Understanding Service of Process
There’s a lot to think about when you’re injured in an accident. First, you need medical attention. If possible, you should also gather information about the accident, including the parties involved and the details of what happened. Even these initial steps can be overwhelming, which is why you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will explain the next steps. One of the first things you’ll need to do is serve your complaint on the responsible party (the defendant). This is called service of process. You’re probably familiar with this term if you’ve ever seen a television show or movie involving a lawsuit.
What Is Service of Process?
Service of process is the procedure used to properly notify the defendant that you’re filing a lawsuit. Florida has specific rules that must be followed when serving process. For example:
- The process server must be at least 18 years old, a Florida resident, and have no legal disability. Process server applicants must also undergo a criminal background check.
- The process server will deliver a copy of the complaint at the defendant’s “usual place of abode.” It can be left with anyone living in the home who is at least 15 years old.
- Employers must permit authorized individuals to serve process in a designated workplace area. But the server must first contact the employer.
- In some cases the individual can serve process on a substitute person. For example, process can potentially be served on a spouse or on the person in charge of the defendant’s business (if the defendant does business as a sole proprietorship).
- Process can also be served on witnesses whose testimony is needed at trial.
- If process is being served against a minor, it must be served on the minor’s parent or legal guardian. If the minor is at least 15 years old and married, then process can be served the same way as on an adult.
- Process may also be served on incompetents, state prisoners, partnerships and limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations, among other individuals and entities.
Also make sure that the complaint meets Florida’s pleading requirements. In other words, the complaint must include certain information so that the defendant understands the nature of the plaintiff’s claims. The whole point of service of process is so that the defendant knows exactly why he or she is being sued. An experienced attorney can ensure that you meet these and other requirements. Complaints that don’t comply with Florida law may be dismissed.
Contact Us Today
Contact a Miami personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you injured by someone’s negligent behavior. We will help you file a personal injury lawsuit, including properly notifying the defendant of your claims.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.