A personal injury case formally begins when the plaintiff files a complaint against the defendant. The complaint is a legal document that states the identities of the parties involved, the legal claims, and the facts related to the said claims. The complaint also explains the relief or compensation the plaintiff is seeking.
Once this is filed, all the parties involved in the case have to be notified formally, and this is where process service comes in. The process service must be executed properly to ensure that the personal injury case moves forward.
The Process Service in a Personal Injury Case
Timeliness is crucial in process serving. If the recipient is not served within the deadline, the court will have no jurisdiction over the individual in question. In the State of New York, for instance, summons with notice or summons and complaint must be served within 120 days of filing with the County Clerk.
Service of Process for Different Defendants
The proper process service varies depending on the individual or institution involved in the personal injury case.
- Individual – If you seek to serve an individual, the highest form of service is personal delivery, where the papers are served in person. Depending on the situation, the papers can be served through other forms, like substituted service.
- Corporation – To serve a corporation, the papers should be served to an officer, director, general agent, or other agents authorized by appointment or by law to receive service.
Serving Patients in Medical Institutions
The process service also differs if the defendant is a hospital patient. While it is not against the law to serve papers to a patient, state legislations enforce rules that the process server must abide by. If the person in question is in Michigan, for instance, the service must be done by an individual in charge of the medical institution that houses the recipient.
In personal injury cases where the defendant is incapacitated or disabled, you might have to serve the patient’s guardian, conservator, or attorney. It’s a case-to-case basis, and plaintiffs benefit from professional process servers to ensure that they are not committing any violations.
Serving a Subpoena For Video Evidence
Businesses typically have surveillance cameras in and around their premises for security reasons. Similarly, some homes have “nanny cams” and doorbell cameras.
If the incident that resulted in an injury was caught on any of these cameras, the images or video may be used as evidence to support a claim. In some cases, the owners of the cameras willingly provide the footage to the victim. However, if they are uncooperative, you may file a Subpoena Duces Tecum with the Clerk of Court to legally compel them to do so.
The subpoena must be served to the owner of the footage by a person aged 18 or older who is not involved in the case. Many New York lawyers and their clients choose to hire a professional process server to ensure that the subpoena is served correctly and in compliance with state laws. Afterward, the process server will complete and file an Affidavit of Service.
Affidavit of Service
The process doesn’t end in handing the papers to the other party; after the service, the person who served the papers must fill out an affidavit of service, which is sworn to and signed in front of a notary. This document contains minute details about the service, even a description of the person served, including the sex, skin color, hair color, and estimated age and weight.
Your case could lose its footing in court if there was an error in the process serving. In some cases, the defendant uses a misstep in the service to have the lawsuit dismissed.
Work with Serve Index LLC
If you need to serve papers in a personal injury case, trust the expertise of Serve Index LLC. Guided by years of experience, we understand the legal nuances in a personal injury case and know the appropriate ways to reach different kinds of recipients—even those actively evading service. We serve documents for lawsuits involving car accidents, bicycle accidents, dog bites, workplace accidents, and more.
Our servers see to it that the process service goes as it should, so your case will move forward. Get in touch with our team for a free quote.