Preventing claims – Settlement risks

The following is a summary of Smooth Sailing to Settlement: Avoiding Common Mistakes, Insurance Issues: Risk Management, Summer 2015.

Each year, the Lawyers Insurance Fund receives numerous calls and reports from lawyers concerned about problems arising out of their settlement efforts on a particular file. Our bird’s eye view of these settlement issues lets us see how the problems arise and how they might be avoided.

Here are 8 reasons why problems arise (read here for real-life examples from our claim files):

  1. Ambiguity in terms of the offer
  2. Missteps in accepting an offer
  3. Inadequate attention to details
  4. Failing to address pre-conditions or subjects
  5. Failing to appreciate requirements and implications of formal offers to settle
  6. Failing to document revocation of offer
  7. Communication breakdowns
  8. Forgetting about an outstanding offer

And here are our top 6 tips to protect yourself (read more for details):

  1. Know what you want and then use clear and unambiguous language when drafting offers
  2. Be clear and unambiguous when accepting an offer
  3. Use extra care when drafting formal offers to settle
  4. Revoking the offer? Make it clear
  5. Give your clients the advice they need, and confirm it in writing
  6. Don’t forget about outstanding offers