Monetary disputes of up to $10,000 can be settled in small claims court, advises Nolo. As of 2015, the specific monetary limit ranges from $2,500 in Kentucky and Rhode Island to $10,000 in Wisconsin and California.
In most states, people can file in small claims court for breach of contract or warranty; intentional harm; or personal injury. Unless prohibited by state law, any legal dispute seen in any other court is eligible to be heard in small claims court if it meets the monetary qualifications, states Nolo. Small claims court does not hear cases against the federal government or its employees; tax-related claims; or claims to file for divorce, a name change or bankruptcy. Some states place further limits on the types of cases accepted and refuse cases involving libel, slander or false arrest.
People attempting to collect a debt must ensure they file in small claims court before the statute of limitations expires, advises both Sally Herigstad and Lucy Lazarony for Bankrate. The statute of limitations varies by state and the type of contract and generally ranges from three to 15 years.
Once an individual decides to file a claim with the court, he should prepare by practicing presenting the essential facts and gathering physical evidence, if possible, to present to the court, advises Jane Bennett Clark for Kiplinger.