If you feel an individual or a business owes you money, you can bring a
lawsuit against that person or business in the Small Claims division of
the District Court.
The Small Claims court is designed to quickly decide disputes
involving amounts of $6,500.00 or less. In small claims you give up
your right to a jury trial, to be represented by an attorney and your
right to an appeal beyond this court.
The simple fact that the
court decides in your favor does not automatically mean that the
defendant will pay the judgment and costs. The court can only award
judgment for money. You may have to take additional legal steps (ie.
garnishment of wages) to obtain your money, and in the end, success in
collecting may depend upon whether the other party has the money to pay
What Can I Sue for in Small Claims Court? You can sue only
for money damages in Small Claims court, up to $6,500.00. You may have a
valid claim for more than $6,500.00, but a judgment in Small Claims
court cannot exceed $6,500.00.
You may also file a Small Claim for up to $1,000.00 due to an
automobile accident under the Michigan No Fault law. You may file for
more than $1,000.00 if you can prove that the defendant has no
insurance. You will need a letter from the insurance company stating
that the defendant is not insured. This letter MUST accompany your
Small Claims form.
If you are filing for damages due to an accident, a copy of the
police report and an estimate of the damage to your car is also
When you file in small claims court, you give up or waive the following rights:
- The right to be represented by an attorney
- The right to have a jury trial
- The right to appeal the final decision of the court (unless the case is heard by an attorney/magistrate)