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How to Settle Your Car Accident Injury Claim Without an Attorney

Car wreck damage

Many people do not want to hire an attorney to help them after a serious car accident. Some may want to minimize legal costs or feel that you can best handle the claim on your own.

If you choose to represent yourself with a car accident injury claim, follow these tips.

What Can Car Accident Cases Be Handled Without a Lawyer?

Did you have a relatively minor car accident and feel that you may move forward without having to worry about hiring a lawyer? You may not need a lawyer if:

  • You can clearly show that the other party bears liability for the accident, and you think there is no chance of the other party’s insurance company disputing liability.
  • You suffered no injuries or only minor injuries and do not need to pursue considerable compensation.
  • You have a solid idea of how much compensation you should expect and how to pursue it.
  • Dealing with insurance companies does not cause you undue stress.
  • You are prepared to negotiate.

When Should You Get a Car Accident Lawyer?

There are several instances when you should contact an experienced car accident attorney.

Sometimes, you may know that you need an attorney immediately. Other times, you may discover that you need more assistance than expected as you pursue your claim.

Ideally, you should get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to maximize the benefit of working with an attorney. You should call in a car accident lawyer when:

  • Liability in the accident is disputed, with the other driver or their insurer claiming that you partly caused the accident.
  • You suffered severe injuries in the accident and know you need as much compensation as possible to help pay for your medical expenses.
  • Your medical bills exceed $10,000.
  • You expect future medical expenses.
  • The insurance company’s lowball offer does not reflect the compensation you know you deserve for your injuries.
  • Do you have any questions about the legal process, including how much compensation your injuries are really worth or how to pursue compensation for injuries in addition to compensation for medical bills associated with the accident?

How Can a Top Car Accident Lawyer Help?

A car accident lawyer can be an invaluable asset when it comes to negotiating with insurance companies. By having a qualified lawyer by your side, you can greatly improve your chances of obtaining a fair and just settlement. Insurance companies are known for trying to take advantage of individuals who may have limited experience in handling these types of situations. Without proper guidance, you may find yourself at a disadvantage during the negotiation process.

By working with a car accident lawyer, they will serve as your front-line defense and advocate. They possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to navigate through the complexities of insurance claims. They will assist you in understanding the intricacies of your specific case, including determining the full extent of your damages and calculating a fair amount of compensation.

One of the keyways in which a car accident lawyer can help is by ensuring that your rights and interests are protected. They will handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf, preventing you from being taken advantage of or being coerced into accepting a low settlement offer. This allows you to focus on your recovery and well-being while they handle the legal aspects of your case.

Additionally, studies have consistently shown that individuals who retain an attorney are more likely to receive a larger settlement than those who attempt to negotiate with the insurance company on their own. This is because lawyers have a thorough understanding of personal injury laws, are skilled in building strong cases, and have experience in dealing with insurance adjusters. They will use this expertise to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve aggressively.

Furthermore, many car accident lawyers, like us, offer free consultations to review your case. During this initial meeting, they will assess the details of your accident, evaluate the strength of your claim, and provide you with valuable advice on the best course of action. This allows you to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with legal representation without any obligations or financial commitments.

If you believe that your insurance company is not providing fair compensation for your car accident, it is strongly recommended that you reach out to a car accident lawyer. They will fight tirelessly on your behalf, aiming to maximize your settlement and ensure that you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review to discuss your options and protect your interests.


The First Steps in Dealing with the Adjuster

If you plan to handle your car accident claim on your own, make sure that you take photos of the damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident, and any injuries you suffered ahead of time.  Having photo evidence can help validate and prove your case.

Adjusters will need evidence to evaluate your case before any settlement discussions take place. Typically, a car accident victim should furnish the adjuster for the negligent person the following:

  1. The police report and names of witnesses
  2. Photos of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries
  3. Copies of medical bills and records from every place that treated you.
  4. A lost wage statement from your employer, if applicable.
  5. Estimates for the property damage claim.

Only after an adjuster is certain of liability and has a handle on your damages will an offer be extended. Negotiation is often stalled simply because the adjuster has not interviewed their insured. It can be very frustrating to the victim, but in Texas, the other person’s insurance company owes you no duty.

So do not expect the adjuster to care about the delay’s inconvenience. You may need to obtain a rental car or other transportation on your own in the event of a delay.

Dealing with an adjuster after a crash

Damage Calculations

To negotiate a car accident claim on your own, you need to have a good idea of how much compensation you should expect. With car accident claims, damages break down into two key types.

Special Damages

Special damages include all the damages you can calculate directly. They have a specific monetary value, usually based on financial losses you have faced after the accident. These include:

  • Your medical expenses following the accident. (Texas uses the legal standard “paid or incurred”)
  • Property damage, including damage to your vehicle or any items in it
  • The specific income you lost as a result of your accident and your injuries
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

General Damages

General damages are damages that you might not have the ability to calculate directly. General damages, also known as “pain and suffering,” include the non-financial losses and suffering you faced due to your accident and your injuries.

General damages may include physical pain, emotional anguish, or general losses caused by the crash, including factors like the loss of enjoyment of life or the loss of specific, anticipated activities you expected to enjoy.

Usually, general damages are based on a percentage of your special damages, usually based on the medical costs associated with your claim. The more you suffered as a result of your accident and the more severe the injuries, the more you may need to claim for compensation.

What Factors Does the Adjuster Consider in a Car Accident Settlement?

