Serving the Notice
It is the responsibility of the plaintiff to see that the claim form is served upon the defendant no less than 10 days prior to the court date. The plaintiff may also have additional fees payable to a process server to have the Notice of Small Claim served on the defendant. If the plaintiff wins the case, the plaintiff is entitled to recover the costs of filing and service fees.
Service of the claim can be accomplished by any of the following methods:
- A professional process server (see telephone book Yellow Pages)
- Any person of legal age (18) who is not connected with the case, either as a witness or as a party
- By mailing copies of the Notice of Small Claim to the defendant by registered or certified mail with a return receipt requested
The plaintiff cannot personally serve the copies of the Notice of Small Claim.
Proof of Service
Proof of service must be filed with the court. If service was by mail, the postal receipt bearing the defendant's signature must be filed with the court. For all other service, an affidavit of service must be signed by the server and filed with the court. The court can provide an Affidavit of Service form (PDF).
What if Case is Settled
It is recommended that either the plaintiff or the defendant contact the other party prior to the trial to try to settle their differences. Volunteers of America in Everett offers voluntary dispute resolution services provided by trained mediators who assist in the settlement of a wide variety of disputes. These services are provide at no cost or on a sliding scale.
If the claim is settled prior to the trial date, the court must be notified in writing so the case may be dismissed.