Can I file my small claims case in Hamilton County?
The action is generally filed in the County and Precinct where the defendants reside (where they live) or where location where the Defendants contracted themselves to perform. (Texas Government Code Section 28.011). Small Claims actions are heard in 2 courthouses throughout Hamilton County.
Do I need A Lawyer?
In Texas, small claims parties generally represent themselves without an attorney. This is largely because the amount at issue in the case is not large enough to justify the hiring of an attorney. Nevertheless, you are allowed to retain one if you desire. (Texas Government Code Section 28.003).
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
We recommend contacting the Hamilton County court clerk before proceeding down to the courthouse to file your action. The clerk is an excellent resource for the procedure for small claims court cases in Texas but also any procedures specific to that County or courthouse. It is recommended that you contact the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open during the hours you want to visit. Remember, the court clerk is trained to assist with procedural questions, but is not able to give legal advice.
Can I appeal my case?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
Types of Small Claims Cases
Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. However, small claims court cannot handle assignments of claims (where one person transfers their interest in an action to another), a divorce proceedings, and cases filed by collection agencies or agents.
Limit (or Jurisdiction) of Small Claims Court
You cannot demand or ask for more than $10,000 in a small claims court case. (Government Code 28.093). Another restriction of small claims court is that a plaintiff can only seek monetary relief (an award of money). The court has no authority to issue an injunctive or equitable award. For example, if you pay a painter $1,000 to paint your house and the painter does not even begin, you cannot ask the court to issue an order for the painter to paint your house. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
A Justice of the Peace for Hamilton County hears small claims court cases for Hamilton County.
What can I expect at trial?
Unlike regular civil trials, small claims court rules do not follow the Rules of Evidence. There are no rules of evidence. Furthermore, the judge is allowed and often ask questions of witnesses and parties to help understand the facts of a case. Trials generally are pretty short (15-20 minutes). If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
Hamilton County Court Locations
The precinct map for Hamilton County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Hamilton
This courthouse is located at:102 N Rice, Ste 115 Hamilton, TX 76531-1859
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Hico
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 533 Hico, TX 76457