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Many legal problems can be solved without an attorney, unless they involve complicated issues. For example, using the Small Claims Court is a good way to resolve disputes that involve amounts up to $5,000. The good news is that the Small Claims Court is relatively easy and inexpensive to use, and the Court web site will usually give you advice on how to use the Small Claims Court. The bad news for a plaintiff (i.e. the person filing the small claims matter) is that if the plaintiff loses, there is generally no right to appeal the Court's decision. If the defendant loses, however, he or she can appeal the decision for a new trial (called a Trial de Novo). Using the Small Claims Court is an excellent way to collect money from someone who owes it to you, or from someone who has caused you damages. For sums over $5,000, you may wish to hire an attorney. To get information on how to use the Small Claims Court, clink on the link to the right on "Using the Small Claims Court." You can also go directly to the Riverside Superior Court by clicking on the link called, "Riverside County Superior Court."
If someone owes you money of more than $5,000 (from a debt, or a breach of contract), or you have suffered damages of over $5,000 by someone who injured you, defrauded you, or falsely arrested you, you will probably need a lawyer to handle your case. I give a free phone consultation of up to 15 minutes to persons who call me with these kinds of legal problems.
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Thomas A. Grossman