Florida's Loser Pay Law
How it WorksIn sum, the PFS statute allows either party in a lawsuit to make a formal, written offer to settle the case before trial. If the offer is not accepted within 30 days from the date it is sent, and if the injury victim loses at trial, or fails to secure a net verdict and judgment of more than 75% of that offer, then the statute makes the victim pay the at-fault defendant's attorneys' fees and costs accruing from the date the PFS was sent. Hence, the loser pays.
This tool is used by insurance companies and large corporations (which have unlimited resources) to place the injury plaintiff in a very difficult situation.
Because even in a valid, meritorious case, the jury may award the plaintiff less than what is offered in the PFS. This means even a plaintiff who prevails at trial with a jury finding in the plaintiff's favor, unless the amount "beats" the PFS, the plaintiff still has to pay the defense counsel fees and costs.
Plaintiff Issue a PFS As WellWhile the consumer or injury victim can serve his/her own PFS upon the defendant, the PFS statute says that the plaintiff must then surpass -- or "beat" your own PFS by more than 125%. For example, if you served a PFS for $100,000 to the negligent defendant, then you have to secure a net verdict and judgment (e.g. after any reductions or offsets), of at least $125,001. Only then can you seek the defendant to pay for your attorneys' fees and costs, regardless of how frivolous the defense may have been.
Additionally, while the defendant may have to pay your attorneys fees and costs from the date the PFS was sent, the fact is the insurance company or large corporation defending the case will do so and the individual defendant faces no real additional exposure.