Articles Posted in Accident Nuts & Bolts

We’ve all been through it before…trying to locate either the defendant or the “friend of a friend” who was with our client at the time of the accident. When this person appears to be absolutely nowhere, it is worth checking out whether this defendant or witness is a guest of the state of Maryland.

Thankfully, people in jail are relatively easy to find. All but 8 state departments of corrections – including Maryland – makes available to the general public, information and photographs of inmates who are incarcerated. While originally created in the interest of public safety, it has become a tool in which witnesses have been located. There is no charge for these inmate locators, and new states are being added as they become available. You can choose the state you want to search and it will take you directly to their inmate locator. Some states will show pictures, release date, crimes, etc. while others will only list their age with no photo.

You have located your incarcerated witness, now what? If your defendant is in jail, you have an easy means of obtaining service of your Complaint. If you are trying to find a witness to the accident, you can arrange a meeting and can videotape the inmate’s trial testimony by videotape. This can usually be set up by contacting their caseworker, though every detention center is different. In most cases, you will need the warden’s permission, as this process will bring in a lot of outsiders (all counsel, court reporter, videographer, etc.).

Before filing a lawsuit in Maryland, or anywhere for that matter, you need to find and serve the defendant. Usually, this is a breeze. But in a painful minority of cases, it can take real effort. Tracking down and locating defendants can get costly. In this economy, people are moving more quickly and leave fewer tracks when they move. Certainly, the most complete option is to hire a private investigator. Before jumping into that money pit, one effective weapon we use is Accurint which provides access to over 34 billion current public records that you can use to find your man or woman.

What is your next step….a Whitepages search? Perhaps the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation? Well, that will tell you if your Defendant sold his property, if he OWNED the property, but not where he went. Maybe a Maryland Judiciary Case Search? Let’s be serious, not everyone can be found….you may have a fresh defendant that has never been sued, and has never broken the law. And let’s not just pick on the Defendants. I have certainly had clients whose mail is returned as “moved – left no forwarding address”, that’s always appreciated, right?

In my office, Accurint gets used daily, probably hourly. Accurint provides information that allows users to quickly and easily extract valuable knowledge from enormous amounts of data. You can access thousands of data sources, from phone directories to property records to motor vehicle registrations.