Do You Really Need to Hire a Process Server to Deliver Legal Papers?
When you file a lawsuit against someone (or a business), you're required to serve them the court summons detailing why they're being sued and where to appear for trial. You may think you can save money and have a friend or family member deliver the papers for you, but here are two reasons why you should hire a process server instead.
State Law May Require It
At a minimum, the court requires legal paperwork between plaintiffs and defendants to be sent by a third party unconnected to the case. Likely, this is to prevent impartiality problems from arising, such as a plaintiff lying about delivering the paperwork to obtain a default judgment when the defendant fails to show up for court.
However, some states take things a step further and mandate summons and similar legal documents are delivered by licensed process servers. Thus, whether you have to hire one will be dictated by the laws not only in your state but also in the state where the defendant lives. So, even if your state says anyone who's not a party to the lawsuit can deliver the papers, if the defendant lives in a state that requires a process server, you must retain one.
This may only apply to certain documents, though, so it's best to research the laws in both your, and the defendant's, jurisdictions to determine what is required for the type of paperwork you want to send.
Keep Everyone Safe
While you may be trying to save money by looking at alternative ways to get legal documents to the defendant in your case, it's important to consider the safety of the individual who actually has to face down your adversary. No one likes to be sued, and a normally mild person may become aggressive when served a lawsuit.
Process servers have the experience necessary to deal with these types of situations. Additionally, they also have resources they can tap to assist them in cases where they may feel unsafe. For instance, they can have a security guard or police officer accompany them if they think the person may turn violent.
It's not worth putting a friend or family member in a situation where they could get hurt just to save a few dollars. It's better to hire a professional who knows how to deescalate tense situations before they boil over and deliver your papers to the right party.
If you need extra help with handling legal documents, work with local process services.