You’ve probably seen in television shows or movies where someone gets handed a folder of documents and the person says, “You’ve been served.” But what you may not know is that this is an important legal process that is very real. When someone decides to file a case in the courts, they have to serve the other party. A process server is a neutral person who is not a party to the case and who gives legal documents to one party.

If you’re not sure if you need to serve someone or don’t know how to make sure it happens, that’s okay. An attorney can let you know how the serving process is handled as well as other things, like what happens if the person refuses service.

What Is a Process Server Responsible For?

A process server’s main responsibility is to make sure that the correct party receives the legal documents that are part of the service. In general, this means handing the documents directly to the party. A process server is responsible for transporting the service documents to the party’s home, job, or other serving location. They also need to be able to correctly identify the person who is to be served. A process server also has to file a receipt of service with the courts to show that the appropriate party was served at the time and date.

Are There Limits on What a Process Server Can Do?

Yes, there are specific rules and guidelines for acting as a process server. Many people don’t want to get served, so they try to avoid service. This can lead process servers to get creative, but they still have to operate within certain parameters. For example, a process server can’t lie about who they are or pretend to be someone else to serve someone. They also are not allowed to commit any crimes, such as trespassing on private property, to serve someone.

What Should I Do If I’m Served?

If you have been served, it’s important to immediately review the paperwork. There are often time-sensitive documents inside or instructions that say you have to file a response with the courts within a certain time period. As soon as you know you have been served, you should talk with an attorney. They can review the papers with you, help you understand what they mean, and educate you on your options for responding.

It’s normal to be a little nervous or confused about being served, but it’s important to understand that it is a required legal process. Being served is just the start of a case, so you have time to talk to an attorney and get legal representation. Call or contact us to find out what legal services our firm can help with or to schedule a consultation.