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The Importance of Attorney-Client Privilege in Personal Injury Sexual Assault Cases

In law, the attorney-client privilege promises that all communication between an attorney and their client will remain confidential. If, however, an attorney communicates with their client in front of a third party, the attorney-client privilege may not apply.

Attorney-client privilege is crucial for all types of personal injury cases, especially for those involving sexual assault. The information that a sexual assault victim will communicate to their personal injury attorney will be especially sensitive and just as important for building a solid case against the perpetrator.

Let’s delve into the importance of attorney-client privilege in personal injury sexual assault cases, what this privilege is and how it can help you feel more confident and comfortable when it comes to working through the challenging ins and outs of a sexual assault case.

The Specifics of Attorney-Client Privilege

The attorney-client privilege is not an unwritten law or invisible ethic. It is a law. Everything shared between an attorney and their client under certain circumstances may not be shared anywhere else. Should the attorney break this rule, they risk being disbarred.

However, some guidelines and limitations dictate where, when, and how attorney-client privilege begins and ends.

When Attorney-Client Privilege Begins and Ends

After a personal injury claim, such as from a car or slip-and-fall accident, attorney-client privilege generally applies if one or more of the following conditions are met:

  • You already have a relationship with this attorney
  • The meeting’s purpose is to get legal help
  • The attorney agrees to legal professional status in the meeting
  • You expect that the information you share with this attorney will be kept confidential
  • The attorney does not explicitly mention that anything you say in the meeting will not be kept confidential.

Should you meet with a personal injury attorney and disclose sensitive information about your sexual assault case under circumstances that do not apply to the above criteria, your attorney-client privilege may not hold up.

Caveats to Attorney-Client Privilege

There are, of course, times when you should not expect attorney-client privilege to apply. These include speaking out loud about sensitive case information in public or over the phone while in public.

Posting anything about your case on social media also revokes attorney-client privilege. Essentially, you should avoid speaking about your case in public around others entirely, especially if sexual assault is involved.

The Benefits of Attorney-Client Privilege for Sexual Assault Cases

In sexual assault personal injury cases, especially, exceedingly sensitive information will have to pass between attorney and client, which must be kept confidential.

For the victim to build the strongest possible case, they must share as much as possible about what happened during the incident, what events led up to it, and any pre-existing conditions.

How Attorney-Client Privilege Helps Build & Win Sexual Assault Cases

It’s no secret that anyone who lives through sexual assault harbors trauma, post-traumatic stress, and other signs and symptoms of severe mental anguish.

The attorney-client privilege, in this scenario, can work for the victim’s benefit by assuring them that, under the right circumstances, everything they say will be kept confidential. Still, providing them with resources they can use to cope with their scarring remains elemental.

The attorney-client privilege also works towards building the best case to award the plaintiff the best possible damages. Sexual assault victims will likely have to relive triggering events when reconstructing what happened to their attorney. Knowing that this information will always remain entirely secret may help the victim talk about important events.

What Happens When a Client Holds Back Important Information?

In any personal injury case, holding back crucial information is almost always more likely to damage your claim than help it.

In a sexual assault case, it will be particularly stressful for the victim to disclose important details and specifics about what happened, but it is almost always worth it. Your sexual assault attorney could provide you with the necessary help and resources you’ll need to make reconstructing what happened possible.

Despite what the client may believe, their attorney will often know exactly how and when to use this information in their case to their highest benefit. Ultimately, being as honest and transparent as possible from the outset is always better.

Win Maximum Damages for Your San Diego Sexual Assault Case With Trusted Lawyers from HHJ Trial Attorneys

Deciding to litigate your sexual assault case is a huge step in itself. Recovering the damages you deserve starts with hiring experienced, trustworthy help. The San Diego sexual assault attorneys at HHJ have successfully litigated many sexual assault cases, providing their clients with the appropriate guidance and legal help along the way. We encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible for a free consultation.

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