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Big Change to Small Claims Statute: Business Owners and Private Litigants Should be Pleased

On March 21, 2020, Governor Holcomb signed into law House Bill 1313, which raises the cap on small claims disputes. Currently in most Indiana counties, litigants can only file a lawsuit in small claims court if the amount in dispute is less than $6,000. Effective July 1, 2020, this amount will be increased to $8,000 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 $6,000 to $8,000 will allow more claims to be brought in Indiana small claims courts. Parties who frequently find themselves in small claims courts, such as creditors, insurance companies, and private contractors, should enjoy the increased freedom of this revision to the small claims code. This change 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 attorney Robert P. Lamey at (812) 423-3183 or by email, or contact any member of the KDDK litigation team.

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