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Do I Really Need an Attorney for a Personal Injury Claim in Texas?

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Should I get a Texas personal injury lawyer?

You Don’t Have to Pay a Lawyer If You Negotiate Your Personal Injury Settlement: Here Is What You Need to Know

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may wonder if you really need an attorney for a personal injury claim in Texas. Can you negotiate a settlement with the other party’s insurance company without a lawyer? The answer is yes – you can negotiate your personal injury settlement. However, you should remember a few things before attempting to do so.

The first thing to remember is that insurance companies are not on your side. They aim to pay out as little as possible or, ideally, deny your claim altogether. Therefore, it’s important to clearly understand the value of your claim before beginning negotiations. It’s also important to remember that insurance adjusters are trained to minimize settlements.

Adjusters are not there to help you get the full compensation you deserve. Their job is to save the insurance company money. Therefore, it’s so important to be prepared before beginning negotiations.

When to Consider Representing Yourself

In some cases, it may make sense to represent yourself in negotiations with an insurance company. For example, if your injuries are minor and you don’t expect to miss any time from work, you may be able to negotiate a settlement on your own successfully. You may also be able to successfully negotiate a settlement on your own if you clearly understand the value of your claim and are comfortable negotiating with insurance adjusters.

What to Do First When Negotiating a Settlement for a Personal Injury Claim?

The first thing you should do when you have been injured in an accident is to seek medical attention. It is important to fully understand the extent of your injuries before you attempt to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. Once a doctor or other medical professional has treated you, you will have a better idea of the value of your claim. The next step is to notify the insurance company of the accident. Ensure all your medical bills and documentation are ready to send to the insurance company.

Calculating Your Damages

You must calculate your damages once you have been treated for your injuries. Damages refer to the monetary compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. Calculating your damages is one of the most important aspects of handling your personal injury claim without an attorney. Generally, damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Damages You Can Easily Calculate (Economic Damages)

Economic damages are those that have a specific dollar amount attached to them, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. These damages are relatively easy to calculate and document. Proper documentation is key when calculating economic damages. Make sure to save all medical bills, receipts, wage statements, and other documentation to help you calculate the amount of economic damages you are entitled to.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses refer to all the costs associated with your treatment, including hospitalization, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and any other medical supplies you need because of your injuries. Your settlement demand should include all the medical bills associated with your injuries. Be sure to keep all your medical records and bills in a safe place. You will need them when you negotiate your settlement.

Lost Earning Capacity (Lost Wages)

If you have missed work because of your injuries, you must include lost wages in your settlement demand. Be sure to keep documentation of all lost wages, such as pay stubs or a letter from your employer.

Human Damages are Estimates

Human damages refer to the pain and suffering you have experienced because of your injuries. These non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate than economic damages, as there is no specific dollar amount attached to these damages. While you may not be able to see the effects of your injuries, they may still be causing you pain and suffering. 

Therefore, you will still need to include an estimate of these damages in your settlement demand. The best way to calculate human damages is to consider your injuries’ physical, emotional, and mental effects.

How to Value Pain & Suffering

The first step in valuing pain and suffering is understanding the term. Pain and suffering include all the physical and emotional injuries that you experience because of an accident. The pain and suffering valuation is meant to compensate you for these injuries.

There are two primary types of pain and suffering:

1. Physical Pain and Suffering

2. Emotional Pain and Suffering or Mental Anguish

Physical pain and suffering refer to the actual physical injuries that you experience. These can include things like broken bones, lacerations, burns, and more. Emotional pain and suffering, on the other hand, refer to the mental and emotional anguish that you experience because of your injuries. Mental anguish can include things like anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more.

When valuing pain and suffering, it is important to remember that there is no set formula. The insurance company will look at various factors to determine how much your pain and suffering are worth. These factors can include the severity of your injuries, the length of your recovery, the impact of your injuries on your life, and more.

Estimating Other Damages

Other damages refer to any losses you have experienced because of your accident. These can include things like the loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and more. Punitive damages may also be available in some cases. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party and deter future misconduct.

When estimating other damages, it is important to consider the specific facts of your case. If you are taking on your personal injury case without a lawyer, it is important to understand the compensation you are entitled to. Knowing how to calculate your damages is a critical part of this process.

Preparing Your Demand Letter

Once you have calculated your damages, you must prepare a demand letter. Your demand letter is a document that outlines your injuries and the compensation you are seeking. It is important to be clear and concise when preparing your demand letter.

You will want to include all the relevant information, such as the date of the accident, a description of your injuries, and your settlement demand. The demand letter aims to start negotiations and reach a fair settlement. 

