A high-low agreement is a form of settlement, made before or during trial, in which both sides agree to high and low limits as to what the case will be worth. The parties are agreeing to put limits on the jury verdict.
In a high-low agreement, each side has the chance to minimize their risk. For the plaintiff, they get the benefit of knowing that they’ll get paid either way, whether they win or lose. For the defendant, they get the benefit of avoiding a runaway jury award, which can be extremely high.
In order to get these benefits, each sides gives a little. The plaintiff is agreeing to not take a huge jury award, and the defendant is agreeing to pay even if the jury says they win and don’t have to pay anything.
These agreements are just one type of settlement. In this type, the jury still deliberates and comes back with a decision. If the jury’s decision is outside of the limits, then the agreement comes into play and the verdict doesn’t apply. In a typical settlement, the parties come to an agreement on a settlement amount and the case is over without going to the jury.
High-low agreements come in many forms and appear in many different types of cases. This is just a general overview. If your attorney is suggesting a high-low agreement in your case, make sure you understand the reasons behind it and why it would or would not be a good idea in your circumstances. In any settlement situation, make sure your attorney is suggesting the agreement because it is in your best interest and not because it guarantees that they’ll get paid. A good attorney should be willing to take your case to trial if need be, and they should have the resources to do so.