How to Increase Your Chances of Winning in Small Claims Court
Low-value claims, which typically involve a dispute over money, are handled in the civil courts.
If you are intending to make a claim in a small claims court, you can greatly increase your chances of winning by taking the following advice on board.
Hire an Experienced and Skilful Lawyer
While you do not have to have a lawyer on board to make a claim in a small claims court, you will certainly increase your chances of winning your case if you do.
The first step is to have a consultation with an experienced and skilful lawyer.
Some of these nine things you need to know for free personal injury consultations also apply to the things you need to know for a consultation for a small claim.
They include sensible pieces of advice, such as getting to know your lawyer by doing some basic online research before you meet him or her, knowing what you should take with you when you visit a prospective lawyer for a consultation, and being prepared with questions to ask.
Once you find the right lawyer for you, he or she can guide you through the legal process, give you advice on what to do to reach the best possible outcome, and much more. Lawyers have a variety of specialties. To give one example, TruLaw can help with paraquat claims.
Quite simply, when you hire a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer, you stand a much better chance of winning your claim.
Gather and Organise All Relevant Documents
Whatever your small claim is about, the more evidence you have, the more likely the case will go in your favour.
So, make sure you gather all of the documentation that helps to prove the facts of your case far ahead of the court date.
Depending on the nature of your claim, you could need to gather documents like invoices, receipts, emails, photographs, leases, and contracts.
For instance, if you are a musician making a claim against someone for not paying you for a gig, by showing the court a contract with the person’s e-signature, you can better prove that money is owed to you.
Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the specific documents that you need to gather and get in order.
Use a binder with tabbed dividers to make all of your documentation clear and concise for the judge to look through, rather than, say, stuffing all of the documents into a large envelope.
Prepare Your Witnesses for Their Day in Court
You are likely to have witnesses who can appear in court to add credibility to your side of the story and provide the judge with important facts.
So, speak to any of your witnesses ahead of the court date to ensure their stories match yours and that they know what information and facts to provide.
Sometimes witnesses may not appear in person, in which case they will need to put their accounts of events in writing. Again, if that is the case, ensure their written accounts are consistent with your version of events.
Prepare Yourself for Your Day in Court
Preparing yourself for your day in court is just as important as preparing your witnesses.
If you want to increase your chances of winning your case in a small claims court, it is a good idea to visit the courtroom well ahead of the court date so that you can become familiar with the setting and how small claims are handled.
By taking note of how arguments are delivered in court, you can better prepare your own arguments.
Also, when at home, you should practice for your day in court by familiarising yourself with all the facts of the case and practising how you will relate the facts in the small claims court.