How to Establish A Structured Settlement - Defense Attorneys
- Learn your clients' policies regarding structures
Many defendants and casualty insurers have formalized policies regarding the use of structured settlements. Learn them. If you are uncertain, ask.
Most favor use of structures as a settlement tool, feeling that structures increase the value of settlement offers and lead to more meaningful discussions with claimants. In short: they want structures used skillfully on appropriate cases.
- Retain a professional
If your client has not already done so, then you do it. Structured settlements are sophisticated financial transactions whose terms must be negotiated and incorporated into the settlement release itself. Most cases will also include use of a "third party assignment"; if you are unfamiliar with the salient elements of this transaction, make it a priority to learn them.
It is the settlement professional's very job to help the parties negotiate terms of settlement and then ensure that the settlement documents accurately reflect what was agreed to. The best outcomes result when defense counsel and settlement professional work as a team.
- Communicate Structured Offers Clearly and in Writing
If it is your client's intent to make an offer in structured form, be clear about it: make the terms specific and in writing. Vagaries achieve nothing.
Do not confuse rejection of an offer with rejection of the structured format. Plaintiffs reject structures for the same reason they reject cash offers: the specific offer on the table does not yet deliver the value they require to release your client.
When authorized, simply revise your structured offer and continue to negotiate. Never forget that no matter what is said, a tax-advantaged offer is worth more to the claimant than a plain cash offer. Why waste time on low value offers?
- Who to call
If you or your client have not yet established a working relationship with a settlement broker, we would welcome the opportunity to serve you. We are available by both email and telephone if you have general questions or a current case you wish to discuss.