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In our last article we discussed what an Offer of Settlement was and gave you a basic overview of how it could affect the final outcome of your settlement in a case. In this week’s post we will delve a little deeper into the laws governing an Offer of Settlement as well as discuss some of the strategies that your attorney may utilize to gain the greatest effect from this valuable tool.

A Word of Caution

It is often said, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”; when it comes to legal issues that is definitely the case. So, let me offer a word of caution before we get into more specific examples. Every case must be judged on its own merit and there are no cookie cutter solutions in the law.

Please, keep in mind that the situation, described in this article, is offered for illustrative purposes only and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. Only your attorney, with the facts of your case, in hand and their experience dealing with the local courts and opposing lawyers can determine what an appropriate strategy for your case is.


As with all things involving a court case, of any type, an Offer of Settlement is governed by very strict procedural rules. Just a glance at those involved gives you some idea of the pace at which you can expect a case to proceed.

  • The plaintiff (that’s you), has to wait 90 days after the formal filing of a case before sending the defendant an Offer of Settlement. This is to give them time to do their due diligence and evaluate the case.
  • A Defendant in a case can send an offer after 45 days of the suit being filed.
  • An Offer of Settlement cannot be filed within 45 days of the suits’ scheduled court date.
  • All offers are open for thirty days from the time of receipt and then automatically expire.
  • An offer can be withdrawn at any time before being accepted, but it is then void and you lose the possibility of recovering your legal fees.

Offer of Settlement Strategies

There are many strategies that can be played out when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit and it is best to discuss them with your attorney just so you know what is happening, but remember you are paying him for his experience and expertise. It is best to listen to him.

As an example, you may think you have a very strong case and your attorney may be certain that you do. You are hoping to recover $100,000 or more. Logic would dictate that send an Offer of Settlement for the 100 grand to the defendant’s lawyer. Your attorney, based on past experience, dealing with the defense, on similar cases, may know that they never settle. Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies are notorious for this. Based on his knowledge he may suggest sending an Offer of Settlement for only $20,000. Why?

Because this amount is low enough that any settlement you receive will very likely exceed this amount by the prerequisite 25% needed to have his fees covered by the defense and is low enough that even if your opponents are mostly successful in their defense, you are still likely to be awarded a token by the jury that will save you from having to pay the insurance company’s legal fees. You have to remember that nothing ever 100% certain once you go to court. It is a safe course of action.

This is only the simplest of scenarios that may be played out. To do the subject any real justice would and in fact does cover several rather hefty books. Suffice it to say this is where the chess and poker games that we discussed in our first article begin to play out. It is all move and counter move, bluff and push. The secret is to have the most experienced player on your side, regardless of the hand your dealt or pieces on the board.