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Small Claims Court

The basic elements of a case (cause of action)

Updated August 1st 2022

5 min read

The court system needs a good reason to make another person give you money. These reasons are called causes of action.

The basic elements of a case (cause of action)

The basic elements of a case (cause of action)

author

Kaylin Lo

Author


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

What is a cause of action?

The cause of action is a technical legal name that describes the situation disputed in court. It’s a legally recognized wrong that allows for a lawsuit. Everything in the cause of action must be proven by the plaintiff in court.

If you’re hoping to file a small claim, the reason for your claim would be your cause of action.

Examples of Causes of Action

  1. Breach of contract
  2. Fraud
  3. Tort - battery, assault, negligence, intentional or negligent inflection of emotional distress, slander, invasion of privacy

What to do with a valid cause of action?

Consider filing a small claim. If your claim amount, or amount of money you would like in return for what happened, is within the limit, you may be able to win money in court.

While filing a claim in court may sound intimidating, our tools make filing doable. Create an account and start a case from your dashboard. The app will walk you through all the steps from entering in your information to defendant service.

When filing a small claim, you’ll create a document called a “complaint”. Many courthouses have their own version of the form may ask for different information. Your complain will have the facts of your case. Sometimes the facts of the case create multiple causes of action.

How to File a Small Claim

Here are some steps you can take when moving forward with a small claim suit

Send a Demand Letter

Sending a demand letter is an essential step of before small claims court proceedings. It is also known as a notice of intent to sue, and it should be sent before filing in court. Many cases are resolved through strongly worded demand letters. It is advisable to send the letter on professional letterhead. If you use Dispute's services, you can choose what package you’d like to generate a demand letter. You can generate a letter on your own, or schedule an intake call with an agent and we’ll handle the rest. Once you've decided what to include in your letter, simply click 'Send' at our website and we will print and mail your letter for you.

After sending your demand letter, you’ll want to file a statement of claim. This is the official state small claims form. For this form, you'll need the following information:

  1. The courthouse you’d like to file in
  2. Reason for the lawsuit
  3. Claim amount ($)
  4. Name and address of the person/business that is being sued

If you are suing a business, you need to look up the certificate of doing business. Make sure you fill out the form corresponding to the county where the defendant lives, works or does business.

These forms can get tricky, and mistakes prevent your case from filing. So doing research is essential. Experts at Dispute file paperwork daily, and a full support team can help you find answers to your questions. Check out our package options for filing with us - you can choose different services based on your budget and needs.

If there are no errors, you'll get your documents back with a date for the hearing.

Serve the Defendant

Once your claim has been approved by the court, you’ll have to notify the defendant that you’re suing them. Different courthouses have different regulations regarding defendant service. Some require service through mail, while you may need to find a private process server for others.

Some courts require the defendant to “answer” the claim. Check your courthouse’s rules - you may not receive a date for trial unless the defendant files additional paperwork.

But if not, you’re ready for your day in court.

Preparing for Court

There are a few steps you can take when preparing for your day in court.

  1. Gather evidence
  2. Prepare witnesses, if you have any
  3. Dress appropriately
  4. Show up on time

Can you sue Amazon for closing an account?

Sellers aren't able to sue Amazon for closing an account, and neither are buyers. That's because of the language in Amazon's terms of service, which states that the company can close accounts for any reason or no reason at all, at will. If you feel you've had an account closed wrongly, or in retaliation for something, and you want to try to get it reopened, you can seek out arbitration. In some cases, Amazon may reopen the account. But because it's "at will," they aren't under any obligation to do so.

Sellers who sue to have accounts reopened aren't often successful, as Amazon generally closes accounts that they feel are in violation of their terms of service. They may also close accounts with a lot of complaints or poor ratings. You can always ask for reconsideration, but don't have legal recourse to sue for a closed account.

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

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