St Louis personal injury Specialists
Facing a case in the small claims court in St. Louis? Our comprehensive guide gives you insights, procedures, and why Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien is here to assist. Give us a call today.
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What Is Small Claims Court?
Small claims court is a specialized court for handling minor civil disputes. It is a division of the Missouri Circuit Courts, the trial courts for the state. Cases brought in the Small Claims Division are handled with simplified procedures and limited jurisdiction.
The Missouri Court System
The Missouri court system consists of multiple levels and divisions. Each level has its own jurisdiction and function. The small claims courts are a division of the circuit courts. The courts above the circuit courts are appellate courts that determine whether the trial court made a legal error.
Missouri Court Hierarchy
The hierarchy of courts in Missouri is:
Missouri Supreme Court
Court of Appeals
Small Claims Courts
Types of Cases Heard by the Small Claims Court St. Louis MO
Missouri small claims courts manage civil cases regarding minor financial disagreements and help individuals resolve their disputes affordably. Claims heard in this court cannot exceed $5,000.00.
Common claims heard in small claims courts include:
Landlord-tenant disputes: Disputes over rent payments or damages.
Debt collection: Claims for unpaid bills or loans.
Contract disputes: Claims that another party breached a contract by failing to comply with the terms of the agreement.
Auto accidents and other personal injury claims: Property damage or small personal injury claims where you can sue the car insurance company or person responsible for the accident.
Consumer complaints: Claims that a product or service was defective or misrepresented.
Employment issues: Disputes over termination, unpaid wages or overtime.
Property damage: Claims for damage to personal property or disputes over responsibility for costs.
Confused about personal injury accidents in St Louis? We are here to answer your questions.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for Small Claims Court?
Small claims court procedures differ from other courts, making the court more accessible to individuals who wish to represent themselves. However, it can still be beneficial to hire a lawyer to represent you in your case.
The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for Your Case
Professional legal assistance can improve your chances of a favorable outcome. Lawyers have professional training and education that can increase your chances of success when filing a small claim. This is particularly true in small claims personal injury cases where the facts, law, and evidence can be more complex.
Besides their trial skills and legal abilities, lawyers have certain procedural knowledge that comes with experience. A lawyer can ensure all forms are filed, deadlines are met, and compliance with court rules.
The Risks of Representing Yourself in Court
While small claims court is designed to be more accessible to pro se litigants, there are still challenges to representing yourself in court.
Common challenges include:
Researching and understanding the law and procedures.
Effectively representing yourself at trial and presenting your case.
Negotiating a fair settlement with the other party, particularly if they have legal representation.
Procedural errors like filing incorrect documents or missing deadlines. These errors can result in your claim being dismissed or other unfavorable rulings.
Emotional stress from handling your own case, affecting decision-making during critical stages of the process.
Contact Buchanan Williams & O’Brien, P.C. Today
The small claims process in Missouri small claims court can be stressful. If you plan to file a small claims suit, you need to be informed and prepared. Our attorneys can provide legal guidance, advice, and representation, increasing your chances of success.
Let our experienced attorneys help you navigate the complexity of your small claims case. Contact us at Buchanan Williams & O’Brien today for a consultation, and let our client-centric approach work for you.