Do It Yourself Resources

Typical Claims Filed in Special Civil Court
What is Small Claims Court?
Typical Claims Filed in Small Claims Court

DIY resources I do not recommend that you represent yourself in a divorce matter, in preparing a will or in the purchase and sale of real estate. Considering everything that can go wrong it is best to have legal representation in these kinds of matters. However, there are times when you want to sue a person for money owed because of an unpaid loan, damage to your property, bad work from a contractor, breach of contract or similar matters where the legal fee could be more than the amount you are suing for.

In these cases I can advise you how to go about the lawsuit and help in preparing the documents at a greatly discounted fee than if I had to formally represent you in court. It is possible for you to represent yourself in court if the amount you are suing for is less than $15,000, which is the limit of Special Civil Court or less than $3,000, which is the limit of the Small Claims Court.

These courts which are like People's Court on TV except that you can expect much more in the way of a time delay and a much more serious Judge than "Judge Judy" since the Court is obligated to treat each matter with attention and detail.

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Typical Claims Filed

Following is a general list of claims that may be filed in Special Civil:

  • Breach of a written or oral contract.
  • Return of money used as a down payment.
  • Property damage caused by a motor vehicle accident.
  • Damage to or loss of property.
  • Consumer complaints for defective merchandise or faulty workmanship.
  • Payment for work performed.
  • Claims based on bad checks.
  • Return of a tenant's security deposit.
  • Claims arising from professional malpractice (for example, alleged malpractice by a doctor, dentist, or lawyer).

Please remember that if you believe you are entitled to damages greater than $15,000, but still wish to sue in Special Civil, you give up your right to recover damages over $15,000. The additional money cannot be claimed later in a separate lawsuit.

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What is Small Claims Court?

The Small Claims Section is a court in which you may sue someone (the defendant) to collect a small amount of money that you believe is owed to you. Because procedures in Small Claims are simpler than in other courts you can file and present your case relatively quickly and inexpensively. And as long as you're not suing under a corporate name, you go proceed without an attorney. This following briefly explains how to file a complaint, a counterclaim, or an appeal, and gives general information about Small Claims in New Jersey.

Small Claims is one of three sections of the Superior Court's Special Civil Part. The other two sections are Landlord/Tenant and regular Special Civil Part. Small Claims handles cases in which the demand is not more than $3,000. If the amount of money you are trying to recover is more than $3,000, but less than $15,000, your case should be filed in the regular Special Civil Part. Cases in which damages are more than $15,000 must be filed in the Law Division of the Superior Court.

If you believe you are entitled to damages greater than $3,000, but still wish to sue in Small Claims, you give up your right to recover damages over $3,000. The additional money cannot be claimed later in a separate lawsuit.

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Typical Claims Filed

Following is a general list of claims which can be filed in Small Claims:

  • Breach of a written or oral contract.
  • Return of money used as a down payment.
  • Property damage caused by a motor vehicle accident.
  • Damage to or loss of property.
  • Consumer complaints for defective merchandise or faulty workmanship.
  • Payment for work performed.
  • Claims based on bad checks.
  • Claims for back rent.
  • Return of a tenant's security deposit.

Please remember that if you believe you are entitled to damages greater than $3,000 and sue in Small Claims, you can recover damages only up to $3,000.

To set up a free consultation concerning any do it yourself matter, contact us online or call us at (201) 656-1000.

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