Self-help law center
Small claims court is a special type of civil court where disputes may be resolved more quickly and inexpensively than in other court proceedings. Small claims court is limited to claims of $10,000 or less. However, third-party complaints, personal injury claims, and actions based in tort are limited to claims of $5,000 or less. Claims exceeding the maximum amount allowed must be filed in civil court. Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 799 (external link) governs small claims actions.
The forms assistant guides you through the process of filing a small claims case in Wisconsin. You will be asked a series of questions in an interview, and your answers will automatically be entered on the appropriate form according to the feedback you provide.
Types of small claims cases
The three most common types of small claims cases are:
- Claim for money: civil actions where the amount claimed is $10,000 or less, if the actions or proceedings are:
- For money judgments only
- For garnishment of wages
- Tort / personal injury action: where the amount claimed is $5,000 or less
- Eviction action: Actions for eviction regardless of the amount of rent claimed
- Non-consumer credit actions for replevin (return of personal property) if the property claimed does not exceed $10,000
- Consumer credit transactions (for return of personal property that was the subject of a lease or credit from a dealer) when the amount financed is $25,000 or less
Three less common types of small claims cases are:
- Return of earnest money for purchase of real property
- Action on an arbitration award for the purchase of real property
- Eviction action due to foreclosure
Procedures & forms
- Eviction: A case to remove tenants from rental property and claim the money owed in rent and damages, regardless of the amount claimed.
- Recovery of money ($10,000 or less): A case involving issues such as breach of contract, property damage, or money owed, when the amount claimed is $10,000 or less.
- Replevin (recovery of property): A case involving the return of personal property to an individual when either the property is valued at less than $10,000 or the credit or lease for the property is in the amount of $25,000 or less.
- Filing an answer to a small claims complaint
- Service of documents in a small claims case
- Docket a small claims judgment for collection
- Garnish earnings
- Execute against property
- Collect on a judgment for money
- Collect on a judgment for replevin (recovery of property)
- Interest rate on civil judgments
The Wisconsin State Law Library website provides access to additional resources on small claims actions (external link).
For additional information visit the State Bar of Wisconsin website (external link).