Personal injury settlements may include clauses that preclude people from talking about the details. If injured due to the negligence of another, people may consider seeking compensatory damages for their associated losses. Before such claims reach trial verdicts, the defendants and plaintiffs involved often reach settlement agreements. In addition to agreeing to a payment amount, the parties in such cases may also include other provisions, such as nondisclosure clauses, in their settlements.
Keeping Settlement Agreements Private
As part of legally binding personal injury settlement contracts, defendants or plaintiffs may ask for confidentiality clauses. Also referred to as nondisclosure agreements, such contract provisions may specify the information people may disclose to others, to whom they may give details of the settlement, and what will happen if either party violates the agreement. For instance, a confidentiality clause may indicate that the plaintiff cannot detail information regarding how the accident occurred or the amount they received. It may further specify that the defendant cannot publicly discuss the plaintiff’s condition or medical treatment.
Confidentiality clauses may also place limitations on the legal representatives involved in settlement cases. However, according to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct, settlement agreements cannot prohibit lawyers from disclosing publicly available facts about the case.
Common Reasons for Confidentiality Requests
Defendants or plaintiffs in personal injury claims may request confidentiality clauses in their settlements for any number of reasons. Often, defendants in such cases seek to keep the details private to avoid encouraging others from filing similar claims. Additionally, they may ask for nondisclosure agreements to help limit the potential damage to their businesses or brands that consumer accidents or the resultant lawsuits may cause. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, may wish to avoid family, friends, or acquaintances asking for financial help or to keep personal information about their injuries and treatment from the public.
Violating a Confidentiality Clause
Confidentiality clauses may include provisions for the potential consequences of a violation by the defendant or the plaintiff. For instance, a personal injury settlement agreement may specify that should the plaintiff break the contract, he or she must repay the settlement amount. Such clauses may also require whoever violates them to pay the other party monetary liquidated damages, injunctive relief, and legal costs.
Following through with the provisions of their settlement agreements may help those injured avoid legal disputes or issues that may derail their recoveries.