Get the important papers and documents you need to prove your case. Examples: a contract, sales receipt, photo (of the broken appliance, house damage, car accident damage, and so on), diagram, drawing, lease, canceled check, repair bills, or written damage estimates. At trial, someone personally familiar with the evidence must identify it and explain what it is.
Bring any evidence you may need to defend yourself if Defendant filed a Counterclaim against you. (The Counterclaim might state Defendant does not owe you because you are at fault. It might state you owe Defendant.)
If you had property taken or damaged, put how much it would cost to replace it. You can put prices from different stores.
Bring originals, if possible. Bring an extra copy in case the court wants to keep any of your documents. If your case involves a faulty product, bring it to court if possible.
You can only submit evidence during trial, not after. If you are not sure you will need something as evidence, bring it anyway.
- Contact witnesses who can support your case.
Ask them to appear at your trial. In Washington, you cannot order (“subpoena”) a witness to come to small claims court.
Your witnesses must have personal knowledge of the facts they are testifying about. The witnesses must have seen or heard the damage, accident, or dispute in person. Good witnesses help more than written evidence.
Ask the clerk when the court holds small claims trials. Watch a trial yourself. Watch what happens and how judges rule. Your court may have a video about small claims court. Ask the clerk about the video.
Practice presenting your case. Your presentation should be organized and short. Make a list of important points to remember. Put questions to Defendant and your witnesses. Let your witnesses know beforehand what you will ask.