You might end up in small claims court one day. On such an occasion, you will either have to defend yourself or argue your case. Either way, you want to end up being the winning party. The only thing that really matters is that you either recoup the cost of going to court and are innocent of the charge or you win your case and get paid for damages done to you. With that in mind, here are some tips for winning your small claims case.
Gather up any important documents for the case.
You can’t win a case if you don’t have any evidence nor can you defend yourself without evidence. Therefore, you need to gather up all relevant items that can work in your favor. Such documents include police reports, witness accounts, and receipts. It all depends upon what your case is about though, so you may need more or less documents and proof of whatever. Without these documents and other items, you can’t hope to make an argument to the judge against the other party. Don’t forget any important materials!
Go into the courtroom with a cool head and keep it that way.
One of the best ways to lose a court case of any magnitude is to lose your temper. The same thing applies to actual lawyers in big cases. On that note, you must always walk into the courtroom with a calm and peaceful demeanor. A hot temper will get you nowhere if the other side in the case starts to criticize you or your account of events. Judges do have the discretion to rule in favor of the opposite party if you get too angry and start lashing out at everyone and everything in sight.
Know all of the facts instead of going in blindly.
This can happen whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant. Typically, the person with the most facts is going to win the case (assuming those facts act in that person’s favor). You can’t walk into a courtroom without knowing all the facts about your own case and expect to win. Knowing all the facts from witness accounts to police reports to damage amounts will help your case out greatly. Obviously, you should also know what the defense or plaintiff knows. All of this is going to help you out greatly because you will always be aware of every fact involved in the case.
Minimize any clutter in the courtroom.
You should have everything you need to win the case when you walk into the courtroom. On the other hand, you shouldn’t have a huge clutter of documents in your hands because they all aren’t going to be necessary. In your hands, you only need the most important documents, such as police reports, witness accounts, damage reports, and the like. You only get a limited amount of time to make your argument. So then, a police report gives an account of the event, witness reports back it up, and damage reports will point out how much something is worth.
Avoid attacking the other party.
The worst thing you can do during a small claims case is to attack the other party. During the court appearance, you should spend your time laying down the facts – not criticizing the other party. The judge might just throw out your argument or defense if you start causing a huge scene with an angry tirade about the other party. You definitely don’t want to lose your case just because you spent your valuable time criticizing others instead of arguing your case.
You can’t win them all.
In the end, you might not be able to win every small claims case, whether you’re the plaintiff or the defendant. You more than likely won’t find yourself in court very often for one of these cases though, so don’t expect to have to get up every morning and head to court. Most people end up in small claims or a larger court at some point or another, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will ever set foot in there.
For more information, see How Much Can I Sue for in Small Claims Court?.