How Much Can You Sue For in Small Claims Court in California?

Jay Rothman

April 10, 2023

Jay Rothman

If you’re considering filing a Small Claims Court in California, it’s important to understand how much money you can sue for. This is because the amount of damages you can claim varies from state to state.

In California, you can sue for up to $10,000. However, there are limits on how many claims you can file in a calendar year.


You can file a claim in small claims court if your dispute is worth less than a set limit. In California, you can sue for up to $7,500 if you are an individual and up to $5,000 if your business is a corporation or limited liability company.

Your case may be heard by a commissioner, a temporary judge, or a judge. A judge may decide your case at the time of the hearing or mail it to you later.

The judge is a member of the community who volunteers his or her time to hear and decide cases. You do not have to hire an attorney to represent you in small claims court, but you can ask one if you need assistance.

You may also have a friend or family member serve your small claims lawsuit, if they are an adult and can serve it on their own. However, you need to make sure they are not part of your legal team and do not have an interest in what you’re suing for.


Small claims court is a fast and affordable way to resolve disputes. However, it’s not the best solution for every dispute. Some may be better resolved through other methods, such as mediation.

Businesses can sue for up to $5,000 in small claims court. This limit applies to individuals as well.

Business disputes can include a wide range of issues, from failure to return security deposits to professional malpractice or personal injury. The amount of money a business can sue for depends on its size and the type of claim.

Typically, businesses are represented by the employee who knows most about the particular account in question. In some cases, a partner or director of a partnership can also represent a business.

If you want to sue a business in small claims court, be sure to use the correct legal name of the business and the correct address. Many businesses are registered with the California Secretary of State, which can help you find their official name and address.

Government agencies

You can sue a government agency if you think it owes you money. The rules for suing a government agency are strict and have time limits, called statutes of limitations.

You must first file a claim with the government agency you want to sue, then you can go to small claims court if the agency doesn’t pay. Be sure to look up the agency’s claim forms and rules online or by calling them before you sue.

As a general rule, you can sue for up to $10,000 if you are an individual, or $5,000 if you are suing on behalf of a business, like a corporation or LLC. However, no natural person (individual) or legal entity can sue for more than two lawsuits for more than $2,500 in any calendar year.

Once you’ve filed your lawsuit, it’s important to write down the correct legal name for the business you’re suing, and who the “registered agent for service of process” is for that company.

Other parties

Small claims court is an efficient and inexpensive way to resolve minor civil disputes. As such, the court is a vital component of the administration of justice and is the forum for resolving many of the most common civil disputes.

In general, anyone can sue in small claims court. However, there are some limitations on the amount of money you can sue for.

A single individual can file two cases per calendar year for as much as $10,000; partnerships, LLCs, and corporations can sue for up to $2,500 a case. Government agencies can only sue for up to $5,000 a case, but they may sue multiple times as needed to resolve their claim. If you’re preparing for your small claims court trial, there are several things to remember to ensure the best outcome possible.