Are Discussions About Your Personal Injury Case Confidential?
When you've been injured through the negligence or actions of another party, you deserve the best chance to get the compensation you need to fully recover. You may also need the help of a number of other people in addition to a good personal injury attorney.
But who can you discuss your case with? What rules should you abide by? And how can you best protect your case during any communication? Here are some answers to your questions.
Can Your Family Be Involved?
In general, discussions with your legal team are the only ones protected by attorney/client privilege. So if you share any details about such a meeting with outsiders, you can accidentally violate your own confidentiality.
In some situations, though, you may involve a friend or family member in confidential meetings with a provider, such as your attorney, and it still is privileged communications. However, the other party must be necessary or highly useful to the meeting.
So a meeting where you bring a relative as an interpreter would be confidential. But a meeting with someone there as moral support would likely not be.
What About Meetings with Outsiders?
Personal injury cases often rely on outsiders to prove points in their cases and provide assistance. This usually means medical professionals, expert witnesses, and eyewitnesses.
In general, meetings involving you, your attorney, and necessary outsiders are protected by standard attorney/client privilege. In general, medical providers are bound by privacy rules under HIPAA. However, don't assume your conversations are confidential without checking with your attorney or the provider first.
What Ground Rules Should You Have?
If you do discuss anything related to the case with family or friends, set up some guidelines to prevent problems. First, talk with your attorney about what you can or cannot discuss. Remember that anything you say to others can accidentally become part of your case, even if spoken in confidence.
Second, discuss with the family what level of privacy they must adhere to. Most legal professionals, for instance, recommend that you avoid social media use. This may need to extend to friends and family.
What About Discussing a Settlement?
Settlements are voluntary agreements in which both sides agree to a compromise and a set of rules regarding it. Most settlements include nondisclosure agreements. Once you sign this agreement, you must abide by its rules, including what you can or cannot say about any aspect of it.
Where to Start
The best place to begin protecting your privacy and your case is by meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney. They will help you understand both your rights and your responsibilities where communication is concerned. Make an appointment today to learn more.
Consult a personal injury attorney for more info.