It is extremely important that you bring with you to trial all witnesses and papers necessary to prove your claim or defense. If you fail to do this, the case may be decided against you. Strict rules of evidence do not apply in trials of small claims actions. Irrelevant or unduly repetitious evidence will be excluded. A court may receive the type of evidence commonly relied upon by reasonable prudent persons in the conduct of their serious business affairs. The judge may allow hearsay that is probative, trustworthy and credible. Hearsay is testimony about what someone else said. If at all possible, witnesses should testify about their first hand knowledge. However, if possible, a party should have witnesses to testify rather than rely on hearsay. Claims bases largely on hearsay will generally be disallowed. Evidence should be offered through the statements of live witnesses at trial, except that written statements such as repair bides, appraisals, repair bills and medical bills may be used instead of live testimony to establish the amount of a claim. If you intend to rely on such written statements, you should bring them with you. Be sure that the statements are itemized, signed and submitted on the preparer's original letterhead. If your case involves a damaged item, you should give the other party a chance to inspect the damage prior to trial.
If you need the testimony of a witness who will not attend trial voluntarily, you should ask the court or your attorney to issue a Subpoena requiring that person to attend. It is your responsibility to have the Subpoena swerved and to pay the witness and service fee. A Subpoena must be served at least 5 calendar days before trial. You may have a witness appear voluntarily without a Subpoena, but the judge will not continue trial if the witness fails to appear.