You may have heard of the term attorney-client privilege, but do you know what it means or how it could affect you? At Ted A. Greve and Associates, our Augusta personal injury lawyers are available to help you discuss the merits of your injury claim. In addition, we also understand the importance of client confidentiality.
In recent years, the need for privacy has increased, driven in part by intrusive practices by tech companies. Therefore, more people are cautious about the information they share as it could be used against them in the future. This article will examine what attorney-client privilege means for you if you have a personal injury case.
What Is Attorney-Client Privilege?
In simple terms, the attorney-client privilege protects all communication between you and your lawyer. Therefore, information exchanged between you and your lawyer cannot be disclosed to a third party directly or indirectly. Generally, the attorney-client privilege applies in communication with a potential or existing client in the lawyer’s capacity as a legal professional.
Privileged communication between an attorney and a client covers all written and oral communications from text messages to emails and phone calls. It is essential to point out that attorney-client privilege does not exist until there is an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship comes into force as soon as a demand for legal representation is made by the client and accepted by the lawyer. This can be done by signing a contract or via an oral agreement.
Any communication between a lawyer and a potential client before this cannot be protected by the attorney-client privilege. One reason for this is to prevent clients from abusing this privilege.
What Are the Benefits of Attorney-Client Privilege?
At this point, it should be clear to you that the attorney-client privilege exists to protect the client. So how does it benefit you? First, your conversations cannot be disclosed to a third party without your permission. This is particularly important if you wish to discuss something that you feel could affect your case.
For example, if you have a pre-existing condition that could cause your claim to be questioned, speaking with a lawyer would help you get answers without jeopardizing your case. In addition, the attorney-client privilege thrives on trust. Therefore, you must be upfront with your lawyer from the beginning. Make sure that you tell them everything that could affect your case, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
Doing this makes it easier for your lawyers to develop an adequate defense for you and not get blindsided by the defendant. Withholding information from your lawyer could seriously damage your chances of winning a case if it comes to light later. Unlike the defendant, your lawyer is on your side and has the same goals as you, getting you a fair settlement for your claim.
Exceptions to the Application of Attorney-Client Privilege
Applying attorney-client privilege is not absolute. As such, some conversations between you and your lawyer are not protected by the attorney-client privilege. One instance is if the client has expressed an intention to commit a criminal act. An excellent example is where a person says they intend to hit another with their car.
In such an instance, the lawyer must inform the authorities of the client’s criminal intentions. This principle is applied differently from state to state. Also, the client can request that the privilege be waived. For example, this could be a result of the presence of a third party during discussions.
In some other cases, even when the client has no intention of committing a crime, the lawyer may have to disclose details of their communication with the client. For example, this applies in ethical cases, such as when the client reveals a crucial piece of evidence or if the client threatens to harm someone.
It’s important to state that some situations are grey areas and are not covered by the attorney-client privilege. For instance, communication between you and your lawyer in a public place where someone can overhear you is not covered by the attorney-client privilege. Moreover, criminal cases are not the only instances where lawyers can break attorney-client privilege. Civil torts can warrant that. As it turns out, some torts are also crimes.
Find Out How Our Augusta Augusta Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You
Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Ted A. Greve and Associates are available to discuss how we can serve you. The attorney-client privilege covers all communication with our lawyers. Our goal is the same as yours — to get the best settlement for your personal injury claims. Contact us now for a free case review.