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Commercial Insurance Claims

A commercial claim arises from an unmet obligation to pay for goods that were sold or leased, services that were rendered, or money that was loaned to be used in conducting a business. Small commercial claims generally involving fairly small sums of money (for example up to $5,000 in the state of New York) can be conducted without a lawyer in the Commercial Claims Court. Although you may choose to hire a lawyer, the court is quite informal and generally provides a clerk who can help you with the required procedures.

A public or private corporation, a partnership or association can make a commercial claim. If you are the party who is suing in a commercial court, you are called the plaintiff, or claimant. The party being sued is called the defendant.

As the plaintiff, prepare a brief written statement of the facts of your claim. Check your documents to make sure that the dates and names are accurate. If you are suing on a contract or for property damage, you may claim interest as well as money damages. You must sue in a Commercial Claims Court that is in an area where the defendant lives, works or has a place of business.

If you are making a commercial claim without a lawyer, the cost includes only a filing fee plus the cost of mailing a notice of the claim to the defendant or defendants. After filing the claim, the clerk will let you know when the case will be tried, and will mail the notice of claim to the defendant. This notice lets the defendant know when the case will be tried and how much money you are claiming. If for some reason the defendant does not receive the notice, the commercial claims case can not go to trial.

The trial is a simple, informal hearing before a judge or arbitrator. Bring to court all the evidence you have to help prove the facts in the dispute. You can include photographs, written agreements, an itemized bill or invoice, written estimates of the cost of the service or repairs, receipts, canceled checks, and correspondence. Any witness whose testimony is important to your case may come to the hearing to testify.