If you are injured in an auto accident which is the fault of another driver, you know to get the other driver’s name, address, contact information, and insurance information. Then you should engage the services of an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you determine what your damages are and then file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf with the proper court.
At this point, you may be asking yourself: Do I have to inform the person I am suing that he or she has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit?
Fortunately, you are not responsible for notifying an individual that you are filing suit against him or her. The courts and/or your attorney will take care of that procedure, which is known in the legal community as process of service. In a nutshell, process of service is the collective group of laws and regulations which govern how a defendant must be legally informed of an impending lawsuit. These guidelines have been implemented to prevent people from being surprised by lawsuits of which they were not advised.The actual document which tells someone that he or she has been named in a lawsuit is called a summons, so named because it “summons” the individual to court on a given date to respond to the lawsuit. The primary way that individuals are notified of lawsuits is by the sheriff’s office. One of the major duties of any county sheriff is to ensure that all court summonses are delivered to the correct recipients in a timely fashion.In smaller counties, the sheriff, a sheriff’s deputy, or another member of the sheriff’s office personally conveys the court summons to its recipient. But in larger counties (like Cook County), courts often employ licensed process servers to handle these duties. These process servers are hired to find defendants and deliver court summonses in order to free up the sheriff’s office to focus on other law enforcement functions.The simplest way that a court summons is served is by delivering it to the defendant’s home address. If the person to be served is not home, Illinois law allows the summons to be accepted by any other person who lives at the same address and is at least 13 years old. (In these cases, another copy of the summons is usually sent to the residence via certified mail.) Sometimes, process service can take place at the defendant’s workplace or another location. In the worst case scenario where the defendant cannot be located despite several attempts to serve him or her, your attorney can file a motion with the court to make other arrangements and/or allow the suit to proceed.Your attorney can answer any question you might have about process of service. All you have to remember is that it’s not a problem that you’ll have to worry about.