Fair Compensation Is the Goal

It is important to be polite when preparing your demand letter. You should avoid being confrontational or making demands that are not reasonable. After all, fair compensation is the goal. Your goal should not be an attempt to profit from your accident. Instead, you should focus on getting the fair compensation to cover your losses. Remember, the insurance company is not required to agree to your demand. 

Think Like a Stranger

When preparing your demand letter, it is important to think like a stranger.  What does it mean to think like a stranger? Thinking like a stranger means that you should not try to emotionalize your injuries or the accident. Instead, you should focus on the facts. The insurance company will be looking at your case objectively. You should do the same.

The more honest and straightforward you are, the more likely you will get the compensation you deserve. It is also important to be clear and concise when describing your injuries and their effect on your life. Avoid making any assumptions about the insurance company’s knowledge of your case. Assumptions can lead to problems down the road.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Settlement Take?

The time it takes to settle a personal injury case depends on several factors. These can include the severity of your injuries, the insurance company’s willingness to negotiate, and more. Often, a case will last for months or even a year.

Read More: How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in Texas?

If Your Demand Is Out of the Ballpark, Negotiations Will Stall

If your demand letter has a very high settlement demand, the insurance company will likely stall negotiations. The insurance company will want to see if you will lower your demand. If you are unwilling to lower your demand, the insurance company may make a lowball offer to settle the case.

If you receive a lowball offer from the insurance company, you are not required to accept it. You should counter the insurance company’s offer with a fair settlement demand.

How to Negotiate with a Counteroffer

A counteroffer is when the insurance company responds to your settlement demand with its offer. The insurance company’s counteroffer will usually be lower than your original demand. When you receive a counteroffer, you must review the offer carefully and decide whether to accept or reject the offer.

You should consider whether the offer is fair and reasonable. If it is not, you should make a counteroffer. Your new settlement demand can be lower than your original demand but higher than the insurance company’s counteroffer. 

Read More: How to Deal with a Low Settlement Offer

Tips for Getting the Best Personal Injury Settlement

You can do a few things to increase your chances of getting the best personal injury settlement.

Research the Value of Your Claim

You should understand how much your claim is worth before you start negotiating with the insurance company. Getting a feel for the value of your claim will help you know what a fair settlement demand is. You can use online resources, such as a Personal Injury Settlement Calculator, to help you determine the value of your claim.

Prepare to Negotiate

Getting multiple settlement offers from the insurance company is also a good idea. Negotiation will give you a better idea of a fair settlement offer. You can clarify to the insurance company that you are unwilling to accept low-ball settlement offers.

Read More: Secrets of Negotiation for Personal Injury Victims

Be Patient

It is important to be patient when negotiating your personal injury settlement. The insurance company will likely want to take their time reviewing your claim and making a fair offer. Do not be afraid to give the insurance company a reasonable amount of time to respond to your settlement demand.

When To Hire an Attorney

There are a few instances where you should consider hiring an attorney to help you with your personal injury claim.

Your Case Is Complex

You may consider hiring an attorney if your personal injury case is complex. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that all the necessary evidence is gathered.

Responsibility Is Disputed

If responsibility for the accident is disputed, you may consider hiring an attorney. An attorney can help you prove that the other party was at fault for the accident.

Your Damages Are Substantial

You may want to consider hiring an attorney if your damages are substantial. An attorney can help you prove the full extent of your damages and ensure you are fairly compensated.

You Have a Hospital or Other Liens or Subrogation 

You may want to consider hiring an attorney if you have a hospital or other liens or subrogation claims. An attorney can help you negotiate with the lienholders and ensure you are fairly compensated.

The Insurance Company Refuses to Pay Reasonable Damages

You may consider hiring an attorney if the insurance company refuses to pay reasonable damages. An attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. 

A Lawsuit Is Necessary

Most personal injury cases are resolved without the need for a trial. However, if the other side refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, you may have to take your case to court. You must speak with an attorney to ensure that going to trial is in your best interest. If your case does go to trial, your attorney will be by your side every step of the way.

If you have been injured in an accident, the Baumgartner Law Firm can help. We are a personal injury law firm that represents injured people in various claims, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and more. We understand the process of filing a personal injury claim and can help you every step of the way. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Baumgartner Law Firm Practice Pages:

Car Accident Attorney

Truck Accident Lawyer

Texas Personal Injury Lawyer

Wrongful Death Attorney

About Our Law Firm

Baumgartner Law Firm is a Houston personal injury law firm headed by Greg Baumgartner.

Our firm was established in 1985 and has helped thousands of injury victims get maximum compensation for their cases. If you have been injured in an accident in Houston, TX, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. (281) 587-1111.

Helping these areas around Houston

Houston, Sugar LandConroeThe WoodlandsCypressSpring, Humble, Katy,  Atascocita, Kingwood and Tomball.