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Key steps to take before going to small claims court in Georgia

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There are several steps that you should take before filing your small claims suit in Georgia. Below, we will discuss the most important ones that you should be aware of:


Understand the small claims process

First, you should familiarize yourself with Georgia’s small claims court procedures, including the maximum claim amount allowed, filing fees, and statutes of limitations. Understand your rights and responsibilities as a plaintiff or defendant. You will need to complete the necessary forms provided by the small claims court in your county. Pay attention to filing deadlines and requirements, including serving the other party with a copy of the claim.


Try to resolve your dispute first

Before heading to court, try to resolve the issue through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation. Communicate clearly with the other party and keep records of all correspondence, agreements, and disagreements.


Key steps to take before going to small claims court in Georgia


Prepare your case

If you are unable to reach a settlement with the other party outside of court, your next step would be to begin preparing your case for court. You will want to compile all relevant documents, such as contracts, receipts, emails, photos, and any other evidence supporting your case, and organize them chronologically to present a clear timeline of events. Then, you should create a concise outline or summary of your case, including key points, legal grounds, and desired outcomes. Practice explaining your case in a clear and logical manner so you can properly present your case to the judge.


What happens after I file my case?

After you file your case and serve the Defendant with the case, you will need to wait for the Court to give you a hearing date. Some courts may require parties to attend mediation before proceeding to trial. Be open to finding a mutually agreeable solution during this process.

On the day of your hearing, dress in clean, modest attire for court appearances. Remain calm, respectful, and attentive during proceedings. Follow courtroom etiquette and address the judge as “Your Honor.” During the hearing, stick to the facts and present your evidence clearly and honestly. Be prepared to answer questions from the judge and the other party.

If the court rules in your favor, understand the judgment terms and any awarded damages or remedies. Likewise, be prepared to comply with the judgment if ruled against. If you win your case, ensure the other party complies with the court’s judgment. If necessary, take legal steps to enforce the judgment, such as wage garnishment or property liens.

By following these steps, you can better prepare yourself for small claims court in Georgia and increase your chances of a favorable outcome. If you need assistance with the preparation and filing of the proper documents to get your small claims court suit submitted or even assistance with preparing for your upcoming hearing, Cape Law is here for you! Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss your legal needs.