Small claim courts aim to provide a fast and easy way for individuals and businesses to settle disputes without a solicitor. This type of court cases can be frustrating and time-consuming to handle alone.
Fortunately, you can seek legal help when faced with such matters. Hiring a small claims process server might help you avoid various time-consuming court procedures. This article will cover the small claims process serving in California and the role of process servers in small court claims. Read on!
What Is a Small Claims Court?
Suing a friend over an unpaid debt, a landlord refusing to return a deposit, and other similar issues are common in small claims court. For example, if you have a dispute to settle with a business partner or friend, such issues usually end up in small claims courts.
Furthermore, such court cases don’t require the services of an attorney, and both US citizens and non-citizens can file a small court claim. When pursuing a legal claim, note that some defendants may be unwilling to show up in court. However, the law requires that the plaintiff notifies the defendant for them to be present in court.
This notification the plaintiff delivers is known as “service.” You can trust a small claims court process server to serve this document to the defendant before the court date
What Are the Right Ways to Serve Your Legal Documents?
There are two ways a small claims process server can serve your papers. They include:
- Personal Service
Personal service involves delivering the claim directly to the person you’re suing. However, note that you have at least 15 days before the court date to serve these documents. Furthermore, if the defendant lives outside your state, the small claims service of process must be completed no later than 20 days before the court date.
- Substitute Service
Serving by substitute involves delivering the claim to someone who lives with the defendant. However, note that the individual receiving the papers must be over 18. Also, your process server must send a copy of the claim to the defendant through first-class mail at the address where the claim was filed.
The Role of a Small Claims Process Server
It’s the duty of a process server in small claims court to deliver all your important legal documents to the defendant before the court date. Plus, the law requires that you notify the defendant when there’s a legal proceeding. If you decide to take a friend to court, you must inform them of your actions and when and where to appear in court.
You must also put the notice in writing and have it delivered by someone (a process server) who has no ties to the case. Here are two main reasons to hire a process server:
- Due Process
It’s a process server’s duty to uphold an individual’s constitutional rights to due process. A process server upholds the rights granted to all Americans by the US Constitution by properly serving your legal documents.
- Proof of Service
In addition to serving your paperwork, you have to present a small claims proof of service in California, to the court. When your court claims have been served properly, the process server must present a document to the court to confirm it.
The document is known as a “Proof of Service,” a “Return of Service,” or a “Service Affidavit.” This document is also notarized, and the court uses it to confirm that the defendant is aware of the claims against them.
How to Hire a Process Server for Small Court Claims?
In order to get the best services, there are several important steps you need to take before hiring a small claims process server. These steps include:
- Hire a Private Process Server
You can serve your papers through the sheriff’s department, or you can hire the services of a private process server. If you use your sheriff’s department, note that your papers may not get to the defendant at all or on time. On the other hand, a private process server offers a better degree of service, speed, and knowledge of the law governing the server of process.
- Check With the Courts
If you don’t know where to find a competent process server, you can start at your local court system. Your local court can provide you with a list of certified and registered process servers in your state.
However, note that this list simply contains the names of registered process servers, not necessarily the best. California has dozens of small claims process servers who can serve your legal papers. Unfortunately, not all of these servers can offer the top-notch services you require.
However, you can trust companies like “D&R Legal Process Servers” to serve your legal papers without issues. This company has been around for over three decades, and they’re knowledgeable of California laws.
Also, they’re licensed and offer fast and reliable services. You can visit their official website at “https://drlegalprocess.com/small-claims-process-serving/” to contact a competent process server.
- Check Experience Level and Success Rate
When searching for process servers, it’s important to consider the company’s experience level and success rate. To do this, you can check how long the company has been in the business and if they have a proven track record of offering quality services.
You can also inquire about their success rate or read customer reviews. A high success rate indicates that the company is competent in its field.
It’s also essential to consider the process server’s communication method before choosing a firm. A process server should be able to keep you informed about the status of your documents at all times. Your process server can keep you up-to-date on the progress of your papers by sending you an email, text, or contacting you on the phone.
If you file a small claims complaint, you must deliver a copy of that claim to the defendant. You can hire the services of a small claims process server to ensure the timely delivery of this document. After the process server delivers your papers, they’ll present you with a “Proof of Service.” Ensure to present this proof of service to the court as evidence that the defendant is aware of the claims against them.