Although you would never know it by reading the papers, most personal injury cases are resolved outside of a courtroom without any need for a jury trial. In many of these out-of-court settlements, the negligent party may ask for a confidentiality provision in return for paying compensation. A confidentiality provision prohibits the party receiving compensation from disclosing the amount of the payment or speaking to others about the settlement. If you’re injured by another person’s negligence in southern California, discuss your legal options and rights at once with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Especially in recent years, as more of us are using online social media, defendants in personal injury settlements are taking confidentiality agreements very seriously. Recently, Patrick Snay of Miami learned that the hard way. In 2011, Snay and Miami’s Gulliver Preparatory School agreed that Snay would receive $80,000 as the settlement in an age discrimination case. A confidentiality provision prohibited Snay from telling anyone “directly or indirectly” about the settlement, its terms, or its conditions. Although this case concerned discrimination, the confidentiality provision was precisely the same as the provision routinely included in many personal injury settlements.
When Snay’s daughter told more than a thousand of her Facebook friends about the settlement, the Gulliver Preparatory School told Snay’s attorneys that he had broken the confidentiality agreement and would not receive the $80,000. The Third District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida sided with the school, and Shay never saw a cent of the settlement.
Don’t let this prevent you from filing a personal injury claim if you’re injured in the Los Angeles area. It simply means that just as you expect the other side to keep its own commitments in a personal injury settlement, you really must hold up your own end of any such agreement. Before signing, discuss the terms of any personal injury settlement with your attorney. If you sustain any personal injury due to another person’s negligence – in a traffic collision, at a supermarket or restaurant, or as a result of medical malpractice – discuss your circumstances at once with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney.