Should a person sign a release that bounds them to silence to never discuss the case to any third party unless required by law?

Asked about 1 year ago - Houston, TX

Why does the defending party want this statement? This is a personal injury case.

Attorney answers (9)

  1. Robert C. Slim

    Contributor Level 14

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It's called a "confidentiality clause." Most of the time, these clauses are used when you have settled with a popular or well-known company. They want these clauses in order to prevent future claims by people who might be impressed with your settlement and, therefore, will view this particular defendant as a "cash cow." Be careful! These clauses can be written very broadly to a point where you can be in breach just by casually discussing your case with your friends and neighbors. I usually limit the confidentiality clause just to disclosures in the "public media." That is, you would agree not to discuss the details of the settlement only through any public media, press releases, book, magazine, radio, advertisements, etc. This way you don't get in trouble for innocently discussing the settlement in a casual or informal private setting.

  2. Yaniv Kenan

    Contributor Level 11

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Please discuss with your attorney

    The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response is for educational purposes only. I have not... more
  3. Draper Tobias Rodriguez

    Contributor Level 13

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . To be honest I never see a problem with this. The carrier usually doesn't want settlement amounts becoming common knowledge which can be used against them.

    The answering of this question does not constitute a attorney-client relationship. Further by answering this... more
  4. Samuel Cohen

    Contributor Level 20

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It's fine, especially if they are willing to pay extra forit. Discuss this with your lawyer. If you do not have one, get one. The insurance company may be trying to shut you up because they are offering you a pittance.

    The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am... more
  5. Michael R Crosner

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sadly this has become a norm when defendants want to keep the contents & amounts of their settlement confidential. Sometimes it is the only way the defense will agree to settle a case. Of course if the case goes to trail and a verdict for the plaintiff is rendered there would be no such requirement. It is also often done by the defense to keep other plaintiff's from ever learning of earlier similar cases that have been settled. You should discuss your case in detail with a local attorney before signing any releaase.

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney .... more
  6. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you can't keep a secret, probably a bad idea.

  7. Richard Kurt Arbuckle

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with what the other lawyers have said, but if the amount of the settlement is large, the IRS will try to tax it as consideration for confidentiality. While injury damages are generally not taxable, confidentiality money is. It is best to 1) make the defendant pay something for confidentiality and 2) set out what that is in the settlement so it will be separate from the injury damages.

    This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be... more
  8. Philip Anthony Fabiano

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Such clauses have been routine. i do not like them. One of the purposes of such cases is to deter similar acts and omissions for the same defendant and to others similarly situated and confidentiality stifles this goal of litigation. For the most part, my clients do not care and want the settlement so i certainly cannot tell my client to reject the clause and move forward with the case.
    There is also a benefit to the client. Sometimes when a case is resolved my clients learn they have relatives and friends they never thought they had. They need some money or a loan and may become resentful when they know how much you received. With the confidentiality agreement, my clients can tell such folks that the amount is confidential and they will have to pay the money back and more if they disclose the amount to anyone. They can simply say the case was favorably resolved and that is all that can be sent.
    You should discuss with your attorney whether there is an adverse tax consequence to you for agreeing to a confidentiality agreement. There just may be.

    If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you... more
  9. Josh P Tolin

    Contributor Level 19

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Almost all of my work is malpractice and a lot of times they demand a confidentiality clause. Many times I do not have a problem with this because I have found that it protects my clients against many of their relatives looking for handouts. Unfortunately, when one of your relatives thinks you are getting a big chunk of money, you would be first on the list of people to go to. I always look at this on a case by case basis, because sometimes I will not agree to the confidentiality, but in others, if I feel it is in my clients best interest I will encourage it, but leave it up to them. It is always nice for you to make your attorney the "bad" guy and tell anyone asking for a handout the settlement was confidential, and not very much and they will never know.

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Personal injury

If you suffer a personal injury as the result of the actions or negligence of another, you may seek financial compensation for physical or emotional damages.

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