On April 26, 2021, Governor Holcomb signed into law House Bill 1435, which raises the cap on small claims disputes. The small claims cap sets a maximum value for the claims that may be heard in Indiana’s small claims court. Small claims litigants may recall that Governor Holcomb took similar action last year when he raised the cap from $6,000 to $8,000. Effective July 1, 2021, this amount was again increased to $10,000 across the entire state of Indiana.
Small claims courts allow parties with smaller disputes to have a less expensive but more efficient and straightforward means of pursuing their claims. To accomplish these goals, small claims courts use a relaxed standard for admitting evidence. Also, small claims courts aim to quickly move their caseloads through short, less formal hearings. Perhaps most importantly, small claims courts charge lower fees compared to circuit and superior courts.
Thus, the increase in the cap from $8,000 to $10,000 will allow more claims to be brought in Indiana small claims courts. Debtors, creditors, banks, insurance companies, and all parties who frequently find themselves in small claims courts, will have greater access to the small claims dockets. This change to the small claims code will increase all Hoosiers’ ability to enjoy the benefits of small claims court.
Determining where to file a lawsuit is typically a complex decision, and parties should consult a skilled attorney before filing. For more information on small claims court and the consequences of filing in other courts, please contact attorneys Patrick C. Thomas and Robert P. Lamey at (812) 423-3183 or by email, or contact any member of the KDDK litigation team.