Florida Small Claims Court
If you’re thinking of filing a lawsuit concerning a sum of less than $5,000 in Florida, you should file your claim in Florida small claims court. Small claims are handled in the Florida county courts in a much less formal proceeding than traditional litigation. The small claims system is handled “pro se,” meaning that the plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit) and defendant (person being sued) handle their claim without an attorney.
Common types of small claims lawsuits handled in the Florida courts include landlord-tenant disputes, personal injury, car accidents, damage to personal property, and sums of money owed.
Claim Limit: Claims under $5,000 in value.
Where to File: You should file your Florida small claim in the county court in the county where the breach or injury occurred, or where the defendant(s) resides.
Types of Cases: Landlord-tenant disputes, breach of contract, car accidents, property damage, personal injury.
Who Is Eligible To File: Individuals or business entities. Individuals must be at least age 18 to file. Minors may have a parent or guardian file on their behalf.
Filing Your Claim: You must file a statement of claim with the county court to initiate your small claim. Be ready with contact information, pertinent documentation, and a statement about the nature of your claim. After paying your filing fee, you will be asked to serve the paperwork on the defendant via certified mail or sheriff service, then file a service of process form with the court to further the claim.
If You Need Help: While you may seek legal advice from court employees or legal librarians, they may not be willing or able to give you any legal help specific to your case if state laws and court rules prohibit them from doing so. Contact a Florida small claims attorney or the local bar associationfor more information and referrals if you feel you cannot go it alone.
For more state-specific information and links to your state's small claims court resources, see Small Claims Court Information and Links.