Jason Stephens | November 2, 2020 | Personal Injury
If another party caused your injury, you might consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. People file personal injury lawsuits for numerous claims, such as car accidents, defective products, boating injuries, dog bites, wrongful death, slip and fall accidents, and countless other injuries caused by another party’s negligent acts.
A personal injury lawsuit begins with the filing of a complaint. The complaint is a legal document filed with the court that outlines your allegations of fault and liability. The complaint must be served on the parties named in the lawsuit.
A process server is often used to serve complaints and other legal documents to parties in a personal injury lawsuit.
What is a Process Server?
There are many rules and requirements for serving legal papers on a party. A process server is someone who understands these rules and requirements and how to deliver legal documents according to the law.
Process servers deliver a variety of documents in a legal action. They may serve documents on witnesses, defendants, plaintiffs, and other parties to the action. Examples of legal documents that a process server might deliver to a party include, but are not limited to:
- Court Order
How Does a Process Server Deliver Legal Documents to a Party?
Process servers can take many actions to serve papers. In most cases, the process server knocks on the person’s door, confirms the person’s identity, and hands the person the document. After serving the document, the process server completes an affidavit of service (return of citation) to file with the court.
The process server can also serve the papers to you at your place of employment or to someone who is authorized to accept legal documents for you. There are no time restrictions on when a process server can attempt service, but the service of legal documents is not permitted on Sundays.
Many people believe that if they do not “touch” the papers, they have not been legally served. However, once the process server establishes your identity, he can drop the papers at your fee and tell you that you have been served. If you are in your vehicle, the process server can place the papers on your windshield if you refuse to get out of the vehicle.
Avoiding a process server does not mean that you cannot be sued for a personal injury claim. The victim can petition the court to serve the defendant through publication or alternate methods. Avoiding service is only delaying what will eventually happen.
Are There Things That Process Servers Cannot Do?
Yes, there are limits to what a process server may do to serve legal documents on a person. Some of the things that a process server is not allowed to do while serving documents include:
- Breaking and entering a home or business to serve papers
- Forcing or threatening a person to open the door or exit a vehicle
- Pretend to be a law enforcement officer or an officer of the court
- A process server cannot trespass on property to serve papers
Process servers must abide by all rules and laws regarding the service of legal documents. Violating these laws could cause a problem with the case. If service were not legally made, a judge could dismiss the personal injury lawsuit.
If a process server breaks the laws while attempting to serve papers, the process server could face criminal charges and penalties related to the crime.
Who Arranges for the Service of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When you hire a personal injury attorney to handle your injury claim, your lawyer takes care of preparing and filing the lawsuit with the court. Your lawyer also arranges to have the complaint served on all defendants named in the lawsuit. The attorney may choose to use a certified process server to deliver the documents, or he might choose to pay a sheriff’s officer to deliver the documents.
The method of service depends on the document being served and the parties involved. For example, if the attorney anticipates that the person might refuse to open the door for a process server, he might choose to use a sheriff’s officer to serve the complaint.
You do not need to worry about process service regarding your personal injury lawsuit. That is part of the service provided to you by your personal injury lawyer. His job is to take all reasonable measures to ensure that documents are served according to state law to avoid problems with your case.