What Is A 998 Offer?

Do not overwork to be rich;

Because of your own understanding, cease!

Will you set your eyes on that which is not?

For riches certainly make themselves wings;

They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.

-Proverbs

 

What is a 998 offer? It’s a settlement offer with teeth.

A 998 offer allows a party to shift costs to the other party. It’s based on CCP § 998. The 998 offer is generally only good for 30 days.

You make a 998 offer by using the required statutory language under CCP § 998 and related case law.

Here’s how it works from the Plaintiff side:

  • Plaintiff sends Defendant a $50,000 998 offer on June 1.
  • Defendant doesn’t accept the offer by July 1 (30 days later). The 998 offer is now closed.
  • Plaintiff prepares for trial, spending $15,000 in costs.
  • Plaintiff goes to trial and wins. The jury awards Plaintiff $55,000.
  • Plaintiff has “beat” the $50,000 998. Plaintiff should be able to recover some (possibly not all) of the $15,000 in costs.

If, however, Defendant accepted the $50,000 998 offer before July 1, then the case should be over.

Here’s how it works from the Defendant side:

  • Defendant sends Plaintiff a $10,000 998 offer on June 1.
  • Plaintiff doesn’t accept the offer by July 1 (30 days later). The 998 offer is now closed.
  • Defendant prepares for trial, spending $15,000 in costs.
  • Defendant goes to trial and wins. The jury awards nothing to Plaintiff.
  • Defendant has “beat” the $10,000 998. Defendant should be able to recover some (possibly not all) of the $15,000 in costs.

If, however, Plaintiff accepted the $10,000 998 offer before July 1, then the case should be over.

Of course, it can become complicated. (e.g. if there are multiple plaintiffs and defendants, joint and several liability, calendar extensions, whether the 998 offer was in “good faith,” whether there’s been a “more favorable judgment,” etc).

What’s important to know is that a 998 offer is a settlement offer with teeth because it allows a party to shift costs to the other party.

Questions? Contact Me for a free consultation.

Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He is licensed to practice in California, Connecticut, and Louisiana. His entire practice has been in litigation.

Evan is from a small town outside of New Orleans. He attended law school in New Orleans, which was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina. After evacuating to Houston, Evan graduated in 2008 as part of the ‘Hurricane Katrina Class.’

After graduation, Evan worked for a New Orleans insurance defense firm. He defended insurance companies against Hurricane Katrina lawsuits brought by homeowners and business owners.

In 2010, he and his wife moved to New Haven, Connecticut, so his wife could complete a medical residency at Yale. During the next few years, Evan worked for Travelers Insurance Company defending countless personal injury lawsuits.

In 2014, he moved to San Diego so his wife could complete a medical fellowship at UCSD. He then opened his own firm to represent people after years of defending insurance companies.

Evan is a Featured Faculty at Attorney Credits, a CLE company, and a regular contributor to various podcasts and publications. He has also been interviewed by San Diego television stations about his cases and practice.

Evan spent almost a decade as a defense attorney who defended insurance companies from personal injury and property damage lawsuits. He knows how insurance companies bully people and deny claims. And he knows how to fight them.

Bar Admissions: California Connecticut (inactive) Louisiana (inactive)

Acta Non Verba

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