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10/27/2010 5:14:01 AM
File Small Claims and Prepare a Winning Argument

So you chosen to file small claims and your court date is approaching. What should you do? Now would be a great time to brush up on communication skills and prepare a winning argument.

It is called an argument because two parties are discussing a disagreement. After you file small claims and arrive at your hearing date, your court appearance should not turn into what we commonly think of when we hear the word “argument” – fighting, yelling, crying and name calling! Not only would that type of argument be incredibly counterproductive, it would also hurt your case. A winning argument is one in which you calmly and plainly state your case and allow the other party to be heard as well.

This can be achieved by following the basic rules you would observe if having a constructive disagreement with a family member, spouse or good friend. You would never want to intentionally hurt someone you care about by using abusive language, belittling or berating. Likewise, before the judge, you should never use inappropriate language or strive to show your opponent in a negative or unflattering light. Simply file small claims, state the facts, and let the evidence speak for itself.

One thing to avoid at all costs is to let negative stereotypes creep into your argument. Never refer to the other party by a name that is racist or offensive. When you file small claims or any other type of claim, both parties are equal in the eyes of the law; showing disrespect for this equality will not be tolerated. You risk your case as well as your reputation when you single out the other with racist or hateful language. Even if your personal beliefs lead you to strongly believe the other’s actions were motivated by race, sexual orientation, etc you must still simply present the facts and let the judge make a decision.

The judge is fair, impartial and will make a decision in the best interest of both parties and by what is right by law. Verbally attacking the judge or rudely calling his or her mental faculties into question is not appropriate. You may not like the decision of the judge, but you must respect it.

When you file small claims, go into the courtroom prepared to give your argument in a calm and factual manner.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is not legal advice, but general information on legal issues commonly encountered in the Small Claims process.’s Legal Document Service is not a law firm and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. cannot provide legal advice and can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.