Resolution of Your Small Claims Case


In most cases, neither party is one hundred percent right or wrong.

Because it is important to use judicial resources wisely, you are encouraged to try to settle your case before it goes to hearing.

If you settle the dispute before the hearing, you must inform the court so the hearing can be canceled, and your case dismissed.

If the other party agrees to pay at a later date, you may ask the court for a continuance. If the other party pays before the postponed date, ask the court to cancel the hearing.

If you do not receive your money by the time of the continued hearing, proceed with the case in court.

If you drop the suit, the filing fee and service costs are not returned.


Once the judgment is issued, the clerk will enter it into the civil docket of the court and will provide a certified copy of the judgment to the prevailing party for no additional cost. A money judgment in your favor does not necessarily mean that the money will be paid. The Small Claims Court does not collect the judgment for you. If the losing party fails to pay, the judgment shall be increased by amounts intended to cover the cost of enforcing the judgment.

If no appeal is taken and the judgment is not paid within 30 days, or in the time set in a mediation agreement or payment plan, the prevailing party may seek to enforce the judgment through the collections process, which could include garnishing the defendant's wages or bank accounts; or seeking to obtain personal property of the debtor.

Remember, the clerks cannot give you legal advice so you may need the assistance of an attorney or collection agency, whose fees may be paid by the debtor.


Either party may appeal a judgment when the judge has decided against them. However, no appeal is permitted if the amount originally claimed was less than $250. Also, if a party who brought a claim or counterclaim wants to appeal a judgment, the amount originally claimed must have exceeded $1,000. If a party loses a default judgment, an appeal may be taken under the district court rules for setting aside default judgments. A party who appeals a judgment is required to follow the procedures set out in chapter 12.36 RCW

The party who wants to appeal must take the following steps within 30 days of the entry of judgment

  • File a written Notice of Appeal with the district court.
  • Serve a copy of that Notice on the other parties. 
  • Deposit at the district court the $230 superior court filing fee either in cash, money order or cashier's check payable to the District Court and pay a $40 appeal preparation processing fee to the district court. 
  • Post a cash or surety bond in a sum equal to twice the amount of the judgment and costs or twice the amount in controversy, whichever is greater, at the district court. 

When the appeal and bond are transferred to superior court, the appellant (person appealing the decision) may request that the superior court suspend enforcement of the judgment in the district court until after the appeal is heard. Within 14 days of filing the Notice of Appeal, the district court clerk will transmit the court record to the superior court clerk. All further proceedings will be in the superior court.