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Planning to file a claim? Learn these terms first

Plaintiff – The party initiating the legal action in court and looking for redress or more commonly money. Also referred to as the Complainant. This is the person or company doing the accusing.

Someone looking for redress or feels their rights have been violated is referred to a petitioner.

They will start the process by filing or having their legal representative file a court claim and having it served on the other side.

Defendant -The party against which the legal action has been initiated. They have to defend themselves. The term applies to private individuals or companies or institutions, there is no difference. In a criminal case this person would also be referred to as the accused.

A claim can be against one defendant or multiple defendants. Each one would have to file a defence if they want to avoid having a judgment entered against them.

Claim – After paying the court a fee this is the document prepared by the plaintiff that is filed with the court, laying out his or her case against the defendant.

The bare minimum necessary in a claim is :

Name address and Telephone contact for defendant

Exact amount you are seeking.

If it is a business to business claim, describe who the plaintiff is and what it does and do the same for the defendant.

For example: The plaintiff is a transport and shipping company registered in Ontario. The defendant is a manufacturer of furniture registered in Ontario.

Next describe in detail the facts that gave rise to the damages unpaid bill you are seeking payment for.

Attach whatever evidence you have to substantiate what you have stated and the amount you are claiming. If there is a provision for interest in your agreement you can ask for that too.

Defense – This of course is what the other side, the defendant will have to write up as a response to the claim and file with the court as well as serve a copy on the other side.

If the claim is unjustified state why this is so, and attach whatever documentation and evidence you have to substantiate your position. If you feel the claim is partially justified you have the option of proposing a payment for part of the claim and asking for the rest of it to be dismissed.