Gather all of the information you have that relates to the unpaid loan, such as a promissory note, loan agreement, contract, emails, correspondence or voice-mail messages. Courts make judgments largely based on evidence of the parties, and the clearer you can state your case, the more chances you have of winning. The judge will either give his decision at the end of the trial or send out his decision at a later date.
Contact the small-claims court location within your county or the county where the loan was made. A lawsuit can be filed up to four years after a loan has been unpaid, and maybe you moved since that time. Filing at the wrong place will most likely get your case dismissed. Ask the court clerk any questions you might have, such as the dollar limit you can sue for and the overall filing procedure. A small-claims court will allow lawsuits that are less than a certain amount, and this number differs in different states.
Contact a lawyer for claims exceeding the amount accepted by the small-claims court. These cases will be judged at a civil division of the superior court, and going in without a lawyer can put you at a disadvantage. This is especially true if the borrower hires an attorney. Always ask about the lawyer's fees so that you are not surprised with a bill afterward. Also ask if the initial consultation is free.