Q: If I admit fault to an attorney, will our conversation remain privileged even if I don’t hire him to represent me?
When you meet with an attorney about your crash, everything you tell that lawyer is confidential and off the record, because your communications with attorneys are privileged. Attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that assures that what you tell an attorney will be kept confidential. This is true even if you don’t hire that lawyer.
In order to be able to offer the best possible defense, attorneys need to know all the information a prospective client has regarding a charge or claim. If, for example, you were in a car crash and you know you were partially at fault, your attorney will not be able to defend you effectively without knowing that fact. If, in the process of selecting an attorney to represent you, you admit fault to attorneys you end up not hiring, they are also bound by attorney-client privilege.
Exceptions to Attorney-Client Privilege in Maryland
However, the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct make some exceptions. For example, the law requires lawyers to reveal secrets that would prevent bodily harm or death, which is mainly relevant in criminal cases and not personal injury cases. Also, sometimes attorney are ordered to reveal information by a judge. In this case, they are required to break privilege, but can fight the requirement by appealing to a higher court.
Typically, anything you say to a lawyer, even if you don’t hire that attorney, will be kept confidential. This means that a lawyer you don’t hire isn’t going to tell the insurance company what you said or that you were partially responsible for the crash. If you need advice after a car crash of variety, feel free to consult Nickelsporn & Lundin, P.C. at 301-942-9118