What happens after the Small Claims Court Trial?
If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, the judge can issue an order or judgment awarding the plaintiff monetary damages. The law in Illinois requires that an appeal from the judgment be filed within thirty days of the date the judgment is entered by the court.
Can I file a case in Jersey County?
Illinois law requires a small claims court case to be filed in the county where one of the defendants live or in the county where the incident or transaction involved in the case occurred. For example, if the case involved property damage, the case could be filed in the county where the property is located.
What Happens at a Small Claims Court Trial
At a trial in front of a judge, the court determines the facts of the case after listening to the evidence provided by both the plaintiff and defendant. The court will also listen to any witness testimony and exhibits (documents) provided by either side. The court will hear evidence from the plaintiff first. The defendant puts on its side of the case once the plaintiff has finished. 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).
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 through the court clerk’s office which is located inside of the courthouse. The party filing the complaint is called the plaintiff. The party that the plaintiff is trying to recover money from is called the defendant.
Does a Jersey 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. You are encouraged to consult with an attorney prior to requesting a jury trial. A jury trial is much more complex and difficult for a person to represent themselves in and requires substantially more preparation. Also, if you are the party making the request for a jury trial, you will incur additional costs associated with the jury trial.
Jersey County Small Claims Court
In Jersey County, small claims court allows a plaintiff to bring a case if the amount is $10,000 or less. Small claims court has much simpler rules and procedures and is designed to try cases faster.
Beginning a Jersey County Small Claims Court Case
Before a party files a case in small claims court, it is recommended to contact the party directly by sending a demand letter. A demand letter is a written summary describing the circumstances of the plaintiff’s claim and explains why the plaintiff should be awarded the money. The demand letter is recommended because resolving a case through small claims court (even though quicker and simpler than a regular civil case) still takes time. Additionally, collection of funds after winning a judgment is not a guarantee. If there is a chance you can resolve the case without filing in small claims court, it is a worthwhile step to take. Drafting a demand letter also allows the plaintiff to explain the case in a brief manner (which has to be done when the complaint is filed in the court).
How to Prepare for a Small Claims Court Trial
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. Bring documents, photographs, contracts, receipts, or anything else that supports your position. Preparing a short chronology of the events in your case is helpful. Details including dates, times, and values of damages or items purchased will be important for the court to take note of (and should have been included in your initial complaint if you are the plaintiff). You should also take steps to secure the attendance of any witnesses that have information to help your case. You should make sure any witness you need is aware of the location of the court (including courtroom number) and the time and date of the trial. If the person refuses to come to court, you may need to take steps to issue a subpoena for them to attend.
Who can sue in small claims court?
Any individual or corporation doing business in Illinois can both sue and be sued in small claims court. The court may require the appointment of a guardian for those parties under the age of 18. If a corporation sues in small claims court, they will need to be represented by an attorney. However, if a corporation is acting as a defendant, it is allowed to be represented by certain members of the corporation.
Am I Able to Have an Attorney Represent Me in Small Claims Court?
You can represent yourself in small claims court or hire an attorney to represent you. However, when a corporate entity is the plaintiff in a case, it is required to be represented by an attorney.
Types of Small Claims Court Cases
Only the following types of cases can be filed in small claims court under Illinois law:
- breach of contract
- property damage
- personal injury
- 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).
Serving a Party in Jersey County Small Claims Court
After filing the complaint, the plaintiff needs to arrange for it to be served. Serving an individual is easy (if an address is known). 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. This information can be obtained online at the Illinois Secretary of State website.
Jersey County Small Claims Court Location
Small Claims Court cases are heard at:Jersey County Courthouse 201 W. Pearl Street Jerseyville, IL 62052
The court’s website is here. The circuit court clerk takes care of all documents and files for court cases. The circuit clerk’s address is:201 West Pearl Street Jerseyville, Illinois 62052-1852
The clerk’s phone number for the court is: 618-498-5571
The clerk’s fax number for the court is: 618-498-6128