Most people associate the concept of attorney-client privilege with criminal cases when a defendant may require to disclose certain information to their legal representative regarding material facts of the case that they would prefer not have on any official record. The truth is that confidentiality between attorney and client applies in every legal professional relationship, and not just in a criminal case. It applies in auto accident cases when drivers are being assessed for personal contribution for causing an accident, for example. Being forthright and honest with your attorney about material facts concerning an accident will not backfire and be used against you, under any circumstances. Quite simply, attorney-client privilege prevents the forced disclosure of any written or verbal confidential communications between attorneys and their clients.
There are also other more personal reasons an individual may want to keep certain sensitive information private. Guarding personal information is important to everyone, and it is a major reason why it is also important to have the an ethical and professional accident – injury law firm representing an injury case.
The History of Attorney-Client Privilege
The U.S. Constitution is silent concerning the exchange of privileged information between a litigant and their attorney. The court policy generally began as a concern for those charged with a crime because the court had significant latitude to do as they wished in many cases. Lawyers could even assist authorities in jailing an individual following a conviction that they were involved in, even as the defending legal counsel. Information passed from client to attorney is protected generally by a reasonable expectation of a right to privacy and not being required to provide self-incriminating evidence. The concept of attorney-client privilege has become so pervasive that it is used in all exchanges between client and attorney as a matter of course.
Exemptions To Attorney-Client Privilege
Not all communications with an attorney are covered by attorney-client privilege.There are certain conditions that may exist in a case that results in the court declaring no privilege exists, it isn’t an absolute safeguard against sensitive information entering the public domain, fortunately, situations where it can ethically ocurr are rare. [Bar Association and Rules of Professional Conduct]
Again, though extremely rare, an attorney can use certain information protected by the attorney-client privilege when he or she is facing a legal dispute with a former client. Should a former client file a malpractice claim against the law firm it may become necessary for a lawyer to disclose certain information such as time/expense records, billing statements, and other records involving the firm’s actions when representing a client.
In other cases, constraints imposed by attorney-client privilage might be lifted to prevent bodily harm threatened by a client against another individual. Or, in situation where a client intends to defraud another individual or corporation. Again, since their is no real legal statute govening attorney-client confidentiality, it becomes very much a matter of self-policing of ethics by the legal professional.
Contact Our Accident – Injury Law Firm
It is important for anyone involved in a court case to realize that certain information could well be disclosed when they go to court over any particular legal issue. This applies in civil court as well as criminal court. The court is a public space, and all information disclosed in open court is a part of the public record. In addition, a judge may ask for information in arriving at a decision that litigants may not want to be revealed. This is part of the territory whether a litigant is defending themselves in a criminal case or in a civil claim. Certain information can be sealed when it is communicated in private and designated with the privilege of knowing. The attorneys at our accident-injury law firm understand the desire and need to keep all client information private, and we adhere to a strong ethical responsibility when working with ANY and ALL client. We are dedicated to professional representation for the good of our clients and maintaining their rights to privacy in any case adjudication.