Vanderburgh Small Claims

The information provided here is designed to help provide you with a general overview of the small claims process. The information is not comprehensive, so if you are considering filing a small claims suit you will need to consult other sources such as the Small Claims Manual available at the County Clerk's office. If your claim is complex, or for greater than $6,000 (the limit in Small Claims Court) you should consider consulting an attorney. Get a Referral

TABLE OF CONTENTS (click to go directly to subject)

 

WHAT IS SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
Small Claims Court is a legal forum where average citizens can come to resolve their disputes without having to deal with all of the technicalities and delay associated with regular legal proceedings. Claims are limited to $6,000 or less. In Small Claims Court, the procedural rules are relaxed so that parties may resolve their disputes without the expense of hiring a lawyer. The issues are generally simple. In Small Claims Court, the cases are heard by a Judge or a Magistrate and cannot be heard by a jury. The purpose of the trial is to present all of the relevant facts to the Judge or Magistrate so that the appropriate law can be applied in making a decision.

DO I NEED A LAWYER?
Individuals
Individuals may represent themselves in small claims court.  They are not required to hire a lawyer.

Corporations
If the claim is for $1,500 or less, not an assignment (such as a claim that has been assigned to a collection agency), and there is a corporate resolution and employee affidavit on file with the clerk authorizing a full-time employee to represent the corporation, then the corporation may be represented by that employee. Otherwise, corporations must be represented by attorneys.

Sole Proprietors and Partnerships (Unincorporated Businesses)
Generally, an unincorporated business must be represented by the owner of the business or an attorney. Full-time employee exception is similar to corporation ($1,500, not an assignment, filing with Clerk's office).

WHAT YOU CAN SUE FOR IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
There are many times when you may sue in Small Claims Court. The following list contains some examples. Remember that claims are limited to $6,000.

  • Personal Injury
  • Damage to personal property or real estate.
  • Landlord and tenant disputes
  • Money owed (bad checks, wages services rendered, accounts receivable)
  • Return of wrongfully taken property and return of money paid for faulty work.

 

WHERE TO FILE YOUR SMALL CLAIMS SUIT?
Your suit must be filed in the proper place, which is known as the county of venue. A small claims suit can only be filed in the county:

  • where the transaction or occurrence actually took place; or
  • where the obligation or debt was incurred; or
  • where the obligation is to be performed; or
  • where the Defendant resides; or
  • where the Defendant has his or her place of employment at the time the claim or suit is filed

 

The county in which the suit is filed must meet at least one of the above requirements in order to be the proper county of venue. If several counties qualify under the requirements, then the Plaintiff can file suit in any one of the qualifying counties. However, the rules in Small Claims Court differ slightly from county to county, so be sure to know the rules of the county where you file your claim.

WHERE IS THE CLERK'S OFFICE?
Gibson County
The Gibson County Clerk's office is located in Princeton on the first floor of the courthouse.
The phone number is 812.386.8401

Posey County
The Posey County Clerk's office is located in Mt Vernon on the first floor of the courthouse.
The phone number is 812.838.1306

Vanderburgh County
The Vanderburgh County Clerk's Office is located in downtown Evansville on the second floor of the City-County Building.
The phone number is 812.435.5160 or visit their web site.

Warrick County
The Warrick County Clerk's Office is located in Boonville in the Warrick County Judicial Center on Third Street across from the courthouse.
The phone number is 812.897.6160

HOW TO GET MORE INFORMATION?
The information provided here is only a general overview of the small claims process, if you are considering filing a Small Claims Suit there is a lot more information that you will need to know. Please consult the County Clerk’s Office or visit the web site. The Clerk's office can not give legal advice, but they can assist you in filing your claim. If you need legal advice you should contact an attorney.

DEFINITIONS

Affidavit- A written statement made upon affirmation that the statement is true under the penalty of perjury or under oath before a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths.
Counterclaim - A written demand filed by a defendant against a plaintiff for money or possession of property.
Damages- A sum awarded by the court as compensation for an injury.
Default Judgment- Decision for the plaintiff when the defendant fails to appear in court.
Defendant- The person being sued.
Garnishment- A court order that property (cash or other items of value) controlled by a third person be used to pay a judgment.
Injury- Any wrong or damage done to another, either to a person, his or her rights or property.
Judgment- The decision of the court.
Jurisdiction- The authority of the court to hear and decide cases.
Notice of Claim- Written statement of a claim against the defendant that serves as a notice that the lawsuit has been filed and that the party is ordered to appear in court.
Party- Any person suing or being sued.
Plaintiff- The person suing.
Motion for Proceedings Supplemental- A written filing asking the court to take steps to collect a judgement.
Venue- The appropriate county in which to file a lawsuit.
 
Remember, whether you are a plaintiff or defendant, if you have a case that is very complex (or over $6,000) you should contact a lawyer to determine the best way to proceed and whether or not you should have an attorney to represent you.  Get a Referral