I have been a Houston personal injury lawyer for nearly thirty years. When I first talk to a potential client I always look at whether they need to hire a personal injury lawyer for their case. My general rule is that if you have a minor injury and have medical bills and loss wages that total below $2000 you might not need a personal lawyer. For example, I can change my own oil but I can’t do major engine work, so I hire a professional to do that for me. The same analogy applies for personal injury cases.

How To Settle A Personal Injury Claim On Your Own

If you were hurt in a car accident go to the police agency that investigated the crash and order a copy of the police report. It costs about $6. In that report you will find the other driver’s information including their car insurance information. Call that insurance company and see if a claim has been reported. If not, tell them you want to open a claim. They will ask you information about who you are, how the accident happened and whether there was a police report made.

Next, find out the name, address, telephone number and e-mail of the adjuster assigned to your claim. Next ask for the claim number. That is very important because you need to put that claim number on all communications you send to the adjuster.

Next, order a copy of your medical records and bills. Send this documents to the adjuster assigned to your claim. If you lost any wages have your employer make a letter on their letter head stating the amount of time you missed and the value of that time. Finally you will need to make a settlement demand. There is where you tell the insurance company the amount of money you want to settle your claim. Pick a number a little higher than what you would accept. Do not pick an outrageously high number. That will only hurt the negotiations. Give the adjuster about 2 weeks to look at your documents after you send them a settlement demand. Negotiate a settlement with them. They will ask you to sign a release at the end that forever closes your ability to make any further claims or lawsuits against the other driver and the insurance company

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt then you are always better off hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Unfortunately, I get calls from people who tried to save some money and handle the case themselves. It usually is a big mess. There are strict legal time deadlines to follow and if you do not follow them you could take a good case and make it worthless. Please don’t let that happen.


Hugh Howerton


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