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When can my attorney break confidentiality?

Saint Louis, MO |
Filed under: Professional ethics

When can an attorney break confidentiality (besides if I was going to hurt someone). For example, if I told an attorney, during the course of them being hired by me, that I was physically sick from the case (throwing up blood, feeling really down/depressed, etc) would they be able to reveal that to anyone else? When can an attorney break confidentiality>

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Your attorney can only break the attorney/client privilege if you sue him (because he has the right to defend himself) or to prevent a future crime committed by you.

    We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.


  2. Ad always, Ms. Sargent is right. But there are also some areas where your consent is implied or presumed. For instance, if you hire an attorney to represent you in a particular case it's reasonable that s/he would tell folks that you have hired him or her. If you are claiming injuries not only would the attorney tell others about it, but would be expected to collect and disseminate your medical records.

    On the other hand sometimes it is advantageous to consult an attorney but not disclose that fact. It can scare off the other party, even if it makes sense to know the legal consequences of what you are doing.

    Visit with your attorney about these issues. If you car, so does the attorney.


  3. If you are ill due to the issue over which you are suing, the attorney will make that part of your case, since that would be part of the damages. If the issue has nothing to do with your case, the attorney will (and should) keep it to himself. The exceptions would be, as you note, if you are likely to harm someone, or as my colleague notes, when a lawyer is sued for malpractice.

    I am licensed in Pennsylvania. Members of my firm are licensed in various states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. We handle cases involving personal injury (car accidents slip and falls, etc.,) medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, workers' compensation and social security disability. This post is not legal advice, but instead contains general educational information. Please do not act or refrain from acting based upon what you read in this post. Also please remember that this post does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and me. If you have specific legal questions, you should contact an attorney in your state for assistance.

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