Looking to sue USAA? Small claims court is an option, and you may have others…
Are you ready to take USAA to small claims court? Small claims courts are restricted to particular sorts of issues, so start by making sure yours qualifies. There are two things you should keep an eye on:
Small claims courts generally demand that you first attempt to resolve your issue with the person you’re suing (the “defendant”) on your own before filing a claim. So, if you want to sue USAA in small claims court, you must first send them a demand letter.
You can write your letter in a few lines. Tell USAA who you are (your name, address, phone number, and account number), what the problem is, and what you want them to do about it. The entire letter might be only a few sentences long; remember that you’re simply checking a box before submitting your real 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.
Check your contract agreement with USAA for the proper address at which to send them legal notices. (It may differ depending on what product you have with them!)
If you would like examples of demand letters or more information about how to write them, you can find an excellent guide here.
In order to sue USAA 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 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, they will not accept your claim.
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 USAA in small claims. This fee, which will be published on your court’s website, can sometimes be waved if you are low income based on certain requirements.
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.
If you’ve made it this far – good work! Suing USAA in small claims can be a long and tough process.
Once you’ve filed the documents necessary to bring your lawsuit against USAA, you must notify them of the suit. This is known as “serving” USAA. You must deliver a copy of your filed papers to USAA in order to do this.
Look at your court’s website for instructions on how to properly deliver your forms to USAA, 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!
When the court clerk gives you a court date (after you file your forms), make sure to put it on your calendar.
Make sure you know which courthouse to go to. Bring your copy of your filed forms, and any other evidence that backs up your case against USAA.
Sometimes, USAA will not show up to oppose you. If that happens, take advantage of the situation to focus on your side of the story.
Not looking to go to small claims court?
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