When you want to sue someone for a relatively small amount in Florida, you can file your claim in a Florida small claims court. Like all lawsuits, you have to ensure your suit complies with all state laws, including those that limit when you can file your claim. If you need legal advice about a small claims question or information about Florida's statutes of limitations, you should talk to a Florida attorney.
Small claims cases are civil cases, meaning they involve private disputes between two or more parties for money damages or other civil remedies. In Florida, you can file a case in small claims court as long as the case does not involve more than $5,000 in damages, according to the Florida's 10th Judicial Circuit. You have to be at least 18 years old to file a small claims case, though someone under the age of 18 can file a claim if a parent or guardian files on the person's behalf.
Read More: How to File an Out-of-State Small Claims Suit
Statute Of Limitations
There are numerous statues of limitations in Florida law, but those most commonly encountered in small claims suits limits how long a person has to sue another person. In Florida, there are various different statutes of limitations that apply to different kinds of cases. For example, if the case is based on a written contract, you have five years after the borrower defaults on the agreement to file a claim. If, on the other hand, the case involves a personal injury, you have four years to file your case.
If you file a small claims court case in Florida and win, you become a judgment creditor. This means the court declares you the winner and grants you a court judgment that states how much the other party owes you. Once this happens, you have a limited amount of time to collect on the debt. In Florida, a judgement creditor has 20 years after the court files the judgment to collect the amount of money owed.
Small Claims Limits
The $5,000 limit imposed on small claims cases is a judgment limit. This means that the court can only impose a judgment up to a value of $5,000. If, for example, you file a case in which you allege $10,000 in damages, the court will only be able to award you $5,000 in damages if you win. If you want to recover more than $5,000, you have to file outside of small claims court.
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.