The terms of service contract you signed with American Airlines probably contains language that prevents you from filing or joining a class action lawsuit. However, you have the right to sue American Airlines in small claims court. Here’s is what you need to know before filing your claim.
Are you ready to sue American Airlines in small claims court? Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims, so your first step is to make sure your claim can be filed. There are two things you need to pay attention to:
If your claim doesn’t fall within the limits of your state’s small claims court, you’ll have to arbitrate your claim instead.
Your demand letter can be simple and straightforward. Explain who you are (your name, address, phone number and account number), what the problem is, and what you want from them. The whole letter can be a few sentences; remember that you are just checking a box before you file your actual claim.
When you’re done writing, you need to mail a hard copy of the letter, preferably as certified mail or some other service that allows you to confirm delivery, to their legal address. American Airlines is legally based in Delaware and receives mail at this address :
AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP 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, refer to this excellent guide.
Each state has a set of forms that need to be filled out to file a claim, and sometimes counties will provide additional forms. The correct forms for your location will be available for free on your state court’s website.
Make sure you fill out enough forms. Most states that require you to file forms by mail or in-person will ask for 3 or 4 copies. If you don’t have the right number of copies, they will not accept your claim.
When you’re done filling out the forms, it’s time to give those forms to the court. This process, which is called “filing,” can be a bit complex.
All courts will require you to pay a filing fee before they allow you to sue American Airlines in small claims court. This fee, which will be published on your court’s website, can sometimes be waved if you are a low income plaintiff.
When you file your forms, the court clerk will provide you with a stamped copy of the forms and a court date. Keep it secure, and bring it with you on the day of the hearing.
Now that you’ve filed the papers required to start your case against American Airlines, you need to tell American Airlines that you have sued the company. This is a called “serving” American Airlines. To do this, you need to deliver a copy of your filed papers to American Airlines.
Look at your court’s website for instructions on how to deliver your forms properly to American Airlines, or search for “[your state] small claims service of process”. Courts have many strange rules about how to serve a defendant, and your claim will be dropped if you do not follow them perfectly.
Make sure you know which courthouse the hearing is to take place. Bring a copy of your filed forms, and any other evidence that backs up your case against American Airlines.
Sometimes, American Airlines will not show up to oppose you. If that happens, take advantage of the situation to focus on your side of the story.
Ready to sue American Airlines in small claims court?
If this sounds too hard and expensive, try consumer arbitration instead…
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