The legal system – both here in Maryland and throughout the country – is designed to protect the rights of both plaintiffs and defendants. Each side should be able to present their case accurately and expect a fair outcome.
Personal injury cases are no different. Lawyers on both sides are expected to do everything they can to support their clients, from collecting and analyzing evidence to enlisting the help of expert witnesses. In some instances, defense attorneys may decide to contact the victim for relevant information – for example, during the discovery phase of a trial when both sides are exchanging information and building their strategies.
This brings up some potentially tricky legal and ethical issues. A defense attorney is generally allowed to contact the plaintiff in a personal injury case, but it’s not necessarily a given. And if communication is allowed, most jurisdictions have rules in place to protect plaintiffs against potential harassment, intimidation or manipulation.
Here are some points to keep in mind when determining whether or not a defense attorney can contact a personal injury victim in Maryland.
Victim’s rights laws. Maryland’s victims’ rights laws are a set of rules that spell out what a victim can expect from the legal process – everything from how they are notified about court proceedings to witness impact statements and support services that are available to them.
Court orders or protective orders. In addition to these victim’s rights laws and depending on the details of the case, a court might issue a specific order that spells out how and when a defense lawyer can communicate with a victim.
Rules of professional conduct. Maryland has very clear rules that govern attorney behavior. Attorneys are generally expected to act with integrity, honesty and respect for everyone involved in the process.
Victim advocates. In some cases, defense attorneys are required to contact victims via a third party such as a victim advocate. These intermediaries facilitate communication between the two parties, while also ensuring that the victim’s rights are protected.
If you are planning to file a personal injury claim, hiring a qualified lawyer is a smart idea for many reasons – including the fact that they can help you understand your rights with regard to communication with defense attorneys. While the legal system generally allows these attorneys to contact victims, there are limits on what they can and can’t do. Having a seasoned professional to advise you on your rights can help protect you and give you peace of mind.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and you think someone else is at fault for your injuries, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.