Start A Small Claims Case


Any individual, business, partnership or corporation (with a few exceptions) may bring a small claims action only to recover money; a "natural person," meaning a human being, may file a claim up to $10,000; the limit is $5,000 in all other cases.

In general, the claim must be filed in the district court of the county in which the defendant(s) reside.

Exceptions and specific rules can be found at RCW 3.66.040.

The State of Washington may not be sued in Small Claims Court.

Attorneys and paralegals are excluded from appearing or participating with the plaintiff or defendant in a small claims suit unless the judge grants permission.


Small Claims or Counterclaim filing fee: $50.

  • The filing fee is non-refundable and due at the time of filing. You may pay by cash, checks made payable to District Court or credit card (there is a processing fee when paying with a card). A motion to waive the filing fee can be obtained at the District Court Administrative office.

In addition to the filing fee, you may also have to pay to serve or mail the Notice to the defendant (Service Information).

If you win your case, you may be able to have the defendant pay the costs of filing and service.


First, you need to prepare a Notice of Small Claim form that is provided by the district court clerk. The Notice requires: 

  • Your name and address
  • A sworn statement briefly describing the claim, including the amount and when it occurred.
  • The name and address of the defendant, if known. 

Next, complete the Declaration re: Service Members Civil Relief Act for each individual person you are filing your claim against. This form does not have to be completed if you are filing against a company/corporation.

Make sure you fill out all forms within the packet completely and accurately. Type or write legibly. Bring at least three copies of any attachments (Note: copies made by the Court may require a .50 cent per page fee).

The clerk will enter a pre-trial hearing date on the Notice form. The clerk may assist you with forms and general information about the process but is not allowed to give legal advice.

Note: The law imposes certain time limits, which range from one to ten years, on filing actions. See chapter 4.16 RCW to determine which time limit applies to your type of case.