If you have gone to court recently or are currently involved with a lawsuit, you are probably wondering exactly what information about your case is available to the public. This answer actually varies from state to state, because some states have laws against putting civil cases online and some do not. Civil cases include
- Any small claim case, like if your landlord will not surrender your security deposit
- Any type of debt collection (if you are late on spousal or child support)
- Eviction cases
- Cases involving medical malpractice (dentists, chiropractors, doctors, etc)
- Personal injury cases (like slip and falls)
Civil cases include any case by which an individual sues another individual. So cases involving family law will most likely be placed online for the public to view if your state allows. Guardianship disputes, cases involving sexual or domestic violence, cases surrounding visitation rights and battles over custody, and divorces are all included in family law. Traffic violations are also among cases typically listed for the public to view. These cases can include DUI violations, driving without a license or insurance violations, driving in an unsafe or illegal manner, failure to show up in court or pay a traffic ticket violation and warrants for arrest.
Many websites will restrict their information and resources so that only legal parties can enter the database. This means individuals named within the case details, have the case number, or are representing the named individuals. There are a lot of websites, however, that are readily available for public viewing. If you would like access to a lot of case information, legal publishers like Lexis Nexis or Simba Information, tend to have the most access to information and are typically happy to assist in your search for all the information surrounding a case or legal standard. They can use their databases to search your name and see what comes up for it. If your case does not involve sexual assault, murder, or any other violent crime, you may be able to have personal information revised. In order to do this, you must visit your county clerk’s office and ask to review your public records. After you are shown the documents and find what you would like redacted, you can ask for it to be removed or updated (be sure to read what is allowed to be updated or removed within your state prior to visiting the local county office). You are typically allowed to remove your SSN and phone number. Be sure to look at the Uniform Commercial Code database at the county office before you leave as well, because it will list your social security number and phone numbers too.