Many people have heard the term “attorney-client privilege”, but do you know what it means and how it applies when you meet with an attorney after a car crash? How does attorney-client privilege protect your conversations with a lawyer from other parties, like the insurance company?
If you are unsure about working with a lawyer after a car crash, you should learn more about how attorney-client privilege would benefit you.
Schedule a free consultation with Schmidt Kramer to learn more about how one of our Harrisburg-based car accident lawyers may be able to assist you. We are here to answer your questions and if we validate your case, we have the resources and experience to pursue maximum compensation for your damages.
What does Attorney-Client Privilege Mean?
Essentially, conversations with an attorney in which you are seeking legal assistance are protected by attorney-client privilege. That means the attorney is prohibited from sharing this conversation with others, including the insurance company. In fact, if the attorney were to violate attorney-client privilege, he or she could potentially be disbarred.
Typically, conversations with a lawyer are afforded protection under attorney-client privilege when they satisfy four criteria:
- You expected the conversation to be confidential
- Your lawyer was acting in his or her professional capacity
- You were seeking legal advice
- You have an attorney-client relationship with the lawyer
Attorney-client privilege not only applies to in-person conversations. Phone calls, emails, letters and faxes should be covered if they meet the criteria above. However, the conversations must be in private. If you are out in a public place discussing things, those conversations are likely not covered by attorney-client privilege. Social media posts are not covered by attorney-client privilege.
What if Someone Sues to Uncover These Conversations?
With rare exceptions, courts cannot compel an attorney to reveal conversations protected by attorney-client privilege. This protection does not apply if you tell a lawyer you are planning to commit a crime. The client has the right to waive attorney-client privilege.
What Advantages does Attorney-Client Privilege Give Crash Victims?
Conversations with your lawyer are private, which frees you up to discuss any aspect of your situation. Compare this to conversations with the insurance company, which is looking for information to use against you.
For example, you can talk about your potential liability for the crash with your attorney and he or she will not use it against you. Your attorney’s goal is to secure maximum compensation, not reduce the value of your claim.
If you discuss your role in the crash with the insurance company, you can be sure they will use it against you. If they do not deny your claim, they will almost surely reduce its value.
You do not need to be on your guard when talking to a lawyer as you would if you were talking to the insurance company.
It is important to be open and honest with your lawyer to help him or her build a strong case. If you do not discuss things, they are likely to come up later. If your attorney is unprepared, he or she may struggle to secure full compensation. You do not want to make things more difficult for your lawyer.
For example, there is no need to conceal a preexisting condition from your attorney. This condition should not affect your ability to recover compensation. However, if you conceal it, it is likely to come up later and your lawyer may have a harder time countering the insurance company’s efforts to devalue your claim. Your lawyer needs time to prove how your current injuries are different from your preexisting condition.
Have Questions? Call Schmidt Kramer to Schedule a Free Consultation
One of the most important things you can do after suffering a car accident injury is to contact an attorney to help you pursue compensation from the insurance company. You cannot count on the insurance company to take care of you, they are looking for ways to deny or devalue your claim.
When looking for an attorney, it is important to find one with extensive experience and a proven record of recovering compensation. Insurance companies know which attorneys regularly recover compensation. If your attorney does not regularly recover compensation for crash victims or even regularly take these kinds of cases, he or she is likely to have trouble securing a favorable settlement.
Schmidt Kramer has secured millions in compensation for accident victims throughout the state. We have been representing crash victims for more than three decades.
Give us a call today for legal assistance. Call (717) 727-1403.