Filing a Claim

How to Get Started - Where to File

To start a small claims case, the plaintiff must file the case either in the District Court division where the party being sued (the defendant) resides or, in the case of a traffic accident, in the District Court division where the accident occurred. Questions regarding which District Court division to file in may be answered by referring to Rule 3 of the Snohomish County Local Civil Rule for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. Other questions regarding proper jurisdiction may be answered by referring to Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 3.66.020 and RCW 3.66.040. Questions regarding statutes of limitation for small claim suits may be answered with reference to RCW Chapter 4.16.

Filing A Claim - How Much Does it Cost

A Notice of Small Claim form is provided by the court. The clerk will assist with this procedure, but the clerk is not allowed to give legal advice or to attempt to predict how a judge might rule in any given situation.

At the time of filing, the plaintiff must pay a filing fee of $50.00 (in Snohomish County). The plaintiff is then given a mediation date and a copy of the claim form to be served upon the defendant. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff to accurately identify the defendant (either as an individual, a corporation, or as an individual or a corporation doing business under another name), provide a proper address (for the defendant) and, if possible, provide the defendant’s telephone number.


The defendant may file a counterclaim against the plaintiff for any money he believes the plaintiff owes him, but this must be done immediately upon receipt of the claim of the plaintiff. The filing fee for a counterclaim is $50.00.