File a Small Claims Case

What is Small Claims Court?

Small Claims cases are filed only for the recovery of money owed to you.  You can find more information about small claims court on the Washington State's website here. (RCW 12.40, 3.66, 4.16, 4.28) (WA Civil Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction)

How to File

You can file your small claim case online (open link in Chrome).  After filing online, make sure you write down the confirmation number (you will need this later).  You must contact the court within 72 hours to review your claim either online through Live Chat or by phone at (253)798-7487. If you do not contact the court within 72 hours, the filing is automatically dropped from our system and you may have to re-file your case.  After you have paid the filing fee, the court will email or mail you a service packet along with your hearing information.  Important: Your claim will not be processed until you have contacted the court for review and the filing fee has been paid.  A list of fees can be found here.

The Filing Process

Small claim cases must be filed in the county where the defendant resides or does business.  When filing a small claim case you will need the following information:

  • Name and address of the person, company and/or corporation being sued
  • Amount owed
  • Date the money became due
  • Reason for the suit

The District Court does not collect the money awarded in a judgment.  Contact an attorney or a collection agency for any questions concerning collection of money.

Restrictions

All small claims cases are set for a mediation hearing with an impartial, third-party mediator.  Witnesses are not allowed at the mediation hearing and attorneys are not allowed to represent either side in small claims.  The litigants prove their cases via statements, contracts, estimates, photographs, etc.  Seventy-five percent of the small claim cases are settled at mediation.  Those cases that are not settled through mediation are scheduled for trial.

The amount of money requested in the claim may not exceed $10,000 in cases brought by a natural person (a natural person is defined as a human being). The limit for all other cases brought by a business, corporation, or other business entity, is $5,000. The filing fee must be made in cash, VISA or Mastercard.  Personal checks are not accepted.