Common Process Serving Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

A process server is responsible for delivering legal documents to a defendant involved in a court case. Hiring a reputable process server is therefore one of the best ways to get your case off to the best possible start.

However, process servers can make missteps and these errors can derail or delay your case. So, let us discover some of the most common process serving mistakes and discuss what you can do to avoid them in the first place.

Informing the Recipient About What Is Coming

Legal proceedings cannot begin until papers have been served in most cases. Consequently, it is not surprising that some people try to do everything in their power to avoid being served legal papers. This can include hiding for months at a time, or even wearing a disguise to conceal their identity. Moreover, if you let the opposing party know of your intention to initiate legal proceedings this could have an impact on your chances of successfully serving papers. Do you need help and support with serving legal documents? If so, researching the best process servers denver and other major cities have to offer can provide some useful insights.

In the past, process servers have made the mistake of letting the other party know about their role in your case before serving papers. Therefore, finding a process server that practices discretion is strongly advised. It is also important that you do not tell the intended recipient about your intentions before the papers are actually served. In the heat of the moment it can be tempting to tell the respondent that you have ‘won’ by getting an application or order without realising that service is equally as important as getting the papers in place. Orders and applications can be cast aside if service has not been completed properly. Above all not telling the respondent that they are able to be served can make the entire process quicker, easier, and more cost effective.

Delivering to the Wrong Person

Surprisingly, it is not uncommon for process servers to deliver papers to the wrong person. Of course, some names are naturally more popular than others, but this is still no excuse for failing to deliver your papers in a timely and correct manner. Inexperienced or unskilled process servers are much more likely to make this error than a process server that has been properly trained. The papers served, or summons papers, must inform the defendant that they are being sued, and contain details regarding the location of the court appearance, the jurisdiction of the court, a complaint of alleged wrongdoing, and the legal solutions desired.

Each summons also indicates the length of time a defendant has to respond, which is vital in every case. If the papers are not delivered and received properly, this can place the entire court case at risk due to fraud or lack of proper service. If the papers are incorrectly delivered, your case could be delayed as process of service is reattempted. In some cases, the defendant can even avoid the case entirely by proving undue process. When hiring a process server, you should therefore seek reassurance that your server will put in the necessary research to ensure that they have the right person.

Not Delivering Papers in Person

In the past, some process servers have delivered papers by placing them inside a mailbox, taping them onto a door, or sending them via certified mail. In some states, these methods of delivery are not legally enforceable without a court order. Correspondingly, the documents must be delivered in person and there should be proof that they were served to the correct person. Additionally, proper service relies heavily on timing. Furthermore, all papers must be served before their deadline.

If the defendant cannot be found for process of service, extra time must be utilized to locate the defendant, or an acceptable party must be found to take the papers on behalf of the defendant. Proof of service also needs to be filed before the deadline. In order to ensure the best possible outcome, the person being handed the documents should be personally served, meaning that they should get the documents served on them in person. The process server can use an image of the respondent to confirm their identity and can ask for confirmation that the respondent is who they are believed to be through production of photo identification.

Ultimately, if you are in need of a process server, it is fundamental that you take time to discuss your case in detail with an experienced professional so that you can make the best possible decisions about how to proceed. In effect, hiring a discreet and renowned process server can ensure that your case gets off to a positive start.

Understanding process serving can help you to get ahead in legal matters. To learn more check out these legal tips for freelancers.

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