Indiana Small Claims Forms - Indiana Small Claims Court Forms

Indiana Small Claims Court FAQ Small Claims Court Indiana

Who hears the claims in small claims court?

In small claims court, the trial is an informal hearing before a judge. There is no jury and the plaintiff presents his or her evidence and witnesses. The defendant is also responsible for presenting his or her witnesses. After hearing both sides of the dispute, the judge will render a verdict based on the law and the facts presented.

Who may file a claim in small claims court?  An individual, partnership or corporation (or LLC) may file a claim against another individual(s), partnership or corporation (LLC) in small claims court, if jurisdiction exists to hear the claim, if the amount of the claim does not exceed the statutory limits.

What must I do before I file a claim?  Before you file a claim, get the facts straight so you can complete the forms correctly and answer any questions court personnel may need to know. Be sure to obtain the correct legal name of the defendant, correct address and place/address of employment. If the defendant is a corporation or LLC you would use the legal corporate or LLC name as the defendant. 

How do I file a claim?  The plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney should go to the small claims division of the district court in the particular county where the person or business to be sued has an office or is domiciled and file a Statement of  Claim Form. The plaintiff is responsible for furnishing the court with the correct and complete address of the defendant. The clerk will assign the plaintiff a case number and this number must be used whenever contacting the court concerning the particular case. A filing fee is required at the time the claim is filed. If the plaintiff cannot afford to prepay the fee at the time of the filing, he or she can submit an Affidavit of Substantial Hardship and request that the judge delay the payment. 

Who serves the defendant with summons or process and how is the defendant served?  The clerk of the court will issue a summons ordering the defendant to appear in court. The summons and the complaint must be served on the defendant. The summons and the complaint may be served by certified or registered mail. If the court provides this service, there may be an additional fee. If the defendant cannot be served using these methods, the precinct constable or any registered private process server will serve the summons and complaint for a fee. 

How are hearings scheduled? The clerk of the court will provide you with the procedure to set the case for trial or hearing at the time you file your claim. 

May I subpoena witnesses? If witnesses are required, but unwilling to attend the hearing unless they are subpoenaed, you may obtain a subpoena issued by the court clerk for service on the witness. The subpoena is an order for the witness to appear at the hearing to testify. Some employer may require that an employee be subpoenaed in order to be excused from work. 

What are the trial procedures? The trial procedure is generally more informal than other courts. The case will usually be called in open court and you will respond that you are present and ready to proceed. You will then be advised when to present your claim. Be prepared to present your claim in your own words. Be prepared to question witnesses if witnesses are needed. 

What happens if the defendant does not appear at trial?  If the defendant does not appear at trial, a default judgment will be entered in the plaintiff's favor for the amount of the claim or other relief. After judgment is obtained and the appeal time has expired, the plaintiff may seek to collect the judgment by acceptable means of collection. 

What are the common forms used in small claims court?  Common forms used in small claims court are:

  • Claim Statement/Complaint
  • Summons
  • Return of Summons
  • Answer
  • Subpoena
  • Abstract of Judgment

What Is a Small Claims Court?

A small claims court is a place where people can go to resolve disputes about money or property in a simpler and more informal way. It is designed for cases that involve smaller amounts of money, usually under a certain limit. In Indiana, a small claims court also follows these rules. It provides a speedy and inexpensive way for people to settle disagreements, without the need for a lawyer. It is meant to be more accessible to regular people who may not have a lot of legal knowledge. The judge in a small claims court will listen to both sides of the story and make a decision based on the evidence provided.

Why File a Small Claims Case?

Filing a small claims case can be a useful way to resolve minor disputes or collect small amounts of money without hiring expensive lawyers and going through a lengthy court process. In Indiana, filing a small claims case has additional advantages. Firstly, the process is relatively simple and doesn't require much legal knowledge. You can represent yourself without needing an attorney. Additionally, small claims court in Indiana is designed to be informal, allowing individuals to present their case in a less intimidating environment. The fees to file a small claim are also reasonable, making it accessible to those on a tight budget. So, if you have a small issue to resolve or want to recover a small sum of money, filing a small claims case can be a quick and affordable option in Indiana.

Small Claims Court Limits for Each State

Small claims court limits vary from state to state. In Indiana, the maximum amount you can sue for in small claims court is $6,000. This means if you have a dispute with someone and the amount in question is less than or equal to $6,000, you can take them to small claims court to seek a resolution. Small claims court is a simpler and faster way to handle legal matters involving small amounts of money. It is designed to provide an accessible and affordable option for individuals to settle disputes without requiring the assistance of an attorney. So, if you have a small issue that needs to be resolved in Indiana, small claims court can be a helpful avenue to seek justice.

Small Claims Demand Letter Example

A small claims demand letter is a written document sent by an individual to another party in Indiana, requesting resolution for a dispute or claims relating to a small amount of money. This letter serves as an initial attempt to resolve the issue before taking any legal action. It is important to use simple and clear language in the letter to clearly state the problem, explain why it is the other party's responsibility, and suggest a reasonable solution. By doing so, it can demonstrate the party's intentions to resolve the matter amicably while adhering to Indiana's small claims requirements.

Filing a Small Claims Case in 5 Steps

Filing a small claims case in Indiana can be done in just 5 simple steps. Firstly, gather all the necessary information and evidence related to your case. This may include receipts, photos, or any other documents supporting your claim. Next, visit the small claims court in your county and collect the required forms, which usually include a complaint form and a summons. Fill out these forms accurately, making sure to include all relevant details. Then, file the forms with the small claims court clerk and pay the required filing fee. Don't forget to keep a copy of all the documents for your records. Finally, once the court receives your forms, a copy of the summons will be sent to the person you are suing, officially notifying them of the lawsuit.