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Filing Options for Your Small Claims Case In California

Updated: Apr 27



When filing a case in small claims court, you have to keep 2 things in mind: 1) where to file; 2) how to file.

Where to file

The location of your filing will depend on your case situation:

  • Where the defendant lives or does business

  • Where the plaintiff's property was damaged

  • Where the plaintiff was injured

  • Where a contract (written or spoken) was made, signed, performed, or broken by the defendant or where the defendant lived or did business when the defendant made the contract

  • Where the buyer or lessee signed the contract, lives now, or lived when the contract was made, if this claim is about an offer or contract for personal, family, or household goods, services, or loans

  • Where the buyer signed the contract, lives now, or lived when the contract was made, if this claim is about a retail installment contract (like a credit card).

  • Where the buyer signed the contract, lives now, or lived when the contract was made, or where the vehicle is permanently garaged, if this claim is about a vehicle financed sale

Multiple counties could serve as proper venues to file a lawsuit. For example, if the driver that hit you lives in Los Angeles County, the owner of the car lives in Orange County, and the accident happened in Riverside county, you could choose any of those three counties (L.A., Orange County or Riverside) to file your lawsuit in.

How to file

Each county has different filing options:

  • Dropbox option may be temporary due to Covid-19

  • Fax and e-filing may have an additional cost

  • Some counties may require additional county-specific forms




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