If you have a claim with damages under $10,000 in Harris County for a debt owed to you or for a personal injury done to you, consider filing in the Justice of the Peace Court.
There are 16 of these Courts all over Harris County.
They are designed to permit you to file a lawsuit without an attorney. Basically there are no rules of civil procedure or rules of evidence. And, unless a party asks for a jury, it operates like the TV shows where the parties present the judge with their testimony and exhibits and the judge then rules.
Do not wait too long to present your claim. You must file your claim within any applicable statute of limitations. For example, a suit to collect money owed on a contract must be brought within four (4) years. A suit for personal injury or damage to property must be brought within two (2) years.
Go the the JP Court closest to you. Make sure you have your name and address and the party you want to sue names and addresses. If the party you want to sue is a corporation, you will need the correct name of the corporation, and the name and address of the corporation’s registered agent, or its president or vice-president. If the business is a partnership, you will need the name and address of at least one of the partners. Business ownership may be determined from the Harris County Clerk’s Assumed Name Records. Information about corporate entities may be obtained from the Corporation Division of the Office of the Secretary of State at 512-463-5555, or the Office of the State Comptroller at 1-800-252-1386.
Obtain the form and list the parties. Write a short and concise statement of the basis for your claim. Like “I lent Joe $5,000 and he did not pay it back.” Or “Joe hit my car and cause $5000 in body damage.” Use plain language. Be sure to include the date the claim arose and all pertinent information.
When you trial date is set, gather all of the information you need to prove your claim. Collect all records, such as copies of contracts, invoices, or other agreements. Get you witnesses, with their addresses and telephone numbers. Make sure you have some proof of your damages.
You can get much more information at http://www.jp.hctx.net/default.htm. Forms are available online at www.texaslawhe