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Understanding Your Privacy Rights as a Personal Injury Litigant

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Anyone who has had the misfortune of being forced to file a personal injury lawsuit can tell you that the process can tough. Many plaintiffs anticipate that the hardest part of their lawsuit will be convincing a jury to believe them, so they are often surprised when they are forced to turn over a large volume of personal information to the attorneys of the party they are suing. Hiring an attorney who is skilled in protecting your privacy during a lawsuit is something most people do not think about when looking for an attorney, but it is one of the most important things to consider when finding someone to bring your case.

How is My Personal Privacy Put at Risk in a Lawsuit?

Every lawsuit is different, but it is especially common in personal injury lawsuits for plaintiffs to be forced to either turn over or allow someone to review their personal information. This includes W-2s, pay stubs, information about their employment, insurance policies, how much money they make, and what benefits they have. It can also include other incredibly personal information like medical records and notes from doctor’s visits. Further, defense counsel may even try to force you to give them your driver’s license social security numbers.

This is a Lawsuit, Won’t My Information be Kept Private?

Most of us safeguard this kind of information to protect ourselves from identity theft and fraud. While you make think the seriousness and formality of a lawsuit would mitigate the risk of the personal information you share as part of that lawsuit becoming compromised, even within a lawsuit there are opportunities for that to happen. One example is through photocopy files.

As part of a lawsuit, it is common practice for a professional photocopier to collect a plaintiff’s personal information and disseminate it to other parties. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure, professional photocopiers must keep copies of this information for at least six months after the case has been finalized. Like any other information stored electronically, this information can become accessible to skilled criminals and other hackers. You have no control over the security precautions these professional photocopiers take to safeguard your information.

How Can a Skilled Attorney from J&L Law Help Protect My Privacy?

At J&Y Law, we work to protect your information from the first moment you sit down with us. Our internal file management is designed to ensure as little of your personal information as possible could ever be compromised. We also have extensive experience in limiting the scope of discovery such that it only allows opposing counsel to access matters relevant to your case—not unnecessary personal information. We aggressively push back against overly broad discovery requests and will always discuss your exposure concerns in advance to ensure we protect you as much as we can.

Considering Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Your privacy matters. The simple fact that you have been forced to file a personal injury lawsuit does not mean you surrender your right to keep your sensitive information confidential. At J&Y Law, our experienced California personal injury attorneys will always work to protect you fully throughout the process of your lawsuit. Contact us today to learn more about your options.


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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.