Helpful Settlement Calculators

There are two essential calculations that often need to be made in the course of settling a case involving monetary claims:

  1. Comparing the "net result" of a settlement offer or opportunity to the potential outcomes at trial, and;
  2. Understanding the gross proceeds necessary to cover costs, fees and liens and similar deductions in order to produce a net return to the client.

The first analysis is one that both plaintiff and defendant ought to do. An "apples to apples" consideration of an offer can only be made if a settlement proposal is compared to the potential range of trial outcomes after considering the deductions from gross settlement proceeds or gross jury verdicts such as costs, liens and attorney fees.

The second analysis is helpful for both sides, though more often the defense, to calculate the gross settlement amount necessary to cover costs, fees and liens and still generate a net to the client. Few cases settle without some net recovery and it is often a bargaining mistake to make offers that don't recognize that reality.

A Simple Net Outcome Calculator

The link below is to a simple "Excel" spreadsheet that allows you to compare prospective settlements to prospective verdicts and see an apples to apples "net outcome" result.

The "Net Outcome Calculator", workbook tab 1, is designed for use in simple cases, primarily personal injury, to allow a variety of possible settlements to be compared to a range of verdict results.

To use the spreadsheet, you will need to enter the variables that affect the result. These are:

  1. The offer or possible offers for settlement and ranges of gross verdicts values for comparing to trial outcomes.
  2. The current costs (for settlement analysis) or the projected costs (for verdict analysis)
  3. Any assumed Comparative Fault or Prop. 51 apportionment for the trial scenarios.
  4. The amount of any liens after considering possible negotiated reductions
  5. The attorney fee percentage, if a contingency fee, expressed as a decimal (40% = .4) or, if a fixed or billed amount, replace the formula with the actual fees to date for settlement analysis or projected fees through trial for verdict analysis.

The Calculator will compute the resulting Net to Client based on the assumptions allowing you to compare and analyze settlement options compared to theoretical trial outcomes. Obviously, the calculator can't tell whether to settle or not and doesn't account for strengths or weaknesses in cases, for either side, that affect the final decision of what to offer and what to accept. That's where good lawyering comes in.

Calculating "What it Takes"

The "Gross Estimator" tab contains a spreadsheet that will allow you to calculate how much gross settlement or gross verdict amount is necessary to generate a given net when you know or can estimate costs to date, lien repayments and fees.

To use the sheet, enter the variables:

  1. The estimate of costs to date or through trial (only if calculating what verdict it would take to "cover" deductions).
  2. The anticipated lien repayment (remember to adjust for negotiated reductions and consider if there are better reductions in settlement)
  3. The attorney fee percentage (enter as a decimal : e.g. 40% = .4). If fees are not contingent, enter "0" for the fee percentage and add the fixed fee amount to the costs for settlement or trial.
  4. The desired "net outcome". To calculate a "break even", enter 0.

The worksheet will show what settlement payment or verdict is needed the "clear" the anticipated net. As noted above, the calculator isn't intended to dictate what offers to make or accept or whether to settle. There is no substitute for good judgment.

Click here to Display the Calculator Spreadsheet

You should be able to download and save on your computer to use with Excel or compatible programs.