During Litigation, Can the Plaintiff Contact the Defendant Directly Without Going Through an Attorney First?

The answer is yes. The lawyer answer is there is no rule against speaking with an opposing party, but your lawyer would rather you did not for the sake the litigation. Listed below are a few ground rules.

Always Be Polite

Depending on the size of your community, you may run into the opposing party in the grocery store or at the doctor’s. Always be kind and polite. Say hello and hold the door open. You are under no obligation to have long conversations, but there is no need to be rude.

If you are in conflict with a family member, things are going to get much more difficult. If you find things difficult, it would be a good idea to involving a therapist or professional counselor to help with the interpersonal issues.

If what begins as a personal injury claim proceeds into a lawsuit you will see the opposing party in the courthouse several times. You will see them in the courtroom, and you may bump them in the parking lot, the lobby, and the elevator as you go to and from your court dates. These situations can be tense because you have come prepared to watch your attorney argue your side of the case, but it is vital to keep your composure when you are near the courthouse because there are law enforcement personnel all around.

Do your best to remain cordial outside the courtroom. If you think you might have an issue, arrive 25 to 15 minutes early and take the stairs, so you do not run into the opposing party.

Lawyers Cannot Speak to Represented Parties Without Their Attorneys

If you have hired an attorney, the opposing party’s attorney is never allowed to speak to you without your attorney present. He or she can acknowledge you and be polite, but he or she cannot discuss your case or attempt to settle the case with you without your attorney’s consent.

If an opposing attorney ever approaches you and asks to speak with you without your attorney, politely decline, and tell your attorney immediately.

In Fact, Do Not Speak About the Litigation to Anyone at All

This is a good rule for everyone in all areas of law. Do not speak about current legal cases to anyone. If you are working through a personal injury claim, the only people you should be talking it through with are your attorney, the other lawyers, and support staff in the office, and any family member included in the case.

Leave all mentions of the case off social media, so the posts do not come up at trial. Do not speak about the case with your social acquaintances so litigation strategy does not get leaked to the other side. Do not even speak about your case with your extended family. Family fights, gossip, speculations, and back-biting can lead to conflicting testimony and witness impeachment at worst and hurt feelings at best.

Once you have said something, you cannot take it back. Try to keep all discussion of your personal injury claim between you and your lawyer.

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