Vermont Small Claims Forms - Vermont Small Claims Court Forms

Vermont Small Claims Court FAQ Vt Small Claims Court

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 special court where people can resolve legal disputes involving relatively small amounts of money. It is designed to be simpler and less formal than regular courts, allowing individuals to handle their own cases without needing a lawyer. In Vermont, small claims courts work similarly. They provide a place for people to present their claims and seek justice for disputes involving sums of money up to a certain limit, typically $5,000 or $10,000. The process is less complicated and more accessible to individuals who cannot afford or do not need to hire an attorney, as they can represent themselves and present their evidence directly to a judge. Small claims courts aim to offer an affordable and efficient way for people to have their disputes resolved fairly.

Why File a Small Claims Case?

Filing a small claims case can be a helpful option when you want to resolve a dispute in a simple and affordable way. In Vermont, small claims court provides a practical platform to settle disagreements involving smaller amounts of money, typically up to $5,000. By filing a small claims case in Vermont, you can avoid the complexities and expenses associated with traditional court proceedings. It offers a faster resolution, allowing you to present your case in front of a judge and get a decision relatively quickly. Additionally, small claims court in Vermont is designed to be user-friendly, allowing individuals to handle the process themselves without needing a lawyer. So, if you're dealing with a minor legal issue and want a straightforward process to seek a resolution, filing a small claims case in Vermont might be the way to go.

Small Claims Court Limits for Each State

Small claims court limits vary from state to state, meaning the maximum amount of money that can be sought or claimed in a small claims case. In Vermont, the small claims court limit is set at $5,000. This limit means that any dispute involving money that is equal to or less than $5,000 can be brought to small claims court in Vermont. This provides an accessible and efficient way for individuals to resolve monetary disputes without needing to hire expensive lawyers or go through the complicated process of a traditional court case.

Small Claims Demand Letter Example

If you find yourself in a situation where someone owes you money in Vermont, you can try resolving the issue by sending a small claims demand letter. This letter is a formal way to let the person know about your claim and request payment. Start by clearly explaining what the situation is and how much they owe you. State that you have already tried to resolve the issue informally but have not received payment. Be polite yet firm, and set a deadline for them to respond and fulfill their obligation. Remember to keep a copy of the letter for your records.

Filing a Small Claims Case in 5 Steps

Filing a small claims case in Vermont can be done in 5 easy steps. First, gather all the necessary documentation, such as receipts, contracts, or emails, that support your case. Next, visit the Vermont judiciary website and download the small claims' complaint form. Fill out the form with accurate details regarding the dispute. Then, make two copies of the completed form and gather any supporting documents. Bring the original, copies, and filing fee to the small claims clerk at your local Vermont courthouse. Finally, have the clerk stamp and date all copies of the form, and keep one copy for your records. You have now successfully filed a small claims case in Vermont!