How Can a Lawsuit Move Forward If a Process Server Cannot Find a Defendant?

Serving Court Documents

Original Post: 01/19/2016

When a plaintiff brings a lawsuit against a defendant, the law requires the defendant to be served a notice of the court action. This is done so that the defendant has enough time to prepare a defense, and is an important part of due process.

What Happens if Court Papers Cannot be Served?

Most states require that the defendant receive court documents in person, so that there can be no question that the defendant was given proper notice. However, for an unscrupulous individual who doesn’t want to face up to their responsibilities, they may go into hiding to avoid a process server. When this happens, there are a few different options.

Keep reading this article to learn more about how a case moves forward when a process server cannot locate a needed person.

Due Diligence for Process Servers

The process server must first prove that they have done their due diligence in trying to serve the documents in person. They must document that they have tried every available means to locate the defendant, and any other means of notification can only be utilized as a last resort. Professional process servers are crucial to have here, since they will know how to demonstrate to the court that they have attempted to do their job the best they could.

Substitute Service - Beyond Standard Process Serving

After every reasonable option has been exhausted, some states will allow for what’s called “subsitute service.” This is where the process server leaves the court documents with a relative or a roommate at the defendant’s address. Still, other jurisdictions will allow for a notice to go out in publication, usually in a newspaper.

Finding a Partner to Prepare Your Court Documents

If you’re the plaintiff in a lawsuit, it’s important to make sure your court documents are served correctly. Without proper process serving, your entire case could end up getting thrown out, costing you tons in legal fees and lost time.

At Same Day Process Service, we have an experienced staff ready to track down defendants and get them your documents quickly, and we specialize in the “impossible” cases. Contact us today to request a quote!

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