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Should I Sue in Small Claims Court? Is it Worth It?

by | Apr 25, 2022 | Plaintiff, Small Claims Process | 0 comments

So your strong letter demanding payment didn’t result in you getting back what you intended, now what? The next step to consider is taking the other party to small claims court. This may provoke many questions. Perhaps you are owed a lot of money, but sometimes that is untrue. Many ask “Is it worth going to small claims court for $500?” This decision is deeply personal and can mean different sacrifices for different people. Here are some important factors to consider when evaluating whether or not you should sue:

1. Time and Effort

You need to devote time to gathering information, such as sorting through all your papers to find receipts and/or documents related to the agreement, putting together your case to convince the judge your story is correct and possibly figuring out a lot of details such as finding witnesses and eventually appearing in court.

2. Cost of a Lawsuit

One of the biggest factors to consider when deciding whether to go to small claims court is the cost. In most states, the cost to file a claim in small claims court is relatively low, typically between $30 and $100. However, if you hire an attorney to represent you, the costs can quickly add up. An attorney may charge anywhere from $100 to $500 or more per hour, depending on their experience and location.

The prospect of representing yourself in small claims court without a lawyer should not discourage you! With tools like JusticeDirect, the small claims court process can be simple and affordable to navigate if you want to seek justice without involving a lawyer.

3. Your Relationship with the Other Party

Oftentimes, the parties involved in a lawsuit have a personal relationship. Lawsuits can damage a relationship, so it is up to you to decide whether you care to preserve your relationship with the other party.

4. Strength of Your Case

If you have a strong case and good evidence to support your claim, the chances of winning are generally higher. However, if you have a weak case and little evidence, it may be less likely that you will be awarded the $500 you are seeking. Even if you have a strong case, it’s possible that the other party will dispute your claim and the case may drag on for a while.

5. The Other Party’s Ability to Pay

It’s also worth noting that winning the case is not the end of the matter. Even if you win, the other party may not have the means to pay you the money you are owed. If this happens, you may need to take additional steps to collect the judgment, such as garnishing the other party’s wages or placing a lien on their property. These steps can also be costly and time-consuming.

The Upside

So… should you sue? If you’ve exhausted all other options and this is the only way you can recoup the money you’re owed, then small claims court may be worth it. It’s also a good option for any person who has had one of the following experiences:

  • You let someone borrow money and were not repaid as expected.
  • You paid for a product, but it doesn’t work or it was never received.
  • You sold a product or completed a service but didn’t get paid.
  • The other party didn’t pay housing rent payments in full.
  • You paid for a service, but it was not completed.
  • The landlord did not return your security deposit as expected.

In conclusion, whether it is worth going to small claims court for $500 depends on a variety of factors. You will need to weigh the potential costs and benefits of going to court, including the likelihood of winning your case, the amount of time and effort required, and the availability of other options for resolving the dispute. If you decide small claims court is for you, set yourself up for success by utilizing JusticeDirect!



The quest for justice is never easy, particularly when it comes to getting your money back. However, thanks to advances in technology, it has become easier. Quest for Justice’s first app, JusticeDirect, is the only app of its kind designed to support people without lawyers to resolve their disputes and get their money back, both in and out of court. The first step to getting money back is through a letter demanding payment from the other party JusticeDirect offers customizable demand letters for free. If the letter demanding payment does not work, then the next step is taking them to court. JusticeDirect* will guide users every step of the way through the small claims court process by helping them:


  1. Understand the legal process;
  2. Evaluate the pros and cons that come with taking someone to court;
  3. Generate small claims court forms; and,
  4. Avoid common mistakes when filing your forms and serving notice on the other side.
*Currently, JusticeDirect can only help litigants sue in California’s small claims court.

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