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I'm making a settlement offer to oc, do I have to serve it on them, or can i just email the offer?

Berkeley, CA |

I'm trying to settle a personal injury accident, and we are in litigation.

no trial date or arbitration date etc.

Attorney Answers 12


  1. I would have to make many assumptions before answering this question. If you are represented by counsel, obviously they can inform you on what to do. If you are representing yourself, you can either mail, e-mail, or fax over a settlement offer. I would speak to opposing counsel and see what method of service they accept. Make sure that you provide evidence that supports your settlement offer, including any relevant records, bills, etc. If you have not already done so, I would speak to a personal injury attorney in your area regarding the potential value of your case. They can advise you what documentation to provide and how to organize your settlement offer. There are many different avenues you can pursue when making settlement offers and they all depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.

    Good luck.

    Please be advised that my responses to questions on Avvo are meant for informational purposes ONLY and do not create any type of attorney-client relationship or preserve any rights and statutes relating to the individual claim.


  2. You would be wise NOT to make any formal settlement demand without consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. Nothing good (or fair) can come out of what you are doing.


  3. Look up Cal. Code of Civil Procedure Section 998. An offer can be used as a sword (later) if you serve it properly. Otherwise you can do it informally.


  4. Settlement offers need not be formal, however any communication you make to settled should explicitly cite rule 408 as to prevent those efforts from potentially being used against you later.

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  5. At least consult with an attorney before you do this.

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  6. I cannot tell from your question whether you are the defendant making the other side an offer to settle the claim against you or you are a plaintiff making a demand--or an offer--of what you would accept to settle the claim. Typically the manner in which you convey this does not matter. Negotiations regarding settlement do not necessarily have some "formal" procedure. Sure it's always a good idea to document what you are doing. You do not want the other side to say you offered $10k when you really offered only $1k. Without more detail as to the stage of litigation you are in it is difficult to say how or what should be presented in this "offer." However, I see your real problem as this: it appears you are doing this on your own without the assistance of an attorney. The likelihood of all this litigation turning out bad for you is very high. If you are offering the other side money or something to end the litigation, will it? How do you know? Will there be a release? Who will draft it? Will it fully protect you from this and other related claims? If you are making a demand as a plaintiff for settlement of the claim are you getting full value?? How will this amount be paid to you?? Who will be drafting that release? Is the money taxable? Are there medical or other liens that need to be resolved? I do not know the particulars of this claim, but going it alone is a real bad idea. If you have a concern about whether email is ok, I would imagine you have or should have greater concerns over the "substance" of what you are doing. Get a lawyer.

    If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.


  7. Critical facts are missing from your question. Who/what is "oc"? If you're talking about Orange County or some other governmental entity, you need to strictly comply with the California Government Tort Claims Act. Times are short, and if you fail to properly serve a demand you will lose all your rights.

    Given that this is posted with a "personal injury" tag, I assume that you have been injured. If you are attempting to recover for that injury, you really need to get someone who knows what they're doing to help you. Making a "settlement offer" on your own has the potential to seriously damage your claims. You should consult with a personal injury lawyer before going any further.


  8. A formal offer of judgment may be your best bet to achieving a resolution. I suggest you pay for a consultation with a California litigator who can advise you on the correct procedure or format that must be followed in making the offer.

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    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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  9. Before you make a ((* offer, you really should talk to an atty. The procedure must be followed precisely to be effective. Also, there are strategic reasons why you may or may not want to serve one. An informal offer communicated in writing, is best. The ethics rules require an atty to convey any written settlement offers to the client.


  10. I assume oc is "opposing counsel," which means you have a case in litigation. Are you representing yourself? Don't send a demand by any means to opposing counsel yourself. You need an attorney to properly evaluate your case and put together a proper settlement demand.


  11. You can hire an attorney by the hour if you so wish.

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