Frequently Asked Questions

Can I win my case?

Only the judge can decide this 👩‍⚖️

To have a better chance at winning, it is very important your evidence is organized and you are prepared to tell your side of the story to the judge. We help you prepare for the hearing by creating an organized evidence packet for you!

How does People Clerk work?

People Clerk is your small claims assistant. We have an simple 5-step process:

  1. You answer simple questions about your dispute.
  2. We prepare, review, and send your lawsuit documents to the court.
  3. We help you serve (notify) the other party that they have been sued. 
  4. We prepare and send you an evidence packet for the hearing.
  5. You will always have access to a human legal assistant.

Learn more here. 

Where can I read your customer reviews?

Read what our customers are saying about us on Trustpilot :) 

Are small claims courts open during COVID-19?

Yes, small claims courts are open!

Some counties have virtual hearings and some have in person hearings.

Can People Clerk help me if I qualify for a fee waiver with the court?

Of course! We are a mission driven company with a goal of getting everyone their day in court. 

P.S. You don't have to pay court fees and serving with the sheriff is free if you qualify for a fee waiver! 

How much can I sue for?

An individual can sue for up to $10,000. 

A corporation or LLC can sue for up to $5,000.

How long do I have to sue someone (statute of limitations)?

Each lawsuit is different. Don't wait to file your lawsuit, most statute of limitations are for 2 years. Read more here.

Will my hearing be virtual?

Most California counties have the option for virtual hearings. Contact us to learn more!

Are you a lawyer or law firm?

We are not a lawyer or a law firm. We are an affordable way to resolve your small claims dispute and get justice.

Fun fact: Lawyers are not allowed to represent clients in California small claims court at the initial small claims hearing. If you need a lawyer, we can help connect you with one! 

What types of lawsuits can be filed in small claims?

So long as there isn't another court that is more specific to your lawsuit (for example, eviction court), then the lawsuit can be filed in small claims.

The most common types of small claims lawsuits in California are:

  • Security Deposit. ​Your landlord did not return your security deposit.
  • Rent. Your tenant or roommate didn't pay the rent.
  • Loan. You loaned someone money and they didn't pay you back.
  • Car Accident. Someone hit your car while driving and now you have to pay for the repair work.
  • Mechanic. ​You hired a mechanic to repair your car and they did a terrible job.
  • Contractors. You hired a contractor to perform work at your home and they did a terrible job.
  • Neighbor. Your neighbor damaged your property.
  • Contracts. You had a contract with someone and they broke the contract.
  • Damage to Property. Someone damaged your property (e.g. house, car, bicycle).
  • Goods. You bought an item and didn't receive it or you sold an item and didn't get paid for it.
  • Insurance Companies. Your insurance company didn't pay you for a claim they should have paid you for.
  • Services. You paid for a service and didn't receive it or you provided a service and didn't get paid.
  • Personal Injury. Someone caused you to get hurt.

What if I don't know the other person's address?

Without the correct address, we may not be able to serve the lawsuit later on. 

How to find the other person's address: 

  • Phone Number. Try a reverse phone number lookup. Type the phone number into a Google Search and see what you find. You can also check with "reverse phone number lookup" companies aswell.
  • General Google Search. You would be surprised by what you can find on Google. Try searching their email address, old address, or previous employer. You can also check to see what you find on Linkedin (the person can be served at work) or other social media.
  • Hire a skip tracer. You can also hire a 3rd party to search for where the other party may have moved to but this isn’t always successful. 

In which county will my lawsuit be filed?

Your lawsuit can always be filed in the county where the person you are suing lives or where the business is located.

Here are some other examples:

- Security deposit lawsuits can be filed in the county where the unit was rented.

- Car accident lawsuits can be filed in the county where the accident occured.

- Property damage lawsuits can be filed in the county where the damage occurred.

Will the other party bring a lawyer?

No, lawyers are not allowed at the initial small claims hearing.

Can you represent me at the hearing?

In California, you cannot have a lawyer represent you in small claims court. You must represent yourself, but there are a few exceptions to this rule. These exceptions depend mostly on who you are, and your relationship with the person who you want to represent you. The person representing you or your business, must complete and file a special form (SC-109) before presenting at the hearing. 

If you are suing on behalf of a business: 

  • Corporations → can be represented by employees, managers, owners, or directors of that corporation.
  • Partnerships → can be represented by employees, managers, directors, owners, or partners of that partnership.
  • Other incorporated businesses, like Limited Liability Companies or other business entities (that are not corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships) → can be represented by employees, owners, managers, or directors of that LLC or entity.
  • Sole Proprietorships (if you are an individual that has a business and this business is not incorporated as an LLC, corporation, or other legal entity) → can be represented by employees if they are qualified to present at cout about business records involving the lawsuit. 
  • Landlords → Owners of rental property in California can be represented by property agents who help manage the rented property.
  • Associations → These can be represented by agents, representatives, or bookkeepers of that association.

If you are suing on behalf of yourself: 

  • Spouses → If both spouses are suing, and they are both listed on the lawsuit, then they can agree that either spouse can represent the other.
  • Military veterans assigned to duty outside of the USA for more than six months →  Veterans have strict representative rules, and may choose at their own discretion, provided the representative is not paid and has not represented other people more than four times in the last year.
  • People in jail, prison, or a detention facility → someone who is incarcerated  can have someone represent them provided the representative is not paid and has not represented other people in small claims courtmore than four times in the last year.
  • Other → For very specific situations, a judge may approve that someone (not a lawyer) represent you in court.

Learn more about who can represent you in court here

How long does the small claims process take?

Most hearings are scheduled within 30-70 days. With COVID-19, they are taking a bit longer.

What is the small claims hearing like?

Most hearings are informal and last 15 minutes. Learn more here.

Can the other party sue me too?

Yes, these are called countersuits. Both lawsuits will be reviewed by the same judge on the same day.

Do you help me serve the person I sued?

Yes, we help you with 3 options:

(1) we hire a process server for you,

(2) we work with the sheriff (not available in all counties), 

(3) we work with one of your friends to serve the lawsuit. 

*Note, in some counties the court clerk can serve using certified mail but it is not recommended. Many counties have discontinued this service as it doesn't work 95% of the time.

How can I reach someone at People Clerk?

Need to reach us? Schedule a call with us here! You can also click our chat on the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Our chat is powered by humans!