A claims dispute can be easily settled by taking your case to a small claims court. The reasoning behind creating small claims courts was to give the ordinary citizen a tribunal where he could tell his cause to an arbitrator without having to hire a lawyer. In the United States we have 50 states which means that the provisions for small claims courts vary from state to state. Even with different provisions wherever you live the name of the claim game will be simplicity. First, you check to see if your case is worth too much money to get into court. Call the Clerk of District Court and they will refer you to the clerk. You will need to file your claim on a form called Petition, Complaint or some other name. In all courts that I know of you will need to go down to the court house and the clerk will help you fill it out. You must know the name and address of the person who owes you the claim. You have to pay a filing fee. The court then sets a date for the trial which is called a hearing in some states. They will send the petition to the defendant who is called the respondent in some states. When the date arrives for trial bring all of the written evidence of your claim with you. Bring any witnesses but be aware that he court doesn’t want to hear witnesses who don’t actually know something about the claim. The court will be a person called a judge or referee. You will be asked to tell the judge what happened. Do not ramble on. Be specific. Make sure that you have a written piece that shows exactly what you are claiming. If the judge asks you a question, answer the question. This is important. Do not say anything else. If there is one thing that can disturb a judge is if you don’t answer the question. Eg., Judge asks, “Where were you going at the time?” You should tell the judge where you were going, eg., “I was going home.” If you start telling a story the judge will get annoyed., eg., “Well, I had just had breakfast and my wife asked me to go over to the Walmart store to get some paper plates for our party. I got over there without any trouble. I had to search the store to find the plates . . . ” By this time you have not answered the Judge’s question. He will stop you and tell you to just answer the question. When you have finished telling your case the judge may let your witnesses speak or he may wait until he has heard what the respondent has to say. Now, in some courts the respondent can have an attorney but the attorney is usually limited by the judge to asking only a few questions to clarify something. Once the respondent is finished the judge may ask if you have more to say. When the testimony is finished the judge may give a decision right then but more likely will tell you that he will study the case and you will get a decision in the mail. When the decision comes if you win and the respondent does not pay you should call the clerk and he will give you suggestions on ways to collect.