Are Car Accident Settlements Public Record?
In a prior blog post, I discussed the topic of clients who are embarrassed to have a personal injury claim (see: https://barthelettelaw.com/embarrassed-to-have-a-personal-injury-claim/). On a related note, clients ask me whether car accident settlements are public record. I believe clients ask me this question because they are embarrassed people might learn about their car accident.
I will discuss this issue in this blog post.
At the outset, I must note that given Florida’s broad public record laws, social media, and the internet, our lives are open books. For better or worse, many details of our lives are public.
But are car accident settlements public record?
Maybe. It generally depends on if and when you settle.
First: If There is No Lawsuit, Your Car Accident Settlement Will Likely Not Be Public Record
Generally, if you settle your car accident before you file a lawsuit, your car accident settlement will not be public record. This is because you did not use the court system.
In Florida, court proceedings are part of the public record. Florida’s public records laws are broad. While certain court proceedings and information will not be part of the public record, car accident cases are generally part of the public record.
Please note, though, that your car accident settlement is part of a different record.
Insurance companies keep track of all claims you make, including car accident claims. So there is a record of your past car accident claim(s).
Second: If You File A Lawsuit, Your Car Accident Settlement May Be Public Record
Once you file a lawsuit, your car accident case becomes public record.
Now, if you settle your car accident case before trial, the details of your car accident settlement will likely not be public record. This is because the details of car accidents settlements – such as the settlement amount – are usually not in the public records.
However, there are exceptions.
If you go to trial and there is a jury verdict, the jury verdict is public record. Additionally, there may be instances when during court proceedings the settlement amount will be public record.
For example, on occasion parties may have a dispute as to whether they reached a settlement. This requires the parties to have the court decide whether there was, in fact, a settlement. When this happens, the details of your potential car accident settlement may become public record.
Third: Don’t Let The Issue Whether Car Accident Settlements Are Public Record Deter You From Pursuing Your Car Accident Claim
Just because your potential car accident settlement might become public record should not deter you from filing a car accident claim.
Our civil justice system is designed to help car accident victims with the financial and emotional fallout from car accidents. There is nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of with exercising your legal rights.
Call Barthelette Law, Your Boca Raton Car Accident Attorney
At Barthelette Law, we have many years of experience handling car accidents.
If you are still asking yourself, “Are car accidents public record?,” and want to discuss this issue further, don’t hesitate to call us today. We are here to answer all of your questions.
We are Barthelette Law, your Boca Raton car accident attorney!
 Generally, court records are considered public record. The exceptions can be found in Florida Statute Section 119.0714, which is found here: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0100-0199/0119/Sections/0119.0714.html