Serving Someone Papers for Personal Injury Lawsuits: Finding Help
If you're involved in a personal injury case, it can be a stressful and confusing time. Not only are you coping with the personal aftermath of an injury or accident, but you're also now learning about the steps needed to exercise your legal rights, identifying potential protections and what it will take to be reimbursed for damages and suffering.
A commonly underappreciated aspect of personal injury lawsuits is the role of proper service of process. Process servers ensure that the other party correctly receives notice of your claim, so that your case can proceed without an avoidable delay.
Filing a claim and serving someone papers with notice of the forthcoming lawsuit is the first step needed in bringing a personal injury case before the court.
To prepare you for what’s ahead, let’s talk about the personal injury lawsuit process—including what counts as a personal injury and the steps of the case— how service of process fits in, and how to find a process server you can trust.
Overview of the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
Common Events that Lead to personal injury lawsuits
A number of common injuries can trigger a personal injury case:
- Car accidents
- Use of defective products
- Dog bites
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace falls or injuries
- Wrongful death
The key thing most events leading to personal injury lawsuits have in common is that they happened due to negligence on the part of someone else, whether that's an individual or a company. Negligence is failure to take proper care in doing something. For example, if you slip and fall on broken stairs that your landlord refused to repair, that could lead to a personal injury lawsuit.
There is also a category of events in which someone else is liable for your injury, even if they weren't negligent. Defective products are a good example; Under product liability doctrine, if you are harmed by such a product, you do not have to prove negligence to be successful. In cases like this, the law looks to protect consumers, who usually trust that what they buy won't harm them.
How a Personal Injury Lawsuit Works
After an inciting event occurs, you have a certain amount of time (referred to as the "statute of limitations") to initiateyour lawsuit. The clock starts ticking on the day of the injury, so time is of the essence.
Now you'll have to think about service of process, or "serving" the other party so that they are aware of your claim. Process servers, or neutral third parties, are hired to deliver the other party with adequate notification of your case.
The process server needs to adhere to certain rules that will vary by location regarding the proper way to deliver the documents. Once the documents are properly served, the process server will complete a form certifying that the court papers were received. This “proof of service” is an important document in your case. At your court date, the judge will want to see the signed proof of service to ensure adequate notice of the lawsuit was given.
This document receipt must happen before any other aspect of your case is allowed to go forward. You can probably see now why this is such a crucial step!
As we mentioned earlier when it's time to work with a process server, finding someone experienced and knowledgeable is paramount. You want to know that your process server offers transparent communication, is well-versed in local regulations, and more.
Serving Someone Papers: What to Look for When Using a Process Server
When you're ready to find a process server, here are some key things to look for:
- Local knowledge and expertise: State and local rules around service of process can vary, so you want someone who knows exactly what to do in your geographical area.
- Speed: The sooner the other party is served, the faster your lawsuit can progress.
- Confirmation every step of the way: This might look like getting a confirmation once your order is placed and then receiving progress updates of your service of process every step of the way.
- Proof of service: You'll need proof of service that can withstand any legal challenge from the opposing party. Ideally, you'll get GPS coordinates, photo evidence, and a signed affidavit from your process server. (It's pretty hard for the other person to say they didn't receive notice when you've got all that proof!)
- Quality assurance: At ABC Legal, we make use of technology that supplies mobile prompts for our process servers so the serve is always on track. We also have a live support team backing up our process servers at every step of the journey.
- Customer support: You can also expect live support ready to answer all your questions during standard business hours.
- Transparent, clear pricing: Fee structures can vary widely across companies and circumstances, so you want to be sure of what you're paying for ahead of time. Pricing can vary based on many factors, such as speed in attempting the serve, location of the serve and associated procedures, availability of process servers in the area, and number of serves ordered. A reputable provider, such as ABC Legal, will always provide pricing in advance.
- Testimonials: It's always important to review what previous customers are saying about process server companies or process servers! This will give you a good idea of what to expect when you choose a service of process provider.
This may seem like a lot to think about, but you're making an important choice. When done well, service of process expedites the handling of your case and makes your life easier.
We've got more than 50 years of experience, and our process servers follow local rules and regulations to provide efficient, effective service.
Learn how you can put your documents in the good hands of our expert process servers here.