Home | Personal Injury | What Does the Attorney-Client Privilege Mean in a Personal Injury Case?

What Does the Attorney-Client Privilege Mean in a Personal Injury Case?

Aug 31, 2022 | Personal Injury

If you’ve been in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the first thing you should do after seeking medical treatment is contact a personal injury attorney. Not only can an experienced personal injury attorney protect your legal rights, but they can also help to ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation to which you’re entitled.

However, you might feel overwhelmed about the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit and have many questions about what it’s like to work with an attorney. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that when you are represented by counsel, the information you disclose to them is protected by the attorney-client privilege.

What is the Attorney-Client Privilege?

Attorney-client privilege is an ethics rule that governs the relationship between attorneys and their clients. It specifies that when you meet with your attorney, anything you tell them is confidential. Importantly, your lawyer cannot be compelled to disclose what you’ve told them. In addition, the other side is not permitted to obtain this information through the discovery process or a subpoena.  

The reason this rule is in place is to allow for full disclosure and open conversation with your attorney. The attorney-client privilege starts the moment you begin discussing your case with the attorney and it continues through the duration of their representation. It even extends once the case has concluded.

What Communications Are Protected by the Attorney-Client Privilege?

It’s not just the information gathered from an in-person meeting that is safeguarded by the attorney-client privilege. All forms of communication between an attorney or their legal team and the client are covered by the privilege, including the following:

  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Letters
  • Phone calls

Even if the content of the communication is in writing, it cannot be exchanged with the defendant or opposing counsel.

The attorney-client privilege benefits personal injury clients tremendously. It allows you to have peace of mind knowing that you can be candid with your attorney about your claim. Critically, withholding details can harm your case. Your attorney needs you to be honest about how the accident occurred — even if you were partly at fault — so they can put together a strategy in your case. They must also have a complete understanding of your injuries, including any pre-existing ones.     

When Does the Attorney-Client Privilege Not Apply?

There are certain circumstances under which the attorney-client privilege can be waived. For instance, if you discuss the details of your case with another party in the room or in a public place, there is no expectation of confidentiality. The privilege also doesn’t apply if you copy a friend or family member on an email sent to your attorney — or if you post the details discussed with your counsel on social media.

An attorney is never permitted to break confidentiality, except in limited cases where a client reveals they are planning to commit a crime or the attorney believes disclosure to the authorities could prevent a death or severe bodily harm.

Contact an Experienced New York City Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s essential to have an attorney on your side who you can trust. Due to our candor, knowledge, and dedication, the attorneys at The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP regularly secure verdicts and settlements in the millions for our clients.  

The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a personal injury law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they get the monetary recovery they deserve for their injuries. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.




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