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State of Vermont Judiciary > Court Information > Civil Division
 

 

Civil Division

Small Claims


Windsor Civil Courthouse

Information
Frequently Asked Questions
expand How can a decision be appealed?
expand How much can you sue for?
Only claims for monetary damages not exceeding $5,000.00 (i.e., claims for the price of goods sold, money lent, rent in arrears, etc.) may be filed in small claims court.
 
You can sue for up to $5,000.00 in small claims court.  If you think someone owes you more than $5,000.00, you can sue in superior court, but the procedure in superior court is more complicated, time-consuming and expensive (you will probably need a lawyer).  If your claim is for more than $5,000.00, but you decide to sue in small claims court anyway, you will give up your claim to any amount in excess of $5,000.00 (exclusive of court costs).  Even so, it may well be worth your while to choose small claims court because it is less expensive and less complex than superior court.   
 
A claim in excess of the $5,000.00 statutory limit may not be split into two or more claims.
 
The amount you sue for should include both the actual damage done to you or your property plus any additional money lost as a result of the actions of the party you are suing.  For example, if someone ran into your car and did $200.00 worth of damage, and you had to rent a car for $40.00 while yours was being repaired, you should sue for $240.00.  At the hearing, you must be able to prove all damages and expenses claimed in order to recover this total amount from the other party.
 
   
 
expand What is different about Small Claims Court?
expand What is Small Claims Court?
Small claims court is a people’s court, designed to help people to recover relatively small amounts of money due them without having to hire a lawyer.  The procedures are simple, informal, and inexpensive.
Here are a few examples of situations in which you might want to use small claims court:
 - If you buy a television or appliance and it breaks down   right away, but the dealer refuses to refund your money
 - If you sold goods to someone and that person refuses to pay for them
 - If a customer refuses to pay on an overdue account
 - If someone damages your car, but won’t pay to have the   damage repaired and your insurance doesn’t cover it
 - If you do work for someone and that person refuses to pay you
 - If a mechanic fails to repair your car even though you paid  the bill
 - If you need to collect past due rent from a tenant
 - If your landlord refuses to return your security deposit and   you think you are entitled to have it returned to you  
 
   
 
expand Where can you sue?
expand Who can sue in Small Claims Court?
Anyone at least 18 years old with a claim for money damages, (subject to a jurisdictional limit which shall be discussed later) can sue in small claims court.  The complaint must be your own; you cannot sue on behalf of a friend or relative.  If you are under 18, or under guardianship, your parent or guardian can sue on your behalf.  Corporations or partnerships may also sue in small claims court.