People take legal matters into their own hands every day, and sometimes they lose money and property in the process. You can make a legally binding contract without using an attorney, but you are risking missing some big legal loopholes and laws you may not be familiar with that can not only make your contract invalid but can actually cost you in the end. When you are selling or purchasing real estate, tackling the creation of a will or even just loaning money to a friend, a consultation with an attorney can be a positive step. I'll show you when and why you need an attorney.
Car accidents often occur at times when your life is already overflowing with stressful situations. It's all too easy to find yourself sitting in a totaled car after finding out you're getting divorced or losing your job, either due to the stress that caused a lapse in attention or simply due to poor timing. But if you're hoping to stay private after a serious accident and still want compensation, what can you do? Choosing your options carefully can help you maintain privacy and still receive the compensation you're due after an accident.
Taking a Settlement
If maintaining your privacy is the highest priority in your case, taking a settlement or agreeing to out-of-court arbitration is your best choice. This is because all of the documents and material related to these settlement methods are automatically private and sealed. In contrast, every detail of a court case is a matter of public record unless the judge specifically seals some or all of the records. Anything you say, or anything anyone else claims about you, in court will be published for anyone else to request and read at their leisure.
Even some of your medical records, social media posts, or other sensitive information could be included in the public records for the case. For many celebrities, business owners, and abuse victims trying to stay hidden from their abusers, this makes settlement the only option they're willing to take.
Proving a Risk
Sometimes a court case is the only option because the other party is not willing or able to settle out of court. In these cases, you may be able to convince a judge to seal the records of the case after the verdict is reached so no one can access them. However, this does nothing to stop your name from being associated with the case while it's ongoing, which can be a problem for people afraid of a personal risk due to having their identity exposed.
Cases involving relocated witnesses and survivors of abuse can sometimes proceed from the beginning with the names of the involved parties redacted from all public notifications and documents. You'll need an experienced lawyer's help to achieve this level of privacy from the start of the case, especially when you're also involving local police departments that also need to redact your name from their records to maintain your privacy across all related documents.
Weighing the Results
In some cases, insisting on complete privacy as part of your settlement may lower the total amount of compensation you receive. The other party may consider it a concession to you and try to negotiate for a lower monetary award in return. If you don't specify confidentiality as part of your settlement agreement, the other party may still have a right to share their side of the story regarding the accident after everything is settled. This is why you definitely need a lawyer's help before entering into a settlement arrangement meeting with an insurance company, fellow driver, or car manufacturer.
Understanding Police Reports
Finally, there's always a good chance of your name being associated with the details of the car accident at some point due to the public release of police records. Unless you move immediately after the accident to have them redacted or sealed, you'll at least have to deal with a 30 to 60 day public review period in which anyone can request the police records for your accident. This is why immediate action is necessary to maintain your privacy after an accident, even if you don't plan to press a case against someone else for negligence in causing the car accident.
Contact a law firm like the Walter Bailey Law Firm for more information.Share