Serving a Party in Iroquois County Small Claims Court
After a complaint is filed in court, it needs to be served on the party. If the party is an individual, service is easy. Service of a corporate entity can be slightly more complex. In the State of Illinois, a corporate entity can be served on a corporation’s office or its registered agent. A plaintiff should visit the Illinois Secretary of State website to obtain the addresses for the corporate entity (and registered agents).
What to Expect at a Iroquois County Small Claims Court Trial
In a court trial, the judge will decide the facts of your case and will listen to the evidence provided by the plaintiff and the defendant. The judge will also listen to any witness testimony and will review exhibits offered by either the plaintiff or the defendant. The court will hear evidence from the plaintiff first. Defendants present their case once the plaintiffs have finished presenting its case. It is important to speak clearly and slowly so that the judge can understand you. It is normal for all people to be nervous when speaking in public (let alone in front of a judge) so it may be helpful to practice talking about your case in front of another person (spouse, friend, neighbor).
Can I file a case in Iroquois County?
In Illinois, a small claims court case must be filed in the county where one of the defendants live or in the county in which the incident or transaction took place. In the case of a traffic collision, it would be the county where the traffic collision occurred.
Small Claims Court Trial Preparation
The most important thing about preparing for your trial is the ability to explain your side of the case in a clear concise way to the judge (or jury) so they can understand. Before the trial date, you should gather any pieces of evidence that will help you explain your side of the case including any contracts, receipts, photographs, or other documents. It is recommended to prepare a short chronology of events or description of all of the facts surrounding your case. The court will pay particular attention to details including times, dates, value of damages so it is critical to have these details noted and documented ahead of time (and even including them in your complaint). If there are any people who observed anything in your case, it is important to invite them to court to provide testimony at the trial. It is important the witness is aware of the location of the court and the date and time of the trial in order to be able to appear in person. If the person refuses to come to court, you may need to take steps to issue a subpoena for them to attend.
Can I have an attorney represent me in Small Claims Court?
Plaintiffs and Defendants can either represent themselves or use an attorney. However, corporations acting as plaintiffs are required to be represented by an attorney.
Small Claims Court Locations for Iroquois County
Small Claims Court cases are heard at:Iroquois County Courthouse 550 S. 10th Street Watseka, IL 60970
The circuit court clerk takes care of all documents and files for court cases. The circuit clerk’s address is:550 South 10th Street Watseka, Illinois 60970-1810
The clerk’s phone number for the court is: 815-432-6950
The clerk’s fax number for the court is: 815-432-9333
Does a Iroquois County Small Claims Court Jury or Judge?
In Illinois, a small claims court case can be heard in front of a judge or a jury. It is highly recommended that a party consult with an attorney before asking for a jury trial. A jury trial is much more complex and difficult for a person to represent themselves in and requires substantially more preparation. Requesting a jury trial also has additional costs for the party making the request.
Who can be a plaintiff in small claims court?
Small claims court can be used by any resident of Illinois or Illinois corporation (both as a plaintiff or a defendant). The court may require the appointment of a guardian for those parties under the age of 18. A corporation is not required to be represented by an attorney in small claims court. If a defendant is a corporate entity, only certain officers or members of the corporation are allowed to represent it.
Filing a Small Claims Court Case
A small claims court case begins with a party filing a document called the complaint. A blank complaint can be obtained by contacting the court clerk’s office. The party that files the complaint is called the plaintiff. The party that the plaintiff is trying to recover money from is called the defendant.
After your Small Claims Court Case
If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, it will issue a judgment of monetary damages. Either party is able to appeal the judgment issued by the court (which must be filed within thirty days of the judgment being entered by the court.
What kind of cases are handled in small claims court?
Illinois restricts the types of cases that can be filed in small claims court to the following:
- breach of contract
- property damage
- personal injury cases
- repossessions of personal property that was leased or purchased on credit
- garnishment case against a debtor
The most amount of money that a court can award in small claims court is $10,000 (plus court costs and fees).
Iroquois County Small Claims Court
Small claims court in Iroquois County is a unique type of court where a plaintiff can file a case in an amount of $10,000 or less. Small claims court has much simpler rules and procedures and is designed to try cases faster.
Before Filing a Small Claims Court Case in Iroquois County
Prior to a party filing a case, you are encouraged to contact the defendant by drafting and sending a demand letter. Demand letters are a written summary explaining the facts surrounding your case and why you are entitled to money (which should be drafted in a polite, clear, concise way). A demand letter is ideal because it takes time for a case to make its way through the courts toward a resolution. Additionally, collection of any court award takes additional time and is never guaranteed. If there is a chance you can resolve the case without filing in small claims court, it is a worthwhile step to take. Finally, a demand letter allows the plaintiff a chance to explain in clear words the facts surrounding the issue (which is something the plaintiff will have to do in the complaint which is filed with the court).