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How can I settle the case?

You can try to reach a settlement with the plaintiff before your court date if the case is valid. This can save you:


  • Time
  • Money
  • Inconvenience
  • A judgment against you

When you choose not to settle before your court date, then you are choosing to let the court decide the case. If you lose in court you risk being ordered to pay the plaintiff’s court costs in addition to the original amount. If you have any type of judgment against you, it can appear on your credit record even after you have paid it. You may wish to speak with or write to the plaintiff before the court date. You may be able to clear up any misunderstandings that caused the plaintiff to file the case. You can also discuss paying in full or working out a payment plan if you believe you owe the money. If you and the plaintiff settle the case, both should sign a written agreement stating the terms of the settlement. The agreement should include all the following information:


  • Total amount to be paid
  • Amount of each payment
  • Number of payments
  • Due date for each payment
  • Start date for payments
  • Grace Period for payments
  • What happens if you fail to pay

The plaintiff can request that the Court dismiss without prejudice when you reach an agreement. If you do not make your payments, the plaintiff will be able to refile the case.

More Small Claims Q&A Topics
Small Claims Basics
Thinking about Filing a Small Claims case?
Filing my case
Serving Notice of my case to the defendant
Responding to a Small Claims case as a defendant
Appearing in Court
Your Day in Court
Collecting a Judgment
Paying a Judgment
Art Showcased in
Los Angeles Courthouse Jury Rooms
Artwork
"Le Tribunal De L’Avenir" by Patrick Treanor
2004 – Best in Show

National Arts Program - Logo

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