Should You Sign A Confidentiality Clause In Your Personal Injury Settlement?
If your personal injury case, if your case settles, the other side will want you to sign a confidentiality agreement. Whether that’s a good idea for you is something to discuss with your personal injury attorney, but knowing what a confidentiality clause is, may help you decide what to do.
Why Do They Want You to Sign a Confidentiality Clause?
Insurance companies and Defendants want you to sign a confidentiality agreement for the same reasons you probably imagine that they want you to: they don’t want the world knowing that they settle cases, and for how much. They fear that if the world knows that you received X dollars in your case, that other people will rush to sue, thinking they, too will get X dollars.
Types of Clauses
Irrational or not, you will have to decide whether to sign a confidentiality agreement if you want to settle your case. But what is a confidentiality agreement?
The confidentiality agreement is your promise not to tell a soul about your case. There really are different kinds of confidentiality agreements.
In one, the agreement says you won’t tell anybody about the facts of your case, how it happened, whether you sued, or what happened in the lawsuit–nothing about the incident, accident or lawsuit.
Other confidentiality agreements are less broad, and will require that you keep the terms of the settlement itself secret, but you could talk about the facts of the case itself.
Some even go so far as to prohibit you from ever saying anything bad about the Defendant at all–related to the case, settlement or anything else. If you fall in Walmart, settle your case, sign a confidentiality clause like this one, and then post on Facebook “Walmart is a terrible store,” you could be violating your clause, even though you didn’t actually say anything about your case or settlement.
This kind of clause is actually a non-disparagement clause, and is more like censorship than confidentiality.
Who Can You Tell?
Technically, confidentiality agreements aren’t limited to social media or the evening news; they restrict you from talking about your settlement to anybody–even including close friends and family. Telling your wife at the dinner table when you settled for would be a violation of your confidentiality clause.
Many people ask whether the insurance company or Defendant would even know if they broke the confidentiality clause. If you are just telling your husband or wife privately, the answer is probably no, they wouldn’t find out, and in all likelihood, the Defendant doesn’t care if you told your spouse, even though you aren’t supposed to.
However, if you tell your spouse, and she tells her friends at the local salon, or he tells his buddies at the sports bar, or your son posts something on social media…now you could have a problem.
And, if you are planning on telling the world about the injustices that a company placed on you, or about the carelessness of corporate America, a confidentiality clause may not work for you.
Call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at Barbas Nunez Sanders Butler & Hovsepian for help today. We can help you from start to finish in your personal injury case. Schedule a consultation today.