There are many factors which go into deciding which court to file your lawsuit in, whether it be in small claims court or in superior court. When deciding which court to file in, you should consider things such as the amount of damages, the type of damages in the case, and whether you are represented by counsel.
Every township in Indiana has a small claims court in which various types of cases are heard every day. Below are some pros and cons of filing your case in small claims court.
- The court process is informal and can be generally less intimidating than superior court.
- You may appear pro se, meaning you are not represented by counsel, and the court will typically have forms which make the process easier.
- The legal process is less expensive in small claims court than in superior court. You are generally only responsible for some filing fees.
- Small claims court does not apply formal discovery or evidentiary rules which can make the process easier and less time consuming.
- The court process is faster because of its informal nature and due to the quick speed at which cases are heard.
- Small claims court does not have formal discovery and evidentiary rules which can make it difficult to know and trust what the other side is using as evidence.
- Small claims courts only allow monetary damages rather than injunctive relief such as requiring a party to take or stop engaging in a particular action.
- The informality of the process may leave loose ends, especially if you are not represented by an attorney.
- The potential damages awarded may not exceed ten thousand dollars, plus court costs.
- The outcome in small claims courts can be unpredictable.
In contrast to small claims courts, Indiana superior courts are formal courts located in every county in the state. Superior court is what a person typically thinks of when they think of court or what is depicted in television. Below are some pros and cons of filing your case in superior court.
- Generally, a superior court does not have a limit on the type of damages it can award to a party, including both monetary damages and injunctive relief.
- The requirement of formal discovery and evidentiary rules allows for full disclosure of evidence from both sides under oath.
- Many cases filed in superior court consist of parties who are both represented by counsel, making the power dynamic more balanced.
- Superior courts are more predictable in their outcomes, giving attorneys more insight into how to argue the case and the likelihood of winning the case.
- Superior court requires additional fees that are more expensive than small claims court. Cases in superior court will usually undergo formal discovery which also requires additional expenses.
- Superior court abides by strict deadlines for each filing.
- Going to superior court can be intimidating for many people, especially if they are pro se.
- It is much slower to complete a case in superior court than in small claims court.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about which court process is right for your case, contact one of our experienced attorneys at McNeelyLaw LLP by calling (317) 825-5110.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.