Category Archives: Great Websites

Helpful Links for Iowa/Illinois Trial Lawyers

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Do it now. I’ll wait.

Thanks. There are several websites that I consult on a regular basis, and unfortunately, no one seems to have them all in one place. Here are some of my most-used websites. Some more may be added in the future, so check back. Also, any suggestions would be welcomed!

Background Checks/Case Status Checks

Why? So you can check to see if cases have been filed, check the status of traffic tickets and other criminal matters, and other fun stuff that can be accessed through a court records search.

Iowa: http://www.iowacourts.gov/Online_Court_Services/Online_Docket_Record/

Illinois (many counties): http://judici.com/

Rock Island County: http://judici.com/courts/cases/case_search.jsp?court=IL081025J

Corporation Searches

Why? So you can sue the right entities!

Iowa: http://www.sos.state.ia.us/search/corp/(S(k55wpk45zk2lh5555ptzwp55))/corp_search.aspx

Illinois: http://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/

State Patrol Crash Reports

Why? So you can find out what happened – as long as Iowa State Patrol is involved. Iowa Crash reports only stay available online for 15 days.

Iowa: http://accidentreports.iowa.gov/

Assessors

Why? So you can find out if a defendant owns any real estate, and find the correct owner of a piece of property. This can be really helpful for premises liability cases. In many counties in Iowa, you can search by name.

Iowa: http://iowaassessors.com/

Rock Island County Illinois: http://www.rockislandcounty.org/AssessmentSearch/

Liquor License Search

Why? So you can sue the right entity in a dram shop case, among other benefits.

Iowa: https://elicensing.iowaabd.com/LicenseSearch.aspx

Illinois: http://www.state.il.us/lcc/tdq.asp

Physician Finder

Why? So when your client can only remember some vague information about what doctors they went to, you can hopefully track down the right one. Limited to the Quad Cities only, just for ease of linkage.

Genesis: http://www.genesishealth.com/doctor/index.aspx

Trinity: http://www.trinityqc.com/body.cfm?id=156

View/Map the Scene of a Crash

Why? We all have to know the lay of the land – literally. You can get a satellite photo of an intersection, along with birds-eye views of certain areas from different angles. Years ago some attorneys would hire helicopters to fly above an intersection so they could take photos to show the jury. Those days are gone, my friends. Oh, and Google? Not nearly as good as Bing when it comes to maps.

http://www.bing.com/maps/?FORM=Z9LH9

Vehicle Appraisal

Why? So you can estimate what your client’s wrecked car is worth. Negotiate wisely.

Kelly Blue Book: http://www.kbb.com/used-cars

NADA guides: http://www.nadaguides.com/Cars

Anything I’ve missed?

(Howard Zimmerle is a trial lawyer practicing in Iowa and Illinois. He can be reached at 309-794-1660 or at hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com)

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Filed under Great Websites, Links, Trial Practice

New website for self-help in Rock Island County

Illinois legal aid has just started a website for people in Rock Island County who may have minor legal problems and don’t need or can’t afford a lawyer. The website at rockisland.illinoislegalaid.org provides some simple advice and forms for things like divorce, child support, small claims cases, landlord/tenant issues, etc. It’s no substitute for a good lawyer, but it might help some people.

I have some concerns with the website. Some of the answers are too brief – for example, there is a section about statutes of limtations, but nothing mentioning that some cases have 1 year statutes, no discussion of the discovery rule, etc. It’s impossible to get a perfect understanding of how statutes of limitations work in one paragraph, but I guess that’s my point. It’s dangerous to give broad advice in a few words. Most of the advice seems pretty good.

Young lawyers should also read some of this. Often the nuts and bolts of everyday practice aren’t taught in law school, and this could provide a good overview for certain “how do I do this” type questions.

For those non-lawyers out there, you’re often better off with a lawyer – but not always. There might be lawyers who will handle your smaller matters, and what you think might be a smaller matter might be more serious and complex than you think. It’s like taking care of a car – I could putz around and try to fix my car myself, but there’s a good chance it would take me forever and I’d still screw it up. It’s much easier for me to pay a mechanic and have it done right – and often come out paying less in the long run.

But believe me, some things are possible to do without lawyers. I got the idea to go to law school after handling a small claims case myself when I was in high school. I loved being in court, and decided to learn more – now more than 12 years later, here I am!

(Howard Zimmerle is a lawyer with offices in Rock Island and Davenport. You can contact him at hzimmerle [at] mjwlaw.com or 309-794-1660).

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Filed under Great Websites, Illinois law, Legal News, Quad Cities

New Blog Announcement!!

In addition to my work with the QC Injury Lawyers Blog, I’m also starting:

(drumroll)

The Rock Island Workers Comp Blog

(wild, raucous applause)

It’s aimed at clients, potential clients, and any laypeople who want some basic info about Illinois Workers Compensation. It’s probably too basic for most lawyers, but it serves a different purpose than this blog.

I’m excited – it’s been fun thinking of content for the new blog. Any suggestions?

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Filed under Great Websites, Illinois law, Our Firm, Quad Cities, Workers Compensation

Unrelated Website of the Week #1

I’m going to try a new addition to the blog – an unrelated website of the week. All lawyers need a break. Maybe it’ll be a great addition, like when McDonalds added breakfast… or maybe it’ll fall flat like Cousin Oliver. Only time will tell.

This week’s unrelated website – the Signs of Life blog. This has pictures of great and often unintentionally hilarious signs from all over the world. Give me a chuckle.

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A hand-y website (sorry for the pun)

Just a quick post here… I want to point out a great website to use as a quick reference when dealing with hand/elbow injuries: Hand University. It’s a clever marketing tool from an orthopaedic office in Colorado Springs.

 It’s a neat little resource next time you need to remind yourself something like “what’s radial tunnel syndrome,” “what does carpal tunnel surgery look like?” or “what causes lateral epicondylitis?” It also has nice illustrations for us attorney types.

(Howard Zimmerle is a workers compensation and repetitive injury attorney in Rock Island, Illinois)

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Filed under Great Websites, Medical Information

Hey, I got some publicity!

Head on over to the New York Personal Injury Law Blog.

The author is an attorney out of New York named Eric Turkewitz, and the blog is one of the best PI blogs out there. For an example of some of the neat stuff Eric puts out there, check out his running commentary of the pediatrician who was blogging about his own lawsuit in real time. Good stuff.

Anyway, every week Eric does a Personal Injury Roundup, and he included my post about getting the chiropractor bills paid, along with some very nice comments about my blog. Thanks Eric!

(Howard Zimmerle is a Quad City accident lawyer)

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Get your client’s past claim history!

Insurance companies have a leg up on us. They have access to databases that will tell them about every insurance claim your client has ever filed.

I’ve asked clients about past claims, past accidents and past complaints of similar injuries. Many can remember things well, but very, very often a client will claim that they never had back problems before, and get impeached by a defense attorney who shows records of past low back claims.

It hurts. I don’t let it happen to my clients when I know about prior claims or complaints… but how do you know?

Miller and Zois have the answer. They know of a place where you can get your client’s records from the very same database I mentioned earlier for $25. I think this should be done in nearly every case… and absolutely in every large case.

Oh, and you might be asking “who are Miller and Zois?” They are a firm in Maryland who puts out not only a great informational blog, but a fantastic attorney help center with sample depositions, motions, discovery, etc. It’s Maryland law, but much of the stuff can be of great help to practitioners in any state.

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Filed under Great Websites, Medical Information, Settlements, Trial Practice