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Want to sue Lyft in small claims court?

Your Guide to Sue Lyft in Small Claims Court

Your Lyft contract probably says you can’t sue Lyft in any court except Small Claims Court, thanks to an arbitration clause. It can be complicated and time consuming, but you have another legal option to hold Lyft accountable.

1

Does your claim qualify for small claims court?

Ready to sue Lyft in small claims court? First, you have to make sure your claim qualifies. Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims and yours will only qualify based on the type of claim and amount of money you want. 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 the claim you can bring. This means there is a limit to how much money you can ask for when you sue Lyft. In most states it’s either $5000 or $10,000, but it can be as low as $2,500 (in Kentucky and Rhode Island). 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 usually seek in a lawsuit – monetary (a dollar value payment) and equitable (any non-monetary request). However, most small claims courts can only grant monetary awards which means you can only get compensation for a dollar amount. So, if you are suing Lyft for damages to property, they will only be able to give you the monetary value of that damaged property.

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 Lyft a demand letter.

Before you can sue Lyft, you have to ask them politely to fix the problem. Most small claims courts require that you ask the person you’re suing (the “defendant”) to fix your problem voluntarily before you file your claim. So if you want to sue Lyft in small claims court, you need to send them a demand letter first.

Your demand letter can be simple and straightforward, just a few sentences telling Lyft 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, preferably as certified mail or some other service that allows you to confirm delivery, to their legal address. Lyft is legally based in Delaware and receives mail at this address :

LYFT, 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.

3

Fill out court forms.

In order to sue Lyft in small claims court, you’re going to need to fill out some paper work.

Each state has a set of forms that need to be filled out to file a claim, and sometimes the county in which you live also has forms to include. You can find these for free on the state court website.

Make sure you fill out enough forms too, most states require 3 or 4, because without enough copies, you can’t submit your claim.

4

“File” the complaint with the court.

When you’re done filling out the court forms, it’s time to give those forms to the court. This process, called “filing” can be a bit tricky.

Many 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. 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 they allow your to sue Lyft in small claims. 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 safe and bring it with you on the day of your hearing.

5

“Serve” your forms to Lyft.

When suing Lyft, you need to officially inform them they are being sued. This is called “serving” them. You have to deliver their copy (yes, that’s why you are required to have so many) of the forms you filled out earlier.

Look at your court’s website for instructions on how to properly deliver your forms to Lyft, 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. So be careful!

6

Attend the court hearing.

When the court clerk gives you a court date (after you file your forms), make sure to put it on your calendar because that is the date of your hearing.

Make sure you know which courthouse to go to and show up on time. Bring your copy of your filed forms, and any other evidence that backs up your case against Lyft.

Sometimes, Lyft will not show up to oppose you, meaning they won’t send anyone else. If that happens, take advantage of the situation to focus on your side of what they did and what you want them to do to fix it.

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

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