Most personal injury cases in Texas are settled through negotiations between the parties. Negotiation is the process of bargaining with another party to settle a dispute. In a personal injury claim, the dispute is whether one party is liable for another party’s damages and, if so, how much the damages are worth.
Skilled Dallas injury lawyers understand the art of negotiation. They know how insurance companies treat injured victims and how they cheat victims out of the money they deserve.
Before you accept a personal injury settlement from an insurance company, talk with one of our lawyers. You could be entitled to a higher settlement amount.
Steps Involved in Negotiating a Dallas Personal Injury Settlement
When you hire a Dallas personal injury attorney, your attorney notifies the insurance company and at-fault party they represent you. Therefore, they may request that all communication should be directed to your attorney.
Steps your attorney takes before settlement negotiations begin include:
Investigating Your Injury Claim
Texas personal injury laws require the injured victim to prove the other party caused their injuries. In many cases, it involves proving negligence. You must have sufficient evidence to prove:
- The party who caused your injury owed you a breach of duty
- The party breached their duty of care
- The breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injuries
- You suffered damages and harm because of the party’s conduct
Your lawyer conducts an extensive investigation to determine what caused your injury. They identify each party who contributed to the reasons you were injured.
Your attorney works to build a solid case proving liability. Sometimes, that could involve hiring expert witnesses to assist with the investigation.
Verifying and Documenting Damages
Damages represent the losses and harm you sustained because of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing. They include economic damages, such as out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and medical bills. They also include non-economic damages for impairments, pain, and suffering.
Careful documentation of damages increases the chance you will receive compensation for all losses and harm. You need to complete medical treatment for your lawyer to correctly assess the extent of your damages to calculate how much your personal injury case is worth.
Preparing a Settlement Demand Letter
Your lawyer will initially send a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter contains facts and information about your case supporting your damages claim. Most demand letters include:
- Identification of the liable parties
- Summary of how the accident or injury occurred
- Legal explanation of causation, fault, and liability
- Explanation of your injuries and damages
- An amount you will accept to settle your claim
Sometimes, an insurance company makes the initial settlement offer. In either case, negotiations begin in a personal injury case with the first offer to settle.
Negotiating a Settlement
Neither party has to accept the initial settlement offer. They can either decline it or submit a counteroffer. Most insurance companies make a counteroffer after reviewing the demand letter.
Your attorney strategically chooses the amount for the initial demand for settlement. The amount is typically higher than the amount you would be willing to accept for settlement. Attorneys use this tactic because they anticipate that the insurance company will make a counteroffer, so they want to have room to negotiate.
Back-and-forth negotiations could take weeks or months. Issues that can complicate negotiations include, but are not limited to:
- Allegations of contributory fault (you are partially to blame for causing the accident or injury)
- Disputes regarding the severity of your injuries
- Allegations of failure to mitigate damages (e.g., you delayed medical care, thereby causing your injuries to worsen unnecessarily)
- Disagreements regarding the value of future damages or non-economic damages
- Issues related to pre-existing conditions
The strength of your evidence is a significant factor in negotiating a personal injury settlement. If the insurance company believes you have a strong case, it will likely negotiate in good faith to avoid a trial.
Settling a Personal Injury Claim in Dallas, TX
The insurance company and at-fault party will insist you sign a settlement agreement before paying your claim. The agreement contains a release of liability.
You release the company, at-fault party, and all other known or unknown parties from any further liability for your claim. The other parties typically do not admit liability for your injuries. The agreement maintains that the parties agree to settle the dispute but do not admit fault.
Settlement agreements are binding contracts. Either party can go to court to enforce the terms of the contract. Therefore, seeking legal advice from an experienced Dallas personal injury lawyer is crucial before signing a settlement agreement.
Filing a Dallas Personal Injury Lawsuit When Settlement Negotiations Fail
If the other parties refuse to negotiate in good faith, your attorney may advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for most general negligence claims in Texas is two years after the injury date.
However, exceptions and the facts of your case could alter the deadline to file lawsuits. Therefore, contact our office as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer
With decades of trial experience and negotiating personal injury settlements, our legal team at Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers fights to get you the compensation you deserve. We are dedicated to helping injury victims and their families. Contact our law firm or call (214) 855-1420 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney.