Serving a Lawsuit Against an Insurance Company in Maryland

There is a popular conception that lawsuits in car accident cases are filed directly against the insurance companies. It is easy to understand the source of the confusion. The insurance company that insured the driver of the vehicle will stand behind their insured and pay any claim up to the policy limit of the policy. The insurance company will also decide how much to offer as a settlement, not the actual defendant, who is usually kept in the dark on the entire process from initial settlement offer through the tactics the insurance company will take at trial.

Technically, in Maryland car accident lawsuits are generally filed against the defendant themselves. This technical distinction makes a difference at trial because the jury is not told there is insurance behind the case under Maryland’s collateral source rule. I remember trying a case against a defendant once where we got a good verdict ($298,000 award after a $25,000 offer before trial). When we met with the jurors after the trial, their big concern was whether there was insurance because they were concerned that the defendant—who was a pretty good guy—would have to pay the verdict themselves.

The exception to this is underinsured/uninsured motorist cases. In Maryland, claims are brought directly against the insurance company. To serve an insurance company defendant with a lawsuit in Maryland, you can serve the Maryland Insurance Administration. It looks like this: