Want to sue Aetna in small claims court?

Your Guide to Sue Aetna in Small Claims Court

Your Aetna Contract probably says you can’t sue Aetna in any court except Small Claims Court, thanks to an arbitration clause. It can be complicated and time consuming, but if you follow the steps and sue Aetna in small claims court it usually gets you what you want.

1

Can you sue Aetna in small claims court? Does your case qualify?

Ready to sue Aetna in small claims court? Well, you have to make sure your case qualifies. Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims, and there are two things you need to pay attention to:

  1. The amount of money: Every small claims court sets a maximum dollar size for your claim. For most states that amount if $5,000 or $10,000 but if you have an issue with your policy that goes beyond your state limit, it won’t qualify. You can find a list of all 50 states’ monetary limits here.
  2. The type of relief: There are two types of awards that you can seek in a lawsuit under normal conditions – monetary (a dollar value payment) and equitable (any non-monetary request). Most small claims courts can only grant monetary awards so any equitable claim has to be converted into a monetary amount.

If your claim doesn’t fall within the limits of your state’s small claims court, you’ll have to arbitrate your claim instead.

2

Send Aetna a demand letter.

Most small claims courts require that you ask the person you’re suing (the “defendant”) to fix your problem voluntarily before you file any paperwork to sue Aetna in small claims court.
So, you need to send them a demand letter first.

This doesn’t have to be any big, long letter, just a simple and straightforward letter where you tell Aetna who you are (your name, address, phone number and account number), what the problem is, and what you want from them.

When you’re done writing, you need to mail a hard copy of the letter to the legal address for Aetna, preferably as certified mail or some other service that allows you to confirm delivery:

Aetna Health Inc.
The Corporation Trust Company
Corporation Trust Center 1209 Orange St.
Wilmington, DE 19801

If you would like examples of demand letters or more information about how to write them, you can find an excellent guide here.

The hope is that Aetna receives the letter and responds. But if they don’t…

3

…Fill out court forms.

If Aetna did not respond to the letter, you move on and sue Aetna in small claims court.

This starts with court forms. The paperwork required of you is contingent upon your state (and possibly your county).

The correct forms for your location will be available for free on your state court’s website.

Make sure you fill out enough forms as you usually need 3 or 4 copies of everything, otherwise they won’t let you sue Aetna.

4

File your complaint form with the court.

When you’re done filling out the court forms, you have to give those forms to the court. This process is called “filing”, and like most steps involved, it can be a bit tricky.

Most small claims courts will require you to physically come to the courthouse during specific hours and days to hand-deliver the forms to the court’s clerk to sue Aetna in small claims court. Other courts may allow you to file by mail, fax or (for a few courts) online.

All courts will require you to pay a filing fee before you can sue Aetna. The amount should be posted on your court website.

When you file your forms, the court clerk will hand you back a stamped copy of the forms and a court date. Keep all of that handy.

5

“Serve” Aetna.

This is a long and hard process, and now you have to officially “serve” Aetna, informing them that they are being sued.
The steps for this vary from one court to another and it is important that you follow all of them or you won’t be able to sue Aetna in small claims court.
Look at your court’s website for instructions on how to properly deliver your forms to Aetna, or search for “[your state] small claims service of process”.
6

Show up for court.

The court date given to you by the clerk is your hearing. That is why you show up for court and convince the judge that you were in the right when you decided to sue Aetna in small claims court.
Go to the right courthouse with your copy of your filed forms, and any other evidence that backs up your case against Aetna.

Sometimes, Aetna will not show up to oppose you, and in any case, you want to take advantage of the situation to focus on your side of the story.

Ready to sue Aetna in small claims court?
If this sounds too hard and expensive, try consumer arbitration instead…

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