A Brief Guide to Utah Small Claims Court

If you have been the victim of an unfortunate incident and are seeking monetary damages, you might be surprised to find that the court proceedings can be wrapped up quite quickly. Instead of taking your claim to District Court and working through the mountain of paperwork and lengthy timeframe, Small Claims Court can provide a quicker and more cost-efficient alternative. Winning a case in Utah’s Small Claims Court—also known as Justice Court—is relatively straightforward as long as you meet some simple criteria and follow the process laid before you.

Is Small Claims Court the right option for you?

Utah’s Small Claims Court is specifically for settling civil actions for relatively small sums of money, like property damage or a breach of contract. As long as you are not seeking more than $10,000 in damage, you can file your claim in Small Claims Court. The benefits of Small Claims Court generally outweigh the option to go to District Court, even if you end up having to take less money than you felt you deserved.

Small claims court can often resolve the suit in one meeting, rather than having to get on the District Court schedule and wait for long periods of time. It is also far less expensive to file a case in Small Claims Court; not only are the fees considerably less, but you also aren’t paying nearly as much in attorney costs since the case is usually resolved much faster.

How to file in Small Claims Court

As long as you meet each deadline and follow the protocol for filing a case, the process for small claims court is very straightforward. There are fees for filing, and you are required to file in the court district where you reside. After filing the necessary paperwork, the opposing party will be served papers to inform them that they are required to appear in court. The summons must happen at least 30 days before the date of the trial, and you cannot serve the papers yourself. There is an opportunity to reach a settlement outside of court if you both can come to an agreement.

During the trial, both sides may present evidence and argue their case. Most of the time, the judge will make a decision right after the case concludes. Sometimes, they need to take extra time and will have 60 days to issue their final decision. Small Claims Court does allow for the opportunity to appeal within 30 days of the ruling, though the case would then proceed to District Court and the trial would begin anew. If you have won your case, you can collect your judgement and the matter will be completed.

If you need advice and advocacy in a civil lawsuit amounting to less than $10,000 in possible damages, please call The Law Office of Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins and let us guide you every step of the way.

Written by Arnold Wadsworth Coggins

Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Attorneys is a premier Utah law firm serving the Wasatch Front in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and civil litigation. Our attorneys provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personal attention. With over 35 years of trial practice and litigation experience, we bring big firm expertise at affordable rates