When you work with a personal injury lawyer, the ideal outcome is to settle with the responsible party or their insurance provider. However, there are some scenarios where a defendant may insist upon adding a confidentiality agreement to the settlement. Should you accept this? This is how a personal injury attorney will confront that question.
If a defendant wants a confidentiality agreement, they should pay additional compensation for it. There's no reason to let the defendant hold your settlement hostage. If they want confidentiality, then they almost certainly don't want a lawsuit or a potential trial to draw attention to the situation.
To put it more crassly, they want your silence. It's their right to ask for it, but you need to ask if you're being paid well enough for the inconvenience of obeying whatever the terms of the agreement will be.
How confidential is the settlement? If they're talking about a relatively sane level of confidentiality, such as not disclosing how much you were compensated, that's one thing. That's a common practice because companies fear they will become targets of lawsuits if they're known for reaching big settlements.
It's quite another thing if the defense is asking you to never speak with a member of the media about the incident that led to the settlement. As the terms of the deal become more onerous, the defense should compensate you more.
A personal injury attorney must inform you of a settlement offer and its details. Likewise, your lawyer can advise you regarding whether they think the deal is a good one. What they can't do is tell you which choice to make. That is entirely up to you.
Understandably, many people have strong feelings and beliefs about signing confidentiality agreements. That's particularly the case when it involves something like an injury settlement, where it might feel like the defendant is trying to keep you from warning others about dangerous conduct.
Limits on the Agreement
Ultimately, a confidentiality agreement does not extend in all directions forever. For example, the agreement can't restrict a personal injury lawyer from talking about the facts as part of a case study on their website. Likewise, the agreement can't restrict public access to the basic legal elements of the case, such as the fact there was a settlement.
It's also common for agreements to have sunset provisions, allowing disclosure after so many years. Similarly, a confidentiality agreement shouldn't prohibit you from casually discussing the case with friends and family members.
For more information, contact a law group like Grall Law Group.