In Florida, a "covenant not to sue" is a legal agreement between a plaintiff and a defendant in a personal injury case. Essentially, it is a contract in which the plaintiff agrees not to pursue legal action against the defendant in exchange for some form of compensation or other consideration.
In a Florida personal injury case, the plaintiff may agree not to sue the defendant in exchange for a settlement or some other form of compensation. This agreement typically includes a provision that the plaintiff cannot bring any future legal action against the defendant related to the same injury or accident.
Covenants not to sue can be useful in personal injury cases, as they allow both parties to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty of going to trial. However, it's important to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney before entering into any agreement, as it may not always be in your best interests to give up your right to pursue legal action.
What is the Effect of a Covenant Not to Sue in Florida Personal Injury Cases?
Covenants not to sue offer people and businesses finality. By executing a covenant not to sue, the plaintiff essentially gives up the right to pursue a lawsuit related to the injury or accident at issue. In other words, once the plaintiff has signed a covenant not to sue, the plaintiff cannot pursue any further legal action against the defendant. In return, the defendant usually gives the plaintiff money. As a result of this quid pro quo, the plaintiff and defendant put an end to the dispute at issue, and everyone can move along with their lives.
Note that, although the plaintiff is giving up their right to sue the defendant, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the defendant is released from liability. The defendant may still be liable for the injury, but the plaintiff has agreed not to pursue further legal action.
What is Required for a Valid Covenant Not to Sue in Florida Personal Injury Cases?
In Florida, a valid covenant not to sue in a personal injury case must meet certain requirements to be enforceable. These requirements include:
- Must be in writing: A covenant not to sue must be in writing and signed by the plaintiff.
- Supported by consideration: A covenant not to sue must be supported by consideration, which means that the plaintiff must receive something of value in exchange for signing the agreement. This consideration can be in the form of money, property, or some other benefit.
- Clearly state the terms of the agreement: The covenant not to sue must clearly state the terms of the agreement, including the specific claims that the plaintiff is waiving and the amount of compensation that the plaintiff will receive in exchange for signing the agreement.
- Not unconscionable: A covenant not to sue must not be unconscionable, which means that it cannot be so one-sided or unfair that it shocks the conscience of the court. This is a fact-specific determination that depends on the particular circumstances of the case.
- Not obtained through fraud, duress, or undue influence: A covenant not to sue must not be obtained through fraud, duress, or undue influence. If the plaintiff was coerced or deceived into signing the agreement, it may not be enforceable.
Note that while a covenant not to sue can be an effective way to settle a personal injury case, it's important to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney before entering into any such agreement to ensure that the terms are fair and equitable, and that your rights are protected. An experienced attorney can review the agreement and advise you on whether it meets the requirements for enforceability under Florida law.
Contact an Experienced Florida Injury Lawyer for Your FREE Legal Consultation
If you have been injured because of the negligence or carelessness of another party, you should speak with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. You can contact us online or you can call our Orlando, Florida law office at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your consultation.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.