Every year, a number of people in Florida and throughout the United States are injured in a variety of accidents. Injured parties often file personal injury lawsuits against the at-fault party. Personal injury litigation is governed by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Most personal injury cases never make it to trial. In fact, more than 90 percent are settled before a jury verdict.
Proposals for settlements (PFS) are creations of the Florida legislature. Rule 1.442 creates the guidelines and parameters for the service of a PFS. A PFS must be made in writing and include:
- The party or parties making the proposal as well as the party or parties to whom the proposal is being made;
- A clause that states that the proposal decides all damages that would otherwise be awarded in a final judgment in the action in which the proposal is served;
- Any conditions;
- The entire amount of the proposal, as well as all non-monetary terms of the proposal;
- The amount proposed to settle a claim for punitive damages (if any);
- Whether the proposal includes attorneys’ fees and whether these fees are part of a legal claim; and
- A certificate of service in the form, as mandated by rule 1.080.
Essentially, the PFS is submitted by one party to the opposing party and outlines the specific amount of money the serving party wants to settle for. For example, if the plaintiff files a PFS for $50,000, he or she is essentially telling the defendant that $50,000 is the desired settlement amount.
Rule 1.442(b) requires that a proposal to a defendant be served no earlier than 90 days after the service of process, and that a proposal to a plaintiff be served no earlier than 90 days after the lawsuit has commenced. These are stringent time frames. Thus, serving on the 89th day would not comply with the rule. No proposal can be served later than 45 days prior to the date set for trial or the first day of the docket on which the case is set for trial, whichever is earlier.
It is important to note that a proposal will be deemed rejected unless it is accepted in writing within 30 days after the service of the proposal. It is not enough to orally accept, reject, or counteroffer on the proposal. A proposal can be withdrawn in writing, as long as the written withdrawal is delivered prior to a written acceptance being delivered. Once a proposal is withdrawn, it is void.
Personal injury settlements can be complex, which is why it is best to consult a qualified Miami injury attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we understand the nuances of Florida personal injury law, including the procedural rules and requirements. We have helped countless South Florida clients obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries, and we can help you too. We are here to answer all your questions and address any of your concerns. To learn more, contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878).
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