If you sue in Los Angeles small claims, you have the option of attending your hearing virtually. To accommodate virtual hearings, Los Angeles small claims courts require you to submit your evidence to the court and the other party before the hearing.
In this article we cover the following:
- How to prepare your evidence for the small claims hearing
- How to send your evidence to the court and the other party
Need help preparing your evidence for small claims? People Clerk can help you create a judge-friendly evidence packet for your small claims hearing. Learn more.
How to prepare your evidence for the small claims hearing
Being prepared for your small claims hearing is one of the most important ways of winning your small claims lawsuit. Evidence plays a crucial role in helping you prove to the judge that you should win.
We have watched many small claims lawsuit lose because of a failure to provide sufficient or organized evidence.
What type of evidence can I include?
Generally, you want to make sure you include any evidence that is relevant to your lawsuit. If you are the person suing (plaintiff), you only have 1 shot at proving to the judge you are correct. If you are the person being sued, you have a lot to lose and don't want to go through the whole appeal process.
- Some examples of what counts as evidence: pictures, text messages, emails, invoices, contracts, receipts, videos, etc.
- Ask yourself, what am I suing for and how will I prove to the judge I am right? Alternatively, what am I being sued for and how will I prove to the judge I am right?
- While you may not have everything in writing, make sure you do bring what you have! If you do not have something in writing, a judge may base their decision on your credibility.
- What not to include? Evidence that is not relevant to why you are suing. Keep the judge focused on why you are suing and why you should win!
How do I organize my evidence?
- You want to have your evidence organized with titles, dates, and why that piece of evidence is important.
- Add page numbers and a table of contents. This is key so that the judge can clearly understand your evidence. You don't want to lose your case because the judge could not find what they were looking for!
- Print enough copies of all your evidence. You will need at least three copies (one for you, one for the judge, one for the other side).
People Clerk can create an evidence packet with titles, dates, descriptions, page numbers, and a table of contents for you!
How to send your evidence to the court and the other party
Los Angeles courts require you to mail your evidence to the court and the defendant before the hearing. The evidence must be received at least 10 days before the hearing date. Review the Los Angeles small claims court order (1st Amended Standing Order Re: Evidence Exchange).
Here are the steps:
- Print copies of your evidence (you will need one copy for the court and one copy for each party). Make sure to also print a copy for yourself so you can have the documents handy for the hearing.
- Complete the "Exchange and Submission of Evidence (Small Claims)" (Form LASC CIV 278). Make a copy for the court and for each party. Make sure you include a copy of this form in each envelope.
- Prepare the envelopes. For the envelope being mailed to the court, write on the outside of the envelope the following information: Hearing date, Hearing time, Department, Case Number. This information will help the court deliver your package quickly to the judge (all this information can be found on the first page of your lawsuit).
- Go to the post office and obtain tracking information for all packages. Keep this tracking information handy in case the judge would like to see it at the hearing.
People Clerk can print and mail your evidence for you. Learn more.