Oftentimes, in automobile accident cases, it may be difficult to obtain service for an individual defendant. Perhaps the defendant provided the wrong address at the scene of the accident. Or perhaps the defendant has moved at some point between the date of the accident and the date suit is actually filed. Fortunately, Maryland law sets forth a statutory tool for obtaining a defendant’s last known address from the defendant’s insurance company.
Under section 6-311 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, a plaintiff may request a defendant’s last known address directly from the defendant’s insurance company. In order to obtain this information, the plaintiff must file a certification with the court (i) stating that the defendant had insurance coverage at the time of the incident, (ii) detailing the reasonable efforts made by the plaintiff to locate the defendant; and (iii) stating that the defendant is evading service or that the whereabouts of the defendant are unknown. This certification must also be served upon the defendant’s insurer.
This statutory tool can prove invaluable for tracking down a defendant who is attempting to evade service of process or who had moved since the date of the incident. This statute can be a very inexpensive tool for obtaining very important information. I have used it in my practice a number of times.