Digging up Dirt



LNCtips.com: Digging up Dirt

Medical malpractice cases are tried in civil courts.  However, legal nurse consultants sometimes need to determine if the parties have engaged in criminal activity.  That type of probe used to require a big fat check to pay a private investigator.  With the advent of the internet, LNCs can research the criminal background of anyone for free.  And I know the best free websites for digging up dirt.

Mugshots is a good place to start.  You'll find information on arrest date(s), charges, location of the alleged or actual crime, and prison status, if any.  Mugshots lists trial dockets for some individuals.  I've found arrests from as far back as 1989.  To locate information, just type in a name and you'll have results in seconds. 

I've found some interesting information about parties in lawsuits. I've also used it to check on people I've known. For example, here's what I found about a former employee of mine who dropped off the radar for a few years.

I found out that my former employee has been in jail for over two years awaiting trial.  I was able to verify the information by viewing arrest records on the county sheriff's website.  You can find your county's sheriff office by going to USA Cops or by Googling your county's name and the terms "sheriff office."

County records can also provide other criminal records.  To access these records, type the name of your county and "clerk of court."  From there, look for access to public records.  The link may be called something such as "Look Up Your Court Case" or "Public Access Case Search."  Once you've located the area for criminal cases, type the party's name in the search box.  It will identify all cases in which the party was involved.

Another criminal site to check is the National Sex Offender website.  I personally have not found any parties in lawsuits on this site, but I was heartened to find that there were no sex offenders living within a mile of my house.  Then I was dismayed to find that 278 sex offenders live within five miles of my house.

One of my favorite sites for digging up dirt is DirtSearch.org.  Enter the individual's name and state or Canadian province into the search boxes.  Then go for a stroll or eat a snack because, while thorough, DirtSearch is not always quick.  I have had good luck when I used the website early in the morning on business days.  On weekends, afternoons, and evenings, it takes much longer to get results.  In addition to criminal searches, DirtSearch also supplies some results for social media.  If you want even more information on social media searches, check out my page on Cyber Reputation.

What do you do with this information after you've found it?  Give it to your attorney for review.  The attorney may want to do a more thorough search with a paid background check or use the information to develop case strategy.

...Katy Jones