Florida law provides for incentives to the parties in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida vehicular accident lawsuit to settle before a jury verdict. The statutes are the Demand for Judgment – Offer of Judgments statutes. When the injured party of a Fort Lauderdale, Florida accident case files an Demand for Judgment for a specific amount against a specifically identified defendant or wrongdoer of an accident lawsuit and a jury thereafter returns a verdict that is greater than 125% of the amount that the Plaintiff victim of the accident lawsuit demanded, the Court shall (meaning it must) award the Plaintiff their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred from the date that the Demand was served upon the defendant in the lawsuit until the date that the judgment is entered. This risk for the defendant and ultimately its insurance company to pay attorney’s fees and costs can sometimes strongly influence a car, or slip and fall, or products liability defendant and or its insurance company to settle to avoid the risk of paying significant additional sums of money.
For example, if the person who caused an automobile accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is only insured for $10,000 and they receive an Offer of Judgment to settle for within, or up to, the total amount of the defendant’s liability insurance benefits, and the defendant loses at trial and a jury awards a judgment that is greater than 125% of the amount that was demanded (for example, a $10,000 Demand for Judgment with a verdict from the jury that is returned at greater than $12,501) then the defendant and its insurance company would be responsible for the injured plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs (which, alone, could be many multiples greater than the amount that was originally demanded).