In a car accident settlement, multiple factors are considered to ensure a fair and comprehensive resolution. These factors typically include the extent of your injuries, the pain and suffering you experienced because of the accident, as well as any physical or emotional damages. The settlement will also account for the damage sustained by your vehicle and any financial losses you may have incurred, such as missed wages due to your inability to work. It is important to note that car accident settlements involve a complex evaluation process that considers various aspects to ensure that all relevant factors are appropriately addressed.

How Much Should You Ask For?

As part of your initial demand, you should calculate all of your medical costs, all your financial losses, and the pain and suffering associated with your accident. Keep in mind that, bearing special circumstances, the insurance company will offer you less than you asked for initially. Settlements must be fair to both sides to work.

If you ask for too little, you will have left bread on the table. However, if you ask for an amount clearly outside the norm, the negotiations will stall after their expected lowball offer as they feel they are wasting their time trying to settle with you.

How Do Insurance Companies Decide on Settlement Offers?

Insurance companies determine settlement offers by considering physical damages, such as medical bills and property damage, and emotional damages, including pain and suffering. Claims adjusters carefully assess the extent of these damages to determine the initial value of a claim. However, it is important to note that the initial offer from insurers is often a percentage of what they perceive as the final value. This approach is strategized to minimize payouts and protect the insurance company’s financial interests.

How Do I Raise Facts to Help My Negotiations?

To effectively emphasize the points in your favor during negotiations, it is crucial to prioritize and focus on the most important aspects of your case. Instead of rehashing undisputed facts, concentrate on the key factors that will strongly support your position.

If you have incurred a severe injury requiring long-term medical care, discussing how this will significantly impact your quality of life and financial well-being is essential. Highlight the specific ways in which your injury has affected your daily activities and demonstrate the challenges you now face that necessitate ongoing medical attention. You can illustrate the importance of fair compensation for your injuries and losses by clearly illustrating the long-term implications.

Another critical point to emphasize is the impact of missed work on both you and your family. Reiterate the significant amount of wages you have lost as a result and emphasize how this loss has affected your financial stability and the well-being of those who depend on you. By conveying the financial strain caused by the inability to work, you can underscore the importance of receiving appropriate compensation for the impact on your livelihood.

Throughout the negotiation process, it is crucial to communicate your expectation of fair compensation for your injuries and other losses. Emphasize that you seek a resolution that fully addresses the physical, emotional, and financial hardships you have endured. By consistently highlighting these points, you can ensure that the insurance company understands the importance of compensating you appropriately, given the circumstances of your case.

Why Do Most Personal Injury Claims Settle Out of Court?

Most personal injury claims often settle outside of the court system for several reasons. Firstly, settling out of court is generally faster than going to trial. Trials can be lengthy and may take months or even years for a verdict to be reached. Both parties can resolve the matter more efficiently by opting for a settlement.

In addition to the time factor, settling out of court is also usually less expensive for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Court proceedings involve various costs such as attorney fees, court fees, expert witness fees, and other related expenses. By avoiding a trial, the parties involved can minimize these financial burdens, allowing them to save on costs.

Moreover, settling a personal injury claim outside of court is typically considered less risky for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Trials come with inherent uncertainties as the outcome is determined by a jury or judge. By settling, the parties have more control over the resolution of the matter and can avoid the unpredictability and potential drawbacks of litigation.

Lastly, it is important to note that trials can be extremely stressful for all parties involved. The emotional toll of presenting a case, cross-examinations, and the overall adversarial nature of a trial can be overwhelming. Opting for a settlement can help alleviate some of this stress and provide a more amicable resolution to the personal injury claim.

After carefully reviewing the case details and considering the offered settlements, attorneys usually advise their clients on whether it is more advantageous to accept the settlement or proceed with a trial.

Negotiation Tips for Your Injury Claim

Ready to start negotiating? Keep these tips in mind.

  • Plan for a fair settlement. A car accident claim is designed to compensate for the financial and other losses you faced due to your injuries, not necessarily to offer you a windfall.
  • Know when you’ll accept a counteroffer and when you would prefer to continue to negotiate.
  • While negotiating, keep information about your accident off social media. Avoid any statement that might accept liability for the accident or appear to diminish the extent of your injuries.
  • Give immediate feedback to lowball offers. Something like “Are you kidding” or “Is that all?” will let the adjuster know the offer is unacceptable.
  • Understand that with a minor injury, there is a limit to what an insurer will pay voluntarily. If your injury is minor, you should have a personal injury lawyer.
  • Don’t consider a quick injury settlement with “estimated medical expenses” when you know you will get further medical care. This approach shifts the risk of loss to you. Consider a free consultation with a truck accident attorney near you.

Get Help from a Houston Trucking Accident Attorney

Did you suffer serious injuries in a Houston accident? If you want to maximize the compensation you can recover for your damages, contact our award-winning Texas truck wreck law firm in Houston for a consultation on your rights and options.

(281) 893-7060


Related Articles:

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What are the Possible Types of Damages in a Truck Accident Case?

What Compensation Can I Receive for My Big Rig Accident Injuries?

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer After a Truck Accident?

What if I Cannot Afford an Attorney for My Personal Injury Case?


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About Greg Baumgartner

Truck accident lawyer Greg Baumgartner
Greg Baumgartner is a preeminent rated personal injury lawyer based in Houston, Texas, with over three decades of experience representing severely injured clients in truck accidents. He founded Baumgartner Law Firm, in 1985, with a mission to provide excellent legal representation and personalized attention to every client.