Since the “Great Recession”, cost saving on litigation continues to be a grave concern for practically everyone involved. The states’ judiciary systems are just one of the many; attempting to save costs on judicial resources, states continue to put pressure on both parties to settle. Florida recently passed a Proposal for Settlement Statute related to alleged negligence in civil actions that, among other things, imposes sanctions on litigants who reject settlement proposals if they do not receive a larger damage award at trial than the settlement proposal. Specifically, the statue contains the following language:
In any civil action for damages filed in the courts of this state, if a defendant files an offer of judgment which is not accepted by the plaintiff within 30 days, the defendant shall be entitled to recover reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred by her or him or on the defendant’s behalf pursuant to a policy of liability insurance or other contract from the date of filing of the offer if the judgment is one of no liability or the judgment obtained by the plaintiff is at least 25 percent less than such offer, and the court shall set off such costs and attorney’s fees against the award. Where such costs and attorney’s fees total more than the judgment, the court shall enter judgment for the defendant against the plaintiff for the amount of the costs and fees, less the amount of the plaintiff’s award. If a plaintiff files a demand for judgment which is not accepted by the defendant within 30 days and the plaintiff recovers a judgment in an amount at least 25 percent greater than the offer, she or he shall be entitled to recover reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred from the date of the filing of the demand. If rejected, neither an offer nor demand is admissible in subsequent litigation, except for pursuing the penalties of this section.
An accurate and credible damages settlement tool can be an effective and less costly means to (i) assess the economic damages associated with a lost earnings claim (e.g., personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful termination, failure to promote), and (ii) have a successful settlement. The article, “Lost Compensation Settlement Tool Allows You to Assess Economic Damages Accurately and Efficiently, under Various Scenarios”, provides additional information on a settlement tool.