Will the Information I Share With a Personal Injury Lawyer be Confidential?
Everything you tell your attorney about your personal injury lawyer will remain confidential. This is true not only of the attorney you hire but also for any information you share with prospective attorneys as well.
This is good news for every person with a potential personal injury claim. Many of the details regarding an injury—including your medical history—are deeply personal. Other aspects of your personal life including your sexual history and employment records might also be discussed. Your attorney cannot divulge any of these details. When you pursue a personal injury claim with the help of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers, you can do so with confidence that your privacy is secure.
Understanding attorney-client privilege
The attorney-client privilege is a central aspect of the ethical obligations an attorney owes their client. This privilege exists to protect the client, and the attorney cannot violate it even under the order of a judge.
The consequences of violating attorney-client privilege are steep. Even an unintentional violation of this privilege could lead to the suspension of a law license. In serious cases, it could cause the full revocation of a license to practice law.
Your personal injury lawyer has a duty to you, but they have other ethical duties as well. These dueling ethical obligations can impact your attorney’s ability to further your case in some situations. For example, a client that admits to their attorney that they lied about an injury is still protected by the attorney-client privilege. While an attorney is not allowed to divulge this information, their ethical obligations also prevent them from knowingly lying in court. This conundrum could significantly hamper their ability to pursue an injury claim.
When the privilege applies
There are some important conditions that must be met for the attorney-client privilege to apply. The person you are confiding in must be a licensed attorney. That means the privilege does not exist if you are speaking with a law student or even a former attorney that is no longer licensed.
There are other ways you could waive the protections of the attorney-client privilege. If you discuss a private matter with your attorney in public, the conversation is not privileged if another person is able to overhear you. Not every discussion in front of a third party will waive privilege, though. The protections of the privilege apply to the paralegals and support staff that work for your attorney as well.
It is also worth noting that not everything you tell your attorney or prospective attorney is covered by the privilege. Anything you discuss in regards to your case is covered. However, casual conversations or even the discussion of legal matters that the attorney is not handling might not be covered by the attorney-client privilege.
Finally, your attorney does not have an obligation to keep your secrets if they involve your plans to commit a criminal act. If the safety of another person is in jeopardy, they might even have a duty to notify the authorities.
Considerations when speaking with a lawyer
Another thing to consider with personal injury lawyers is that many private details about your life might inevitably become public. If you are pursuing an injury claim, the other side has the right to review your medical records or have you examined by their own doctors. Aspects of your personal life that would otherwise be private could be relevant to the determination of your case. It is important to understand that even the attorney-client privilege may not keep certain aspects of your injury case private forever.
Discuss your rights with a personal injury lawyer
The attorney-client privilege is only one of the legal rights you have following an injury accident. The personal injury attorneys of Ellis Injury Law have handled countless accident cases, and our team looks forward to discussing your circumstances with you. Call right away to schedule a free consultation.