still be able to use it as evidence at a later date if I need to?
Intuition would dictate that rendering a settlement confidential might prevent embarrassment to a settling party who does not want others to know that they were injured. It would also likely be useful to keep the terms of a settlement confidential, something more often sought by the defense in a civil context. That would prevent disclosure of the settlement terms by the parties. One potential drawback of confidentiality is that the result cannot be used to let others know about the defendant's conduct in an effort to further hold them accountable in 'the court of public opinion', should you choose to do so. I imagine sealing a settlement could be imposed by the court if one or both of the parties are minors and/or have some measure of disability, and the court seeks to keep the issues and facts from view by the public.
A confidential settlement agreement generally includes a provision in it that does not allow it to be used for most future purposes. They also typically include a penalty for use or disclosure of the confidential settlement agreement in any way that is not allowed per the terms of the agreement.
You may want to consult with a lawyer about your particular case and the pros and cons of entering into a confidential settlement agreement.
You will not be able to use the settlement agreement as evidence if the parties agree to keep its terms confidential. The ONLY exception that I have experienced, and it was an odd case, is where the settlement agreement was subpoenaed by another party and the judge - over objection - ordered it produced. You have not provided enough facts as to the circumstances of your question and therefore I would suggest that you consult with a local attorney who can hear your concerns and render an opinion.
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