The Court Process
A small claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $5,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorneys' fees. Forms that have been approved for statewide use are located within the Florida Small Claims Rules. The clerk of court may also be able to provide you with copies of appropriate forms.
A small claims action begins by filing a Statement of Claim. Small claim cases should be filed with the clerk in the appropriate county. Filing fees for small claims actions are established in the Florida Statutes and local county ordinances, and are subject to change by legislative action. The clerk of court may be able to provide information on filing fees.
After filing, each person or business being sued must be served with a summons/notice to appear in court on a date and time scheduled when the initial claim was filed. A copy of the Statement of Claim should be attached as provided in the Florida Small Claims Rules. Additional fees are required for service of process on the parties being sued. The court may schedule an initial pretrial conference and also order the parties to mediation to resolve problems. Defendants may file counterclaims, set-offs, or third party complaints as provided in the Florida Small Claims Rules. Practice and procedure may vary from county to county. The clerk of court in the county where the action is filed should be contacted for local practices and procedures.
The court cannot collect money damages for you. You may wish to consult with an attorney for advice on how to collect a judgment.
These videos will soon be available as an alternative to the text descriptions above. The videos attempt to provide information on common issues that self-represented people have in small claims cases. Please note that these videos are not legal advice, and cannot be relied upon as such. If you have questions about this video or about the small claims case process that are not answered by these videos, please consult an attorney.
The Small Claims Case Process (coming soon)
Forms Relating to a Small Claims Action
The forms that may be required for a small claims case may vary from county to county. For the most accurate information regarding the forms necessary in your county, please contact your county self-help or small claims office.
The following is a list of additional resources that may be helpful in self-help cases.