Like all persuasive writing, a successful settlement brochure is the product of the writer's commitment to the answers to the two golden questions:
1) Who is my audience?
2) What do I want that audience to do or to feel?
WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
Like a bad game of "Telephone," the greatest impediment to efficient settlement is very frequently the defense attorney’s presentation of the case to the carrier. Therefore, your primary audience should be the insurance carrier. The settlement brochure is one of your only chances to give the carrier plaintiff’s unadulterated version of the case. Step into the carrier's shoes and think about how many settlement brochures they see in a day, a week, a year - and give them something different that cuts through the noise.
Your Brochure cuts through the noise when it aims to be legitimately helpful to the carrier and helps them to understand why your case is worth what you say it is. For purposes of the Settlement Brochure, bombast is a waste of your time - think of the carrier as a skeptical teammate. Remember that while you may have very different numbers in mind, you share the goal of getting the case settled.
WHAT DO YOU WANT THAT AUDIENCE TO FEEL?
It is the rare case where you will scare the carrier into settling. You want your audience to feel comfortable - comfortable that they can settle the case or ask for authority at or near the number you are asking for.
The Settlement Brochure should therefore be comprehensive, and include things such as: 1) highlighting specific pages and lines of deposition testimony, 2) damage synopsis, 3) a fair verdict search, 4) photos, 5) undisputed facts, and 6) a fair statement of the relevant law, warts and all. Remember, you are trying to get past the carrier's reliance on defense counsel’s interpretation of these items which often comes with a spin that prevents settlement.
WHY THIS APPROACH WORKS
This approach gets cases settled months (if not years) earlier than the cases otherwise would be because: 1) A reasonable demand based on facts gets everyone (carrier, defense counsel, plaintiff’s counsel, plaintiff, even the Court sometimes) focused on settlement at an earlier stage, and 2) an objective Settlement Brochure gives Plaintiff's counsel credibility with the carrier, sometimes more credibility than their own defense counsel, and the comfort level they need to recommend the settlement you want.
When Plaintiff's case evaluations have that air of objectivity and the demands have a basis in principle, there is a real opportunity to break through the clutter of the carrier’s inbox to expedite settlements. Keep in mind that the carrier often wants to close files more than anyone – he or she just needs a reasonable demand to get the process started.
Do you want Lincolnesq to write your firm's Settlement Brochures and move your cases forward? Call (908-902-7071) or email Matthew Litt (Matt@Lincolnesq.com) today.