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What to know before filing a civil case in D.C.

Many people understand that civil cases don't have indictments or enter pleas. You'll find those things in a criminal case instead. Understanding the benefits and limitations of civil court can allow you speak more confidently before you file a claim or consult with an attorney if you choose.

What's the nature of my claim?

Are you seeking large or small damages? Small claims court is for those suing for money alone and for $10,000 or less. Think of people who are looking for reimbursement after exhausting other methods to recover their losses.

Those seeking more than $10,000 in damages or someone to perform a service can file a civil action case. People are more likely to consult an attorney in a civil action than a small claims case because of the amount of potential recouped losses. The District of Columbia has several requirements for filing a civil action case, and an attorney can help you navigate the paperwork.

Filing fees

Costs to bring forth your case will vary depending on the complexity of your case. A small claims case could be around $100, whereas a civil action case would likely be higher. Litigants in civil action cases can apply to waive their filing fees along with their claim.

Small claims mediation can be an alternative to a trial

Most people don't want a lengthy court battle; they want a fair resolution to their situation. Mediation affords both parties a private setting with a neutral third party who helps the parties reach an agreement. The mediation process gives both the plaintiff and defendant more say in the final agreement and keeps that result from public record.

Understand your options

There a few different ways of settling a civil matter. If you're considering filing a civil suit, chances are you're dealing with an already lengthy situation. With a little prior research, you can identify which method is suitable for your case and what you can expect to pay in filing costs.

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4301 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 434
Washington, D.C. 20008

Phone: 202-659-6500
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