go to a full-on trial, many smaller cases can get resolved in a quick and fairly simple way. This is where claims court comes in. Small claims court in California can be used to settle small, though still important disputes. There are limits and regulations in place to keep small claims small.

Small Claims Court Details

In the state of California, small claims cases occur in the Small Claims Division of the superior court. Common cases follow various types such as written contract disputes, injury claims, oral contract disputes, property damage and more. Common examples include an incomplete job done by a repairman, damage incurred by a company or party servicing or remodeling, injury resulting from an accident or seeking repayment of a small unpaid loan.

Statute of Limitations

Like any other case, the claims presented in small claims court have their own statute of limitations. Working quickly is the key, even though some limitations are longer than others. California law, according to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 312 set the statute of limitations at:

  • Written Contract Claims; Four Years
  • Injury Claims; Two Years
  • Oral Contract Claims; Two years
  • Property Damage Claims; Three years

Small Claims Limits and Process

As a private citizen, $10,000 is the maximum limit for damages that can be sought after in small claims court. It should be noted however that a private citizen cannot file a claim over $2,500 more than twice in a one year period. In general, a jury is not allowed in small claims court though they may be present in some civil disputes.

Legal Assistance and Small Claims

One big factor for small claims is that a lawyer cannot represent an individual in small claims court. Both parties in the dispute will represent themselves and their claim. This can be extremely daunting for many. But just because a lawyer cannot represent a person, it doesn’t mean that person can’t seek legal advice.

Small claims court is a quick process. Before you know it, you have either lost or won your case. Going in with an explanation of the process and advice on how to proceed can be your best defense.

If you or a someone you know is facing small claims court in California, seek expert legal assistance that could help your case. Contact The Paris Firm today to schedule your small claims court evaluation.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.