Yes Virginia, You Do need to Prove your Damages

Our firm recently dealt with a Small Claims Court matter where our client was sued for alleged damages, which the amount sought was an amount that was not supported by the other party’s evidence.

Over time, the claim was amended, the amount increased, but was still not supported by the party’s evidence.

The lawyer representing other party wanted to settle the matter, which our client was open to, but the other party wanted to settle for an amount that was higher than what was claimed and expected to do so without providing supporting documentation to substantiate the amount.

The lawyer went as far to say that they did not want to deal with a large paper trail just to end up settling the matter.  The lawyer had to be reminded that if they continued with the litigation, they would be obligated to substantiate the amount of their claim with evidence in Court, and not based upon what their client says their damages are.  Settlements should be no different.

It is never a good idea to take the word of an opposing party who claims their damages are one amount, especially when their evidence supports another.  It is also a red flag when someone does not want to provide evidence to prove their damages, which technically, under the Rules of the Small Claims Court,  should have been provided when they started their lawsuit.

Whenever you start a lawsuit, make sure you can prove the amount you are claiming with real evidence, or you may not get the judgment you want, or a judgment at all, or even a settlement you can live with.

Murray Brown, Licensed Paralegal