Small Claims in Indiana

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Small claims in Indiana are simple, inexpensive, quick, and informal. Most people who appear in small claims court present their case and don't have a lawyer. By having a lawyer, you are letting the court know you are serious about your case as well as the lawyer will make sure you have a solid case.

To bring your case in small claims court, you must be seeking to recover $6,000 or less in total damages. If your situation is more complicated than a simple case, you may need to move beyond a small claims court.

Those that are at least 18 years old (or an emancipated minor) can file a claim in small claims court. A business entity, such as a corporation or partnership, is typically allowed to bring actions in small claims court.

With a few exceptions, small claims courts in Indiana can only award money, up to the court limits. If you need an order to make someone do (or stop doing) something, other courts are available. For example, if you want to file for divorce or seek higher child support, you will need to go to a family law court.

Under Indiana state law (Ind. Code Ann. § 34-11-2-1 et seq.), there are limits (called statute of limitations) on the amount of time you have to bring a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for most cases in Indiana is usually two or six years (depending on the case). You will want to contact your small claims court or legal counsel to verify the limit for your specific court case.

If you've missed the deadline for your claim, a lawyer can guide you through what options are available to you.

When filing your case, you will want to be diligent and careful that your information is clear and concise. The key items you will need to be aware of are:

  • Write a compelling statement for the court.
  • Include all documents and evidence for your case. These can include contracts, credit card statements, photographs, and other proof that justifies your claim.
  • If you will have witnesses make sure they are credible that saw what happened concerning your claim.
  • You will want to be clear on the order of the evidence that it details your case.

If you lose your case, you have 30-days to file an appeal to the court. This time can change based on specific circumstances of the type of case you have submitted.

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