Why is Service of Process Important

Why Process Servers are Important

Hiring a process server is an important step in ensuring a legal matter is heard by the court. Process servers provide defendants with notice of a pending lawsuit asserted against him/her. Process servers are important because they help uphold due process of law. Read on to learn more about the importance of process servers and how Direct Legal Support Services can help you achieve service of process. 

What is Due Process?

The U.S. Constitution requires that no person is deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law. In accordance with due process, the process server performs an important function of protecting the defendant's rights by providing him/her with notice of a lawsuit/legal proceeding filed against him/her. Initially, a county’s sheriff served legal papers on defendants. As cities populations grew, process servers were used to alleviate the demand of ensuring documents were served in a timely manner.

Proper service of process officially establishes jurisdiction over the defendant. Once a party is properly served, he/she must appear in court. If the defendant is properly served, and is aware that he/she is required to come to court, but fails to do so, the plaintiff can request a default judgment against the defendant.

What Duties Does a Process Server Perform?

A process server is required to deliver a variety of legal documents to a party of a lawsuit. This includes writs, subpoenas to produce documents and/or testify in court, formal complaints, and a summons to appear in court. A process server can help you track down a defendant to provide service of process.  Because California law requires neutral third parties over 18-years-old to serve court documents, litigants often hire process servers.

Once a complaint is filed, the plaintiff is required to personally serve it on the defendant. There are limited circumstances in which substituted service of process may be allowed including service by publication. Contact Direct Legal Support for more information on how to serve a defendant in California.

Service of Process vs. Service of Subsequent Documents

Service of process must be distinguished from service of subsequent documents. Service of process deals with providing a party with notice that a legal proceeding or lawsuit has been filed against him/her. The service of subsequent documents, such as motion papers or discovery between parties, occurs during the proceeding. Depending on the type of request being filed, for example a subpoena of business records, a process server may be required to personally serve the documents on the defendant.  Review your local court rules to learn more about party notice requirements.

Should You Hire a Process Server?

Yes. Hiring a registered process server can help ensure your legal documents are delivered to the opposing party. A registered process server knows and understands the complex laws of process-serving. Teaming up with a competent process server can help you save time and money by avoiding common service of process pitfalls. A process server can help you track down a “hard to find” individual, or a person who attempts to avoid service all together.

Once a complaint is filed with the court, the plaintiff will have a specified period of time to serve the court summons and complaint on the defendant. If the plaintiff is unable to serve the defendant within that time-frame, the plaintiff will have to refile his/her complaint and start the service of process all over again. A complaint will not proceed unless proof is provided to the court that the defendant has received proper notice. This prompts the plaintiff into quickly serving the defendant. Hiring a registered process server can help ensure the defendant receives the court summons and complaint in a timely manner.

In addition to the initial personal service requirement, subsequent legal documents filed on each party must be responded to within a specified period of time. A process server is often used to ensure subsequent legal documents are served in a timely manner. Contact Direct Legal Support for more information about hiring a process server.

How Much Does a Process Server Costs?

The price of a process server differs throughout California. The costs of serving legal documents in California ranges between $40 - $100. The total costs will depend on how many attempts the process server is required to make to serve the defendant and the distance he/she has to travel to do so. Out-of-state process server costs are higher. In addition, same day or rush services are billed at a higher rate. The national average of serving legal papers ranges between $45 - $75. When hiring a process server, you should ask how much it will costs, how long it will take to serve the documents, and the number of attempts the server will make.

Contact Direct Legal Support Services

Contact Direct Legal Support Services to find out more information about how to hire a registered process server. Our servers have several years of experience providing service of process to parties throughout California. At Direct Legal, we serve process all different times of day seven days a week. Our dedicated process servers will make several attempts if needed to ensure service is achieved. This includes visiting the defendant’s home, place of employment, or local hangout to ensure he/she is served. We will do this in a professional and timely manner.

Process servers are not allowed to use any means necessary to achieve service. At Direct Legal, we operate within the law to ensure service is rendered legally. If you retain our service, you can be assured your documents will be served correctly.

Remember, a plaintiff is not allowed to perform service of process. The plaintiff must utilize a neutral third party who is over 18-years-old to perform service. In limited circumstances (depending on the type of claim filed and the county the case will be heard in), the summons and complaint can be sent by certified mail to the defendant’s known address. Please contact us if you need legal documents served in California or if you have any questions regarding our service.