The rules regarding the use of process servers in New Jersey were not always how they stand today. Prior to 2000 all private process servers were unable to serve original service of a Summons and Complaint and were required to obtain a signature from a person being served for the service to be considered valid (and you can imagine how that wasn’t always the easiest task). Private process servers could only serve Subpoenas and certain Summons and Complaints with a special order from a judge. After the rule change in 2000 private process servers were then able to serve Summons and Complaints exactly the same way as the sheriff.
Serve-Now just put out an interesting infographic in the past week that reviews the sheriff vs. a process server. The results are exactly what DGR has been saying to our clients in New Jersey for quite some time. While there may be a slight cost difference in choosing the sheriff, in every other category a process server is bound to outscore.
The first category Serve-Now looked at was speed of service.
We already knew this! The sheriff’s office generally takes weeks or months to serve, whereas DGR’s average turn-around time within New Jersey is 3 days and nationally is 5 days. This is a HUGE and critical difference.There is no legal professional who wouldn’t want their case to move forward quicker. Without effectuated service many aspects of a case can be held up, making speed of service something to take into consideration.
The second category examined was customer service.
When you need to get someone on the phone to get status of your service or need an immediate response, you can be certain that a process server will almost always give you a better response than a sheriff. This can be extremely important when you want to make sure that someone you subpoenaed is going to show up to your court case the next day or if that important Summons and Complaint was serviced in order to move your case to the next step.
While some believed there was no difference in the knowledge of laws between the sheriff and a process server only 13% believed the sheriff was more knowledgeable while 58% believed the process server to be more so. Lack of knowledge about laws can be extremely detrimental when serving, as service effectuated on the incorrect individual could mean dismissal of the case and the need to start all over. To ensure that your case stays on track and the service is considered valid using a process server is your best choice.
To sum it all up Serve-Now came up with the following:
All of the benefits you receive with a process server by far outweighs the slight difference in cost (a roughly $14 nationwide average). Next time you try to decide whether to choose a process server or a sheriff keep in mind the service, speed and success rate you’d like to see!