Recently, I’ve posted about being honest and careful with your lawyer. It is important to make sure that you fully discuss problems with your lawyer.
It is also important for the lawyer to completely discuss case matters with the client. It is then incumbent upon the client to make sure that those discussions remain confidential.
All client/attorney discussions are confidential, but the client can waive that confidentiality. Once waived, confidentiality may be waived with regard to a large number of things, not just the particular part of the conversation that the injured worker disclosed.
Recently, I have seen portions of my discussions with my clients appearing in chart notes. The insurance company then offers those chart notes into evidence, disclosing my strategy discussions with a doctor who noted it in her chart notes. This is almost always a problem.
It is imperative that injured workers be part of the process for deciding how cases will be presented and processed. Unfortunately, the injured person should not share this with anyone else except at the direction of his or her attorney.
Sharing confidential discussions, even with the doctor, can result in difficult questions being presented to the injured person while they are on the stand.
We could face a situation where the defense lawyer could claim that the discussion with the doctor has rendered attorney/client privilege completely moot and that the defense attorney is now able to inquire directly of the injured worker regarding all conversations had with the attorney.
While it would be unethical to ask about settlement negotiation discussions, the potential is there for the defense attorney to ask about almost anything.
Again, unless the attorney has specifically requested that the injured person inquire about a specific issue, it is probably best not to raise any of the confidential discussions had between the attorney and the client with the doctor.