Small Claims FAQ

Small Claims Court, which is sometimes also called Magistrate’s Court, is just one of the parts of the judicial system here in North Carolina. Small claims courts have no jury. Instead, Judges or Magistrates, who may or may not be attorneys, are in charge of running the court session. Most trials are quick and tend to last less than an hour and both the plaintiff and the defendant can choose to have an attorney represent them, though they aren’t required to.

If you need to settle a disagreement with someone else regarding either money or property worth $10,000 or less, a small claims court is the place to do so. If you have more questions about small claims court or whether it’s right for you, check out some of the following small claims court FAQs. Or, if you need a small claims court lawyer, contact the team at Mulligan Attorneys by calling 910-763-1100.

What kinds of cases can be brought to small claims court?

Some of the most common cases seen in small claims court include:

  • Unpaid/back rent
  • Broken/damage property
  • Damages after a car accident
  • Breach of contract
  • Security deposit returns
  • Unpaid claims
  • Cost of medical treatment
  • Other claims worth $10,000 or less

What is the statute of limitations for small claims court cases in North Carolina?

Generally, the statute of limitations is three years. However, this can depend on the specifics of your case. A small claims lawyer can help you understand your case’s unique statute of limitations.

How do I file a small claims case?

You need to start by delivering a complaint and summons to the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court Small Claims Division in the county where the defendant lives. They will also be able to provide you with more information about which complaint form to use, how to fill out the summons, and how to serve the legal papers to the defendant.

How much does it cost to file a small claims case?

As the plaintiff, you must pay a $96 filing fee when you file your initial paperwork. Additionally, it would cost an additional $30 per defendant if you choose to have the sheriff’s department serve the documents, as opposed to mailing them yourself.

Do I have to use the defendant’s full name when filing my claim?

Yes. If you don’t, you may not be able to collect your money in the event you win the case.

How do I collect money if I win my case?

You can either communicate with the defendant directly or file paperwork to request that the court issue an execution.

Can I appeal the decision of a small claims court case?


Do I need to notify the court when a judgment has been paid to me?

Yes. You need to file a Satisfaction of Judgment with the court within 90 days after the judgment has been paid in full.