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To start, a settlement authorization agreement allows us to obtain written permission from a client to settle their case for what we believe is fair value. The agreement outlines all the client’s medical treatment and the cost of each bill in a spreadsheet format. This allows a client to quickly identify the exact dollar figure they will receive from a settlement after paying their medical bills. The agreement is necessary to ensure that you make the final decision on what to do when presented with a settlement offer from an insurance company.
Unfortunately, there is no mathematical formula to properly calculate an exact amount to settle a client’s case for and we as attorneys must weigh facts carefully to provide our clients with the proper information about the legal aspects of their case. This information is provided so that clients can make an optimal choice on whether to settle a case for a specific dollar figure. We will calculate the settlement authorization agreement to reflect the figure we best believe will lead to the best outcome for our client. Each case is fact specific and therefore must be carefully analyzed prior to determining the optimal settlement amount for a client.
It is natural to be hesitant when presented with a decision to accept what we believe is the final best offer we can get from an insurance company. It is not much different from buying a car or home. With hundreds of choices and thousands of outcomes based upon those decisions, an individual can quickly become paralyzed by the fear of making a bad decision. Our job is to make sure that choice is a sound one grounded in logic and reason. We use our experience to make sure that our clients fully understand every detail of why we believe that the final settlement amount reflects a fair outcome for their case. We have settled cases on behalf of hundreds of clients and therefore have the expertise to identify a target amount that reflects fair value for what we see in any given case based upon similar factual outcomes in past cases.
We will never force a client to settle until they feel fully comfortable with the outcome of their decision. For example, we took a call one Sunday morning from a client who we believed was ready to sign a settlement authorization for a six-figure settlement amount that far exceeded what we thought was possible to receive based upon some of the weaknesses in the case. The client had read the settlement authorization form late at night and became severely concerned that she had signed away an important right that we would hold her to and force her to take a settlement she was uncomfortable with. At 6:00 am Sunday morning we got on the phone with our client and said we would never hold a client to a choice based upon a technicality like a signature for what was a good faith estimate on her case value.
After further discussion of why the offer made the most sense in her circumstances, our client felt comfortable giving us the permission necessary to go back to the insurance company and obtain a settlement on her behalf for over $140,000. This would leave our client with $46,666 in her pocket after legal and medical fee payments. This was a great outcome for our client because she received all the necessary medical treatment she needed and would not be in danger of paying out of pocket for any of the treatment that she received during her legal case.
As a lawyer our responsibility is to always put the client first. That includes making sure our clients fully understand any given situation. There are no silly questions, with years of experience we’ve developed patience and an understanding or our client’s concerns. Our job is to make sure that you feel like you have all the tools at your disposable to make an excellent decision on settlement.
–Kyle Harris Esq.
The Harris Team
Tom Harris, Florida Injury Attorney, has over 39 years of experience, including 17 years of defending insurance companies before reinventing his law practice to represent injured people as a personal injury attorney.
Kyle Harris is a Florida licensed attorney who joined the family practice after starting his career as a licensed attorney in California