When you want to sue someone for a $500 dispute, is it worth going to small claims court for $500?
A small claims court is a platform where small businesses and individuals can go when they want to resolve small monetary issues, typically less than $7000.
Anyone mentally competent and above 18 years is eligible to file a claim and get help from the judges.
Though small claims courts do not charge much for filing a case, with some courts charging less than $10, is it worth using it to solve a $500 dispute? Let’s find out.
So, Is It Worth Going To Small Claims Court For $500?
It depends. Determining whether to go or not to go to small claims court for $500 will depend on the overall cost and resulting benefits. You do not want to spend $1000 to get $500.
Though the cost of filing a claim is low, there are additional costs in between as the judges listen to your case. Therefore, you should consider certain factors, like how much you will spend to get your $500 back.
It would be best to consider several factors before going to a small claims court for $500. Depending on the state you and the person you are reporting reside, here are some factors to consider before going to small claims court:
It is best to have an estimate of the overall cost you are going to undergo before you win your $500 back. Here are some of the expenses you are likely to incur when taking a $500 dispute to a small claims court:
The amount a lawyer will charge you for court knowledge might be more than what you are disputing.
It is so that some experienced lawyers can charge up to $100 an hour. Consider all you will pay and what you will miss out on from work before filing a claim.
You have to know how strong your complaint is and explore all likely possibilities that you will win the claim and get your $500 back.
Many claims usually settle even before the official hearing, and it is because no one will take you seriously until you file a lawsuit.
Nonetheless, you must ensure you have a strong case to increase the odds of winning the claim. A strong case has plenty of evidence to support your claim. The evidence you require is dependent on the type of case you have. Some examples include:
You will also want to bring evidence that you provided the services you want to get paid for. Without solid evidence, your claim will be weak in court.
Though a small claims court is a people’s court that lays out its processes easily and straightforwardly, it still takes plenty of time to navigate. A simple claim can take 6 to 15 months for a judge to come up with a verdict.
How much will you have spent in pursuit of your $500? However, if you are up to the task, that is your decision.
Some people do not worry about what they will get, but they are after deterring people from potentially exploiting others in the same way they exploited you.
Therefore, before committing to court, you must ask yourself, are you seeking justice or just want your $500 back?
If you seek justice, you might go through the entire process, but if you want your money back, you should consider other cheaper options.
It would be best to consider your ability to collect your money back after winning the case. You might win your case, yet the person you filed a claim against cannot pay you back. Will your time and effort be worth the results?
Consider the person’s job and your ability to trace him down. It might be extremely hard to track down a scammer or a homeless person.
Nevertheless, some courts allow you to place a levy on their property if the person can’t pay you immediately.
Therefore, you can get your money back by selling their property, such as furniture. You could also garnish their wages if they have a job, and they will send a small percentage of your salary to pay off the verdict.
Solving your dispute in a small claims court is not the only legal option you have to get your $500 back.
And sometimes, it might not even be the best option. Here are some of the possible alternatives to small claims court that you could use to solve your dispute:
In mediation, a third party, the mediator, often a lawyer, will bring both sides together and listen to their claims.
The mediator will help the two of you to come up with a mutual agreement without favoring any sides.
The mediator will not decide but will instead offer a suggestion from which the two of you might either agree or disagree. Therefore, if you are searching for a judgment entirely in your favor, mediation isn’t for you.
Mediation will work best for you if your $500 dispute is between people you know, like business partners or neighbors. Most small claims courts have policies encouraging mediation between the disagreeing parties.
Nonetheless, mediation is cheaper than going through a court hearing, and if you find the right people, they can be your mediators for free.
Arbitration is similar to small claims court, and it involves bringing a third party, the arbitrator, who will listen to both parties.
The only difference between arbitration and mediation is that the third party will make a final ruling on the case that will be legally binding to both parties.
Going for arbitration might help you save a lot, and the ruling process will happen in a few days, if not hours. Though arbitration is cheaper than small claims courts, it is more expensive than mediation.
If your $500 dispute involves a private company, you could try to contact their senior corporate offices to raise the complaint. Be sure to apply all the available evidence and explain why you raised the complaint.
They might listen to you and even give you a full refund. The corporate might even fire the agent who wronged you if they find your complaint legitimate. It will help save other customers seeking similar services from being exploited.
If you are dealing with a landlord dispute, contacting your local apartment association could help you get back your $500 security deposit.
Nevertheless, it could help if you could talk through the problem and resolve it without the assistance of small claim courts.
If you can’t find help and courts are expensive, move on. You can always make more money if you are still alive. Do not let $500 stress you for weeks as you try to pursue it. You might even lose at the end of it all, leaving you feeling traumatized.
Sometimes, the risk is not worth the fight; it could be better for your health and happiness if you choose to move on.
The cost and benefits of filing a complaint should help determine if it is worth going to small claims court for $500.
Considering every factor, from the overall cost to your possibility of winning, you should be able to gauge whether $500 is worth going to small claims court.
If you find it hard to bare the overall cost of raising the complaint, you could opt for cheaper options such as arbitration or mediation. Nonetheless, you could decide to be happy and move on, as the struggle to follow your case hearings could stress you out.