You can sue in a California small-claims court if someone owes you $10,000 or less. You can still litigate in small claims court if you owe more than $10,000, but you must relinquish any further amount owing. Here's an illustration: You owe $11,000 on a loan you made to a buddy. In small claims court, your claim would be for less than $10,000 (since that's the limit for a small claims judgment). If your friend doesn't pay you, you can ask the court for more than $10,000. But since you already took all you were entitled to, there's nothing else to say about the matter.
The first thing you should do is discuss the issue directly with your relative who owes you money. If they are willing to compromise, then accept their offer. However, if they are not willing to compromise, then you should continue with the litigation process described below.
If your relative who owes you money is unconscious or otherwise unable to care for themselves, you may want to consult a lawyer. Some people are able to manage their own financial affairs while others aren't. If your relative isn't capable of handling their finances, or if they don't want to deal with it, then you will need to take over. A lawyer can help you decide what steps to take next and they can also advise you on how to go about collecting your debt.
California has a general statute of limitations for personal debts.
If you gave someone money and they didn't pay you, it's reasonable to wonder, "Can I sue someone who owes me money?" You can, in fact, do so. That is why there is a small claims court. It is a form of court that hears cases between two parties without the need for lengthy, expensive lawsuits.
In general, yes, you can sue anyone for anything if you follow the proper procedures. But like most things related to civil litigation, you want to be careful about who you sue and why. For example, you cannot file suit just because you feel like it will make your life more convenient. There are rules regarding who can be sued and what types of claims can be made against them. If you violate these rules, you have no right to sue anyone over anything. Instead, you should expect that people will move to have you stopped from filing suits you cannot prove.
The first thing to understand is that most states require you to show that you were damaged before you can be awarded money. This is called "damages" and it means that you would have to give back the money that was borrowed along with any additional damages suffered as a result of not being paid. Damage is defined as any loss or hurt. So if someone steals your car, that's damage; if someone breaks into your house, that's damage; if someone else files a lawsuit against you, that's damage too.
If you win in small-claims court, you will be responsible for collecting any money owing to you. Your initial step should be to write a letter to the defendant demanding that they pay you what is owed. If they still refuse to pay, the small-claims judgment affords you the same legal choices as if you had won a lawsuit in another court. You can report the debt to a collection agency or simply take it directly to an attorney who may be able to assist you in recovering your money.
You can sue someone in small claims court if they owe you money because they hit your automobile and you had to fix it. You can sue a contractor in small claims court if they owe you money because you had to pay someone to rectify the poor work they did. There are many reasons why people get into debt, but most of them can be resolved through legal action.
The amount you are allowed to claim in court is called your "claim limit". This varies by state but usually isn't more than $10,000. Any amount you claim that exceeds your limit cannot be filed with the court clerk's office; instead, you must file it with the appropriate agency up the chain of command. For example, if you have a credit card company as a creditor, you would file an application for a civil judgment with that credit card company. They will then report the judgment to the credit bureaus and the collection activity begins. If you fail to collect within 10 years, the judgment expires so there is no need to worry about being able to pay the judgment off over time.
The answer is no. Creditors want their money and will take matters into their own hands.
So, sure, you may sue a family member for unpaid debts, but you'd better have proof to demonstrate the courts that it's a loan if you want to win. It is strongly advised that if you want to give money to a family member or close acquaintance, you draft a loan agreement. Include an interest rate and any other terms necessary for your relationship.
In addition to legal requirements, moral issues should also be considered when deciding whether to file suit against a family member. If you feel like you were taken advantage of or abused in any way, you shouldn't be forced to repay your debt. You should also consider how they might feel if you went after their assets instead of your ability to pay. Finally, keep in mind that if you do go through with this, there will be a court case with all its associated costs and delays. You'll need to think carefully about the consequences of filing suit before taking this route.
If you have not been paid back after exercising reasonable diligence, you may be able to file suit for breach of contract or even fraud. However, you would need to show up in court with evidence such as bank statements to prove that you had attempted to collect the debt in a lawful manner. If you cannot produce these items, then your only option may be to report the incident to the police and seek restitution from your relative's insurance policy.