What Is A Proposal For Settlement In Florida English

What is a Proposal for Settlement in Florida?

Whether it be a lawsuit following a car accident, slip and fall, trip and fall, or some other incident involving personal injury, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure typically guide litigation. Florida Statute § 768.79 (offer of judgment and demand for judgment) and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 (proposals for settlement) provides the framework and specifics for obtaining legal fees and costs when a party rejects a formal offer to settle a case. A Proposal for settlement or “PFS” for short is a valuable litigation tool used to put pressure on parties to settle lawsuits. In short, a PFS essentially is a legally binding document submitted by one party to the opposing party and specifically identifies the monetary amount the serving party desires for settlement.

How Does a Proposal for Settlement Work?

A proposal for settlement in Florida can be filed by either party to a lawsuit. A valid proposal can serve to create an opportunity for your client to recover his or her fees incurred in prosecuting or defending a claim where otherwise no contractual or statutory fee claim exists. It can also serve as a useful bargaining chip at mediation or post-trial setting. Proposals for settlement are most often used in personal injury cases; however, they can be utilized in other cases as well.

In Florida, if your case goes to trial and you receive (via judgment) at least twenty-five percent less money than the amount of the defendant’s proposal, then you are required by the court to pay the defendant’s attorneys’ fees and costs, which accrued from the date of the proposal for settlement through the date of the judgment. This can be a considerable sum of money and increases your risk of losing additional money. Likewise, if you get a net judgment that is twenty-five percent or greater than the amount of the proposal for settlement that you offered to the defendant, then the defendant has to pay your attorneys’ fees and costs.

Any proposal for settlement must be in writing and contain the following:

  • The offer must state that it is being made pursuant to rule 1.442 and Fla. Stat. § 768.79
  • The Offer must name the party or parties making the proposal and the names of the party or parties to whom the Offer is being made.
  • The Offer must state the claims it is seeking to resolve either by stating that it is intended to settle all claims, or by specifying the claims by Count.
  • The Offer must state with particularity any relevant conditions.
  • The Offer must state with particularity the amount proposed to settle a claim for punitive damages, if punitive damages are part of the legal claim.
  • The Rule requires that an Offer state whether it includes the amount of attorney’s fees that might be awarded to the offeree and whether attorney’s fees are part of the offeree’s legal claim.
  • The Offer must be served in the same manner as any other pleading in the case and must include a certificate of service indicating the date of service.

When Should a PFS be Served?

A PFS should be served on a defendant no earlier than 90 days from service of process. On a plaintiff no earlier than 90 days after the action has been commenced. No later than 45 days before the date set for trial or the first day of the docket on which the case is set for trial, whichever is earlier. A proposal shall be deemed rejected unless accepted by delivery of written notice within 30 days after service of proposal.

If your or someone you know has been injured, let the injury attorneys at Suarez & Montero review the circumstances of your accident and discuss your legal options. Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights.

Contact us today at 786 Lawyers for a free consultation!