Settlement agreements have fine print. They can be complicated, and sometimes they can add extra hoops for a plaintiff’s attorney to jump through when it comes to a personal injury case. However, there can be other concerning things in the fine print of a settlement agreement, the most of which is a potential confidentiality statement from the defense side.
What is a Confidentiality Statement?
A confidentiality statement is a clause that can be added into a settlement agreement that can impose limitations on the settlement becoming binding. These limitations are often placed on attorneys, but they can have an impact on what your attorney could potentially disclose to you, whether an attorney must give records from the case back to the other side, and so on. There are many ways in which confidentiality statements can impact an attorney’s ability to practice law.
Why Are Confidentiality Statements Questionable?
Confidentiality statements are questionable because their enforcement can violate several rules of Indiana’s Code of Professional Conduct for Attorneys. It can force attorneys to keep information to themselves that they should reveal to their clients, and there have even been cases where attorneys have felt the need to withhold the actual settlement amount from their clients, which is a clear violation of the Indiana Rules of Conduct.
Two major ways that confidentiality clauses are problematic are the fact that they can restrict an attorney’s ability to practice, and they can impede the production of evidence between parties. Attorneys can be forced into silence regarding what happened in a specific case, and they might not be able to pass that information onto subsequent parties dealing with the same adverse party. This can impede their ability to practice because sometimes it is necessary to give certain pieces of information to other parties so that they may have a better idea of the adverse party they are facing.
Attorneys can also be hampered in the fact that they might be restricted in producing evidence, which goes against Indiana Rule 3.4. This would be a clear violation of the Indiana Rules of Conduct, and could put an attorney in a tough spot, because they could face discipline if they violated the Rules of Conduct.
What Can Be Done About These Clauses?
There are a couple things that can be done about confidentiality statements. The first and most important is to talk with your attorney before settling a case, and before signing a settlement agreement. If your attorney has found a confidentiality statement, it is possible to talk to the other side about getting it removed. Secondly, a court can override a confidentiality statement, making it void. This is important if an attorney has located the confidentiality statement after the signing of the settlement agreement. They may have a chance to go to a court and get it overturned. Overall, it is important for anyone, attorney or client, to be informed about these clauses, because they can have an impact on the case itself and the attorney’s ability to practice law in an effective manner afterwards.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault?
Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Hurst Limontes, LLC. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. We will always fight for just compensation for our clients, and we work for our clients and their needs. Call or email us today for a free consultation!