Monday, November 26, 2001

Tricks of the Trade
By Private Investigator Michael T. O'Rourke

Question: I am a Paralegal with a Law Firm that specializes in Plaintiff’s Personal Injury. Recently a Client was involved in an accident with an independent trucker on I-95. We are having difficulty in effecting Service of Process. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: Yes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sponsors a website. This web site offers information regarding license plates, insurance coverage, addresses, insurance policy numbers, DOT, and Motor Carrier numbers, and “SafeStat” results. "SafeStat" is information on previous accidents and roadside inspections. Contact the Insurance Carrier for additional information regarding the driver. The defendants can then be served via DE Title X, ss 3112 by serving the Secretary of State in Dover. Don't forget to contact the Division of Corporations to see if the trucking company is incorporated in DE. Most of them are…..

Question: Our client feels he is under surveillance. What should he do?

Answer: First and foremost, the client should cease any behaviors that might cause adverse momentum to his case. Investigators conduct surveillance in an effort to document the activities of an individual during a specific time frame. Most lawyers will advise a client of the most probable time for surveillance. During that time period, stay alert. Exit, and enter, the shopping center, place of employment, and your residence differently each time. If you spot someone tailing you, call the police. Inform the dispatcher you are experiencing fear, and alarm, and request contact from a Police Officer. Insist on a Police Report. Report all suspicious vehicles you observe in close proximity to your residence as well. Although Title 24, ss 1302, allows a Private Investigator to conduct surveillance on you, Police Contact really puts a hamper on the assignment. It is even more insulting when you have to advise your client you’ve been "burned”.

Question: I work for a Law Firm that does a large part of their business in the Insurance Subrogation field. Occasionally I receive calls from Defendants stating they have filed for Bankruptcy. I hear so many stories, is their any way to verify this?

Answer: Utilize the internet. Try this to access the District of Delaware’s United States Bankruptcy Court. Use the Web Pacer to locate the individual's name. You can also search by Case Number. Your other option is to go to the Court. It is located at 824 N. Market Street on the 5th floor. The Court provides three computer systems for your use. The Clerks are especially helpful. All information, including Docket Sheets can be downloaded, and printed. Be sure to stop by my office for a cup of coffee. I’m on the 4th floor!

Det. Michael T. O'Rourke is a Member of the National Association of Investigative Specialists, The National Association of Professional Process Servers, and Sustaining member of the Delaware Paralegal Association. A Court Certified Special Process Server, and a Licensed Private Investigator, Michael specializes in Insurance Defense.

He invites your questions to

Loss Solutions, Inc.
824 N. Market Street, Suite 425,
P.O. Box 368,
Wilmington DE 19899-0368.
(302) 427-3600.

Or you may e-mail him at

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