For the purposes of this article, “PS” refers to a Process Server and “PI” refers to a Private Investigator!
A key step in starting a lawsuit is service of process; that is, giving the defendant official notice of the claims. While a 3rd party is permitted to serve process, there are drawbacks: Nonprofessionals don’t know the complex rules governing service of process, and lack experience in safely and successfully completing the task.
Using a professional process server, private investigator or a deputy sheriff is a good decision. But which is the right choice?
Survey of Law Office Personnel
Some 100 legal secretaries and paralegals participated in a recent survey rating and comparing licensed PS/PI and deputy sheriffs. According to these legal professionals who regularly make service of process arrangements, the answer is clear: 78% rated process servers & private investigator higher than deputies, and use them more often.
One survey respondent explained that the only times she uses the sheriff’s office is in an area where she cannot locate a reasonably priced process server or if the defendant is in jail or is a government entity.
Specific Categories: Knowledge, Speed, Success, Cost
Survey participants evaluated several criteria, including speed of service, success rate, and knowledge of process-serving laws.
Speed of Service
Respondents reported that 90% of the time, PS/PI do the job faster. One reason cited for this lopsided result is that process-serving is the primary focus of the PS/PI; the sheriff’s office has many other priorities and responsibilities.
Again, process servers & private investigator rated higher, scoring a 4.28 rating (out of a possible 5) compared with the 2.55 result for the deputies. Since there is competition within the private process-serving field, providers know they must give good service and results or they won’t be hired again.
Knowledge of Laws
PS/PI were rated by 58% of respondents as more knowledgeable, while 13% chose the deputies. Some 29% concluded there is no difference.
Participants reported that 92% of the time, PS/PI were successful, compared with a 74% success-rate for the deputies.
Fact, one attorney paid the sheriff’s department 3 times to serve one individual. All 3 were marked as unsuccessful on all attempts. Attorney hired WAPI and the individual was located and served in one attempt!
Evasive or Hard to Locate Individuals
Sherriff department will not locate or search for individuals to serve. They will go to the located listed on the order sheet between 9AM-5PM and ask for the individual. If the individual is not there and/or answers the door and simply states “he/she does not live here anymore”. The sheriff will marked as unsuccessful or unable to deliver.
Licensed PS/PI specialize in locating individuals! PS/PI go the extra mile to locate and serve individuals. Process serving is done Morning, Noon, Night, weekdays, weekends, and holidays!
The average cost for process servers/Private Investigator was higher. But the fee structure for PS/PI takes into account multiple attempts and mileage while the sheriffs’ cited rate does not.
Legal professionals who regularly deal with process-serving matters believe licensed process servers & private investigators are well worth their reasonable charges and are the clear choice to effect successful service of process.
WAPI investigators serve papers 24/7, 365 days a year. Our goal is to locate and serve the individual on the first attempt. We specialize in locating hard to find people. WAPI is able to assist you with all of your service of process needs. We can serve any paper or any legal document anywhere in the State of Georgia. We have investigators ready to help you. Call us today at 770-864-6618 to get started or place your order online!