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The Difference between Arbitration and Small Claims Court

Updated October 27th 2022

3 min read

You have options when it comes to disputes

The Difference between Arbitration and Small Claims Court

The Difference between Arbitration and Small Claims Court

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Trey Salm

Author


Dispute is the easiest & most accurate small claims platform with affordable ways to resolve every dispute.

If you are facing a dispute with a business, you have several choices on how to settle the matter. Two of the most popular options are settling the dispute in Small Claims Court or taking them to Arbitration. Each option has its own process that you'll want to be familiar with before making a choice.

This blog will explain the key differences to help you make an informed decision.

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Small Claims Court:

  • Public - The small claims court has a public record where everything that occurs gets recorded and saved. Other people can access these records.
  • Compell - In court, you may be able to force the other party to participate in the proceedings.
  • Judge - A judge or similar appointed official will preside over the hearing and decide what occurs.
  • Appeal - You or the other party may be able to appeal the outcome depending upon your court's jurisdiction.
  • Speed: Filing in Small Claims court typically takes 2-3 weeks to receive an answer from the court, 2-3 weeks to serve the other party, and another 60 days to have your hearing. In sum, that's about three months from start to finish.
  • Cost - Small Claims courts usually have a maximum claim amount between $2500 and $10,000. We can help you generate, notarize and file a claim for $99 in just minutes.

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Arbitration:

  • Private - Arbitration happens in private between both parties and the arbitration organization, which is legally sworn to protect your privacy. The most commonly sought out arbitration organizations are the American Arbitration Association (AAA), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc (JAMS), and the American Health Law Association (AWLA).
  • Compell - Both parties must consent to participate in the proceedings, and that's most often agreed upon through a contract.
  • Expertise - Typically, judges or lawyers are hired by the Arbitration organization, and your choices of an arbitrator are provided to both parties.
  • Decision - the arbitrator's decisions are final and can only be appealed in minimal circumstances.
  • Speed: the AAA estimates that it can take up to almost 300 days to complete your arbitration.
  • Cost - Dispute can help you generate, file, and serve your arbitration claim for $299 plus the arbitration organization's fees (typically scales with the claim, $1500+)

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What about Meditation?

Meditation is an alternative to both arbitration and small claims court. But mediation is only willingly negotiated between two parties and there is no guarantee that you will have a resolution. Mediation is facilitated by a trained mediator focused on conflict resolution, and it often happens while you await a more formal hearing date.

All that said, it's possible to come to a settlement and create a written agreement that becomes legally binding.

Get Started Today

We can help you get started today. Our easy-to-use, self-service software enables you to generate and notarize a small claims petition at the courthouse of your choice from your phone. It also can help you generate, file, and serve an arbitration filing for $299 plus the arbitration organization's fees.

Get Dispute to file your small claims case online today.
Win back the money you deserve.

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