How to Sue Someone: A Quick Guide
Lawsuits are long and expensive. Knowing how to sue someone can be challenging especially if you’re not a lawyer. It becomes especially difficult if your case actually needs to be filed in small claims court where there is no lawyer to represent you. Just because the stakes in small claims are minimal, doesn’t mean the process is simple.
In this article, we will walk you through the crucial parts of suing someone and how to make the process more streamlined with DoNotPay.
Legal Terms to Know
Those who work in the legal industry (or watch legal drama series) are well-versed in legal terms. But for most of us, these legal terminologies seem familiar but have completely different legal interpretations. Even if you will be represented by a lawyer, it will be helpful to know the definitions of basic legal terms. Here is a table of the most common ones:
|Contingency fee||A percentage of the settlement amount paid to a lawyer when he/she can recover the damages on behalf of the client|
|Damages||The dollar amount the plaintiff can recover when he/she wins the lawsuit|
|Defendant||The person or company being sued in the lawsuit|
|Deposition||The written statement under oath of a witness|
|Discovery||An investigation that happens before trial where both parties gather oral or written information about the other party|
|Motion||When both parties cannot agree on an issue, either party can request a judge’s ruling|
|Plaintiff||The person filing the lawsuit|
|Statute of limitations||Time limits or deadlines set by the law on when one can file the lawsuit|
|Summons||A written notice sent to the defendant informing him/her of the lawsuit|
Where to File the Lawsuit
Finding out where to file the lawsuit can be difficult. This is crucial because if the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the defendant, the court will not have the right to hear and issue a ruling for the person being sued. If you are not sure, you may check with the local superior court. Generally, here are some of the locations you need to consider when deciding the correct jurisdiction:
- Defendant’s principal residence
- Where the contract was agreed upon or carried out
- State the company is registered
- Where the event took place
- Where the merchandise are permanently stored
Not only that, but different courts have jurisdiction over the dollar amount of damages you are suing. Depending on the amount, you need to file the lawsuit in the correct court which are:
- Small claims court – For damages from $2,500 to $25,000
- Limited jurisdiction superior court – For damages worth more than $10,000 but less than $25,000
- Unlimited jurisdiction superior court – For damages worth more than $25,000
How to Serve the Defendant
To “serve a defendant” is to let the other party know that they are being sued. If you are the plaintiff, you cannot serve the defendant by yourself. You may enlist the help of a friend, co-worker, relatives, or anyone over the age of 18 who is not a plaintiff. There are three ways to serve the defendant as follows:
- Personal service – This method is a more dependable way of serving the defendant since it is done by a professional process server. The server can testify to say specifics of the serving and the court can ask the server questions if there are any problems.
- Service by mail – A much easier option where someone mails the summons to the defendant. However, the certainty of delivery depends on the mail service.
- Service by publication – This method requires the court’s permission to publish the summons in a newspaper to reach the defendant’s attention. Although it’s a legally recognized method of delivery, not all courts prefer service by publication. Usually, the court will recommend using personal service first a few times before resorting to service by publication.
How to Sue Someone with DoNotPay
In most cases, filing a lawsuit is more straightforward in theory than in practice. There is a lot of paperwork involved and bureaucracies to go through. DoNotPay can make the process streamlined for you. With the Sue Now product, we’ll take care of your demand letter and give you the filing forms to sue in small claims court. All you have to do is:
- Log in to DoNotPay and select the Sue Now product
- Enter the dollar amount you are owed
- Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable details. You also have the option to include photo proof
DoNotPay’s Sue Now product actually makes the process straightforward. Not only can we mail the demand letter for you, we can give you small claims court filing forms!
List of Companies We Have Helped Sue
Have you been wronged in some way? Join thousands of users who turn to DoNotPay for hassle-free litigation in small claims court. Here is a list of companies we have helped our users sue: