Anyone who has watched a prime-time television drama about lawyers has heard of attorney-client privilege. But until you have actually sat down to speak with a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer, you might not know what it actually means.
Everyone who needs a lawyer has a story to tell and a lot of questions they want answered. The first question typically relates to what they can and cannot discuss with their attorneys.
Here's a look at attorney-client privilege and how it could affect your personal injury case:
What is attorney-client privilege?
At its core, attorney-client privilege simply means your lawyer may not reveal information you share without your expressed permission. It's designed to make sure you can confide in your attorney freely and without the fear of having your words used against you. Without attorney-client privilege, it would be difficult for you to trust your lawyer and for your lawyer to trust they have heard your entire story. Trust is a hallmark on which relationships are built and cases are effectively handled.
When does attorney-client privilege apply?
Not every conversation you have with your Las Vegas personal injury lawyer is covered by attorney-client privilege. Only conversations and communications (written letters, emails and texts) between you and your licensed attorney maybe considered confidential. If other people are involved in the communication, attorney-client privilege may not apply.
In addition, you either need to be the lawyer's client or attempting to become a client. This means preliminary consultations with attorneys are covered by attorney-client privilege. It also only applies when you are seeking legal advice. It does not apply if you are attempting to commit a crime, if you are having casual conversations with a lawyer who is not--or you do not want--representing you, or if the conversation is overheard by other people who are not part of your legal team.
How does attorney-client privilege apply to personal injury cases?
When you are seeking a lawyer for a personal injury issue, the conversations you have with your attorney are covered--from the initial consultation to subsequent conversations.
However, it is possible and even likely that information you share with your Las Vegas personal injury lawyer will be open to discovery if you and your attorney decide to sue someone or take your case to court. The other side's legal team will be entitled to the facts of the case, meaning much of what you share with your lawyer could become public knowledge or at least known in court as the lawsuit proceeds. However, the other side may not ask you to disclose the actual content of your conversations with your attorney.
When should you seek confidential advice from a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer?
If you are injured in an automobile crash, slip, fall, work accident or another incident involving personal injury, it might be a good idea to protect your interests by consulting a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer.