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How A Process Service Works

Process service is the act of presenting court summons and other legal paperwork to someone who is involved in a legal proceeding. This is a very important step in the legal process, allowing all parties an equal opportunity to present their side of the story in court. Because it is so important, process service is governed by numerous laws and procedural guidelines. The exact process may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you feel that your rights have been infringed, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. In general, however, here is what you can expect.

This is the beginnings of what will become a lawsuit. The injured party will file a formal written complaint against the person in question. Your attorney can help you draft your complaint in the proper format and language, including all of the relevant elements. This initial complaint will form the framework of the case, so it is very important that no relevant details are omitted.

Service of Process
Anytime a complaint is brought against someone, that person has a legal right to defend himself. Therefore, the process service is a very important legal step. The process server delivers documentation to the defendant that informs him or her of the impending court case and summons him to appear. Service of process must be satisfactorily completed before the case can proceed.

In some jurisdictions, process may be served by any legal adult who is not a party to the proceedings. However, many locations impose additional regulations on those who wish to serve process. Even if your location allows process to be served by any disinterested third party, this is not always the wisest decision. This is because many defendants are reluctant to accept process.

If the defendant is reluctant, the process server may need to institute certain tactics in order for process to be served. At no time is the process server permitted to break the law, however. The laws concerning process serving are often complex, and failure to serve properly can result in the case being thrown out. In some cases, it can even lead to legal action against the process server. Therefore, it is often best for a professional process server to be used, as he or she is deeply familiar with the relevant laws and professional procedures.

After process is served, the defendant has a specific period of time to file an answer. The exact length of time depends on your jurisdiction. The answer is the defendant's legal response to the complaint. It will address the specifics of the complaint and contain the defenses that will be mounted. As the complaint frames the plaintiff's lawsuit, the answer frame's the defendant's case. If the defendant intends to countersue, the answer will contain the details of the countersuit.

Next Steps
At this point, the lawsuit will proceed according to a prescribed set of steps. It is highly recommended that you retain a qualified attorney to guide you through the process. There will be papers to be filed, settlement agreements to be considered and other tasks to be handled. Eventually you may end up in a courtroom, and having your attorney by your side will be a great help.

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