Skip to Main Content



Negotiation is the process of resolving a dispute in a way that all parties find acceptable. In a personal injury claim, negotiation involves the at-fault party agreeing to pay a specific amount to an injured party. However, the at-fault party does not admit fault or liability. They agree to pay the amount to resolve a dispute instead of admitting they were negligent or acting intentionally.

The injured party agrees to accept the amount in exchange for a waiver and release. The injured party gives up their right to file a lawsuit or pursue other claims against the at-fault party.

In other words, if you sign a settlement agreement, you agree to accept the negotiated settlement amount to end your claim. Even if you discover additional damages or claims, you gave up the right to pursue those claims when you signed the agreement.

Because you are giving up your legal rights when you accept a settlement offer, negotiating a settlement without legal advice is not in your best interests. Insurance companies protect their best interests in a personal injury case, which means paying as little as possible to settle a claim.

Each personal injury case is unique. The steps a Houston personal injury lawyer takes to negotiate a settlement differ depending on the individual factors of a case. However, the timeline for negotiating a personal injury settlement includes the following steps:

Table of Contents

Hire a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer 

Hire a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer 

Even if you are unsure whether to hire a lawyer, meeting with an attorney to discuss your legal options is wise. The insurance company has a team of professionals to investigate and fight your claim. Hiring a top-rated Houston personal injury law firm with a reputation for winning every case they take to trial gives you additional negotiating power.

File a Claim

Most personal injury claims begin by filing an insurance claim. The insurance company assigns a claims adjuster to investigate your claim. The insurance adjuster’s primary concern is limiting liability for the insurance company.

Your legal team can conduct an independent accident investigation to gather evidence proving the other party caused your injury. They can handle all matters related to your claim so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Complete Medical Treatment

You complete medical treatment while we gather evidence and handle the insurance claim. Injured victims should always seek immediate medical care after an injury or accident. Prompt medical treatment protects your health and helps link your injuries to the accident.

Settlement negotiations occur after your doctor states you have reached MMI (maximum medical improvement). MMI is the point in your recovery where further treatment is not expected to improve your condition. You may have made a complete recovery, or you may have permanent impairments or disabilities.

If you have an impairment, you could be entitled to future damages. Future damages can include ongoing medical care, decreased earning capacity, and diminished quality of life.

Calculating Damages

Texas tort laws provide for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include your financial losses, such as lost wages, medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses.

Non-economic damages are your “pain and suffering damages.” These damages include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.

If you have a permanent impairment, your attorney may consult expert witnesses to determine the extent of your impairments and disabilities for future damages. Experts may include medical specialists, economists, vocational experts, and financial professionals.

Sending a Demand Letter

Attorneys prepare a demand letter to send to the insurance company. 

A demand letter includes information such as:

  • Reference the parties involved in the case
  • Explanation of how the accident or injury occurred
  • Discussion of laws and statutes that hold the other party liable for your damages
  • Review of your injuries and damages
  • Demand for settlement

Typically, the demand letter asks for more money than you are willing to accept for settlement. Insurance companies often make a counteroffer for a lower amount. Asking for a higher amount gives room to negotiate a fair settlement amount.

Settlement or Trial

Settlement negotiations involve back-and-forth discussions between your attorney and the insurance company. Negotiating a settlement that compensates you fairly for your damages could take several weeks.

Sometimes, lawyers may file a lawsuit with the civil court to pressure an insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement. Our winning track record in court gives our attorneys another negotiating advantage. We prepare every case for trial so we can go to court if the other party refuses to negotiate in good faith.

If we reach a settlement, we prepare an agreement for all parties to sign, collect the settlement proceeds, and distribute the funds. If settlement is impossible, we’ll discuss going to trial and what to expect as your case proceeds through the court process.

A Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Can Handle the Negotiation Process

A personal injury lawyer can diligently work to protect your best interests. It is crucial to work with a Houston personal injury attorney who can fiercely negotiate to recover a fair settlement. Contact our personal injury attorneys at Zehl & Associates. You can call us at (888) 603-3636.