Most people think that there are only two types of courts: criminal court and civil court. While these are the types you see the most often on television, there are many other types of courts including small claims court. If you are looking to settle a dispute with someone, you need to determine whether or not you should file in small claims court.
Small claims court is a court designed to settle disputes between two parties where the amount in question is small--typically less than $2,500.00 dollars in most jurisdictions. If you feel like someone owes you money, you can file a claim in small claims court if the amount owed to you fits in these parameters. Small claims court is often informal, and the judge gives you the choice to settle the matter privately before presenting evidence. Most issues can be resolved in small claims court in one simple hearing.
Civil court encompasses many areas of law including personal injury, divorce and family matters, larger monetary disputes, evictions, and probate law. If the legal dispute you are involved in is complex, and the amount of money owed you is several thousand dollars or more, than you will need to file in civil court. Civil court cases can be very complex, and usually require multiple hearings. We know that the thought of complex civil litigation can seem intimidating, but with a good lawyer on your side you can feel confident as you move through your case.