How to Serve a Summons in Florida

When you are injured in an accident because of someone else’s negligence, a whole process begins that can be a little confusing. Fortunately, the attorneys at Suarez & Montero can guide you through the basic laws surrounding personal injury lawsuits including filing a complaint, investigation, discovery process, and handling the settlement process. If your insurance company won’t pay—or won’t pay nearly enough—then it becomes time to file a formal complaint. The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure state that a complaint must be served upon the defendant within 120 days after the complaint is filed. This means that after filing suit in a typical personal injury case, the Plaintiff must notify the party being sued about the lawsuit within 120 days after the complaint if filed with the court. If you would like to file a lawsuit against someone in Florida, you must tell the other person(s) or company you are filing against. This is done by formally serving the other party with a Summons and a copy of the Complaint filed against them. This is called service of process.

The object of process is to advise the defendant that an action or proceeding has been commenced against him or her by the plaintiff, that the defendant must appear within a time and at a place named and make such defense as he or she has, and that, in default of the defendant’s so doing, a judgment will be asked or taken against the defendant in a designated sum or for the other relief specified. It is an official notice informing the recipient of a pending action filed and advising when a response is required. In other words, the purpose of process is to advise a party of the nature of an action brought against him or her. As well, the purpose of process is to provide a defendant adequate notice which is reasonably calculated under all the circumstances to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections. A summons is a demand for a person to appear in court for a legal proceeding. Subsection (a) of Rule 1.070 provides that upon the commencement of an action, a summons or other process authorized by law shall be issued either by the court clerk or the judge and delivered for service. The court is not responsible for service, you are responsible for getting the papers to the other person. Without following all the court’s rules for service of process, your case may not move forward.

Can I Serve Someone Myself?

No, you may not serve process yourself, in Florida, a summons must either be served by the sheriff’s department in the county in which the person being served resides or by a licenses independent process server. Generally, to issue process means to deliver it to an officer charged by law with its service. Accordingly, process is generally deemed issued when it is prepared and placed in the hands of a person authorized to serve it with the intention of having it served, or at least when it is given to an officer, or to someone else to be given to the officer, for the purpose of being served. When an action is commenced in Florida, the clerk or judge must issue a summons or other process authorized by law and deliver it for service without delay. If there is more than one defendant, the clerk or judge must issue as many writs of process against the several defendants as directed by the plaintiff or his or her attorney. When any process for any defendant is returned not executed, or returned improperly executed, the party issuing it is entitled to such additional process against the unserved party as is required to effect service.

Why Do I Need to Serve Process?

Process is frequently used to designate a means of acquiring jurisdiction of the defendant, or his or her property, or of bringing the defendant into, or compelling him or her to appear in, court to answer. Actually, the issuance and service of process is a prerequisite to the jurisdiction of a court. Courts cannot function without the use of process. In the absence of a valid waiver, process is necessary in order to acquire jurisdiction, to proceed against a person named as a party defendant, and to warrant an adjudication by the court of the property rights of persons interested in the subject matter of the controversy. Jurisdiction is perfected by the proper service of sufficient process or by the defendant’s voluntary appearance and submission to the court. Thus, absent a waiver of service, a court does not acquire jurisdiction over a defendant unless the defendant has been served with process as prescribed by law; without proper service of process, a court may not proceed in the matter.

Contact us Today!

If you or a loved one were injured in any type of accident, you may have a legal right to recover significant compensation for your injuries and losses. The Law Offices of Suarez & Montero Car Accident Lawyers represents accident victims injured in various types of accidents. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Let us help you get the medical care you need and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries! Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.

We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.

Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.