Confidentiality and candor with your attorney is necessary whether it be a personal injury case, a criminal case, or any case at all. More and more often, individuals today are finding that they require the services of an attorney. Across a variety of legal issues, attorneys are being utilized as a tool to help get things done correctly. However, individuals are sometimes nervous about sharing their personal information with someone they hardly know. This openness is something that some individuals find very difficult to overcome as one’s own privacy is very important.
Despite this, when an individual retains an attorney, it is extremely important for that individual to fully inform the attorney of the facts behind a particular issue. The attorney must have a thorough and complete understanding of the case facts in order to effectively represent their client. In order to ensure a high level of communication and trust, attorneys are bound by certain ethical obligations to their clients. Essentially, anything communicated from a client to their attorney is considered privileged information and cannot be shared with the opposing side or judicial authority, with a few rare exceptions. The most cited and used exceptions to this rule include sharing information with individuals in the attorney’s firm in order to ensure proper representation, sharing confidential information
as part of a strategy for defending or fighting a case, and disclosing information because it has become apparent to the attorney that their client is going to commit a criminal or fraudulent act.
Other than these few exceptions, an attorney’s dedication and commitment to confidentiality is extremely important to ensure that the client feels free to share all the information necessary for good and effective representation. This is especially important in Personal Injury and Criminal Defense cases, the areas of law in which our firm practices.
In personal injury cases, clients are typically in a situation where they have experienced something very traumatic and frightening, such as a car wreck, slip and fall, or dog bite incident. All involve situations where emotions rise and injuries can occur. It is extremely important in these types of situations that the attorney have a solid handle on what their client is experiencing. Additionally, the client should feel free to share details that may be damaging to their claim, such as a bad driving history, previous accidents and prior injuries, former arrests or run-ins with the law. Each of these issues can alter the attorney’s strategy in pursuing the claim.
In criminal law cases, candor with the attorney is also extremely important. For an attorney to adequately defend a criminal charge, the attorney must know all details about the facts giving rise to the case. The attorney needs to know about prior arrests, drug and alcohol use, and bad facts that a person’s normal feelings of embarrassment might keep them from sharing. Countless times, in an effort to make themselves look better to their attorney, the client will hide certain facts that cast them in a bad light; a good example of this would be telling the attorney that they have a clean criminal history, when they do not. When the attorney approaches the court and/or district attorney thinking that they have a “squeaky clean” client, only to be informed that their client has a long criminal history, it can be become an uphill battle. From that point forward the attorney is fighting to regain not only the confidence and respect of the prosecuting attorney, but also the trust of the court based on bad information provided by their client. By hiding the bad facts, the client has only made their legal situation worse and more difficult to handle.
To conclude, any individual seeking legal assistance should take care to give all the information he or she can to their attorney. The confidentiality rules mentioned above also apply to consultations. If one meets with an attorney and shares information in a consultation, that information is also protected from disclosure. Therefore, one can feel safe to share information in order for their attorney to give a thorough and complete consultation on the case. Only through honest, full and complete communication can the attorney/client relationship really work.
At Kuzmich Law Firm, we strongly believe in the idea of full and frank communication. Confidentiality is a key component of this type of communication. If you have been involved in an accident that resulted in an injury or you have been charged with a criminal offense, please immediately contact our firm to discuss your case.
Steve Kuzmich is a Board Certified – Personal Injury Trial Lawyer by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. The Kuzmich Law Firms’ focus practice areas are auto and trucking accidents, wrongful death and other serious injuries, injuries caused by drunk drivers, injuries to children and the elderly, (slip and fall accidents) premises liability, and dog bite cases. For further information about personal injury litigation, contact us today at 972.434.1555.
*This article was originally published on SeanJKilgore.com; Sean Kilgore is a Criminal Defense Attorney with the Kuzmich Law Firm P.C.