There will come a time in your personal injury claim when you’ve fully recovered from your injuries. At this point, you will make a written demand upon the insurance company for the amount of compensation you believe is fair based on the facts and law relevant to your claim.
Your demand letter is the point in your claim where settlement negotiations begin in earnest. Based on the information in your letter, the insurance adjuster will either accept your demand and pay the amount you request, or more likely, make a counter-offer.
The sample demand letter below can serve as a guide when writing your own demand letter. We deal with a slip and fall injury due to a wet floor, but the format will work with almost any type of premises liability claim. Along the way we’ve added sections to help you better understand important language and ideas.
Learn more about wet floor injury claims here.
Sample Demand Letter for a Slip and Fall Injury
November 12, 2014
Getsude Insurance Company
Ms. Wona Seddle
125 Clay Street, Suite A
Newark, NJ 07110
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
While titling your demand letter with the words FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY isn’t a legal requirement, doing so clearly conveys your expectation of confidentiality.
Dear Ms. Seddle:
Your insured is the corporate owner of the Fast Stop Convenience Store located at 1356 Haley Drive, Trenton, NJ. On October 13, 2014, I was seriously injured when I slipped and fell on soda that had accumulated on the floor of your insured’s store. My injuries included a severely sprained plantaris tendon in my left leg and abrasions to both hands.
Your insured had a legal duty to make the premises safe for its customers. It wholly failed in that duty. Your insured’s failure to cordon off the slippery area or place a sign indicating the floor was wet constitutes negligence. That negligence was the direct and proximate cause of my injuries and resulting damages.
Your insured contends I contributed to my injuries by ignoring the spilled soda and walking through it. That is wholly untrue. I did not see the spilled soda and certainly did not walk through it intentionally. I behaved as any other customer would have in the same circumstances.
I was treated for my injuries at the Walker Hospital Emergency Room located at 456 Main Street, Trenton, NJ, and subsequently at the Haven Chiropractic Clinic located at 713 Main Street in Trenton. In addition to the costs of treatment, I sustained out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages.
I want to make clear that I never asked for any of this to happen. Before October 13, 2014, I enjoyed a full life, free of pain and discomfort. On October 13th, however, all that changed. Because of your insured’s negligence, I unnecessarily endured substantial monetary losses and great pain and discomfort.
As you are aware, I am currently not represented by an attorney. I am writing this demand letter in good faith, in hope of settling my claim amicably and without the need for litigation.
On October 13, 2014, at approximately 3:00 p.m., I entered the Fast Stop Convenience Store to purchase a bottle of water. I proceeded down the aisle toward the cooler until I suddenly felt my legs go out from under me. As I fell, both my hands raked across the shelving and my left leg twisted unnaturally beneath me.
As I slowly stood up, I realized I had slipped and fell on a wet substance I later identified as soda. As a result of the fall, my hands were bloodied and my left leg was in great pain.
I made my way to the cashier who identified herself as Ariyana Ali. I told Ms. Ali I fell on spilled soda in the aisle in front of the cooler and was injured. I asked Ms. Ali to complete an incident report confirming my fall. I also asked her for the name and contact information of the owner.
Ms. Ali told me I shouldn’t have been running down the aisle, and that if I had been walking, I would have seen the spilled soda and avoided it. Her allegations were entirely false. I was not running, but walking carefully. While I haven’t had access to the store’s surveillance video, I am aware you have reviewed it and it confirms:
- There was soda on the floor
- There was no “Caution” or “Wet Floor” sign
- I fell onto the hard floor after slipping on the soda
- I was walking, not running at the time
The next morning, October 14th, I awoke in substantial pain. I could barely stand on my left leg. I noticed the upper part of my left leg was swollen and bruised. My sister Avery drove me to the Walker Hospital Emergency Room located at 456 Main Street, Trenton, NJ. There I was treated by Dr. Ellsworth Smith.
After a physical examination, Dr. Smith diagnosed my injury as a severely sprained plantaris tendon in my left leg, and abrasions and bruising to both hands. Dr. Smith indicated my plantaris tendon would take between four and six weeks to heal. She said for the first two weeks I would have to keep my left leg immobilized as much as possible, using crutches and resting my leg whenever possible.
Dr. Smith indicated that therapy would help with the healing process and expedite my returning to full use of my left leg. Dr. Smith indicated I should not return to my work duties as a landscaper for a minimum of three weeks.
Following Dr. Smith’s orders, I kept pressure off my left leg for the first two weeks. On October 27, I sought therapy at the Haven Chiropractic Clinic located at 713 Main Street in Trenton, NJ. There I received electrical stimulation, massage, and exercise.
During the entire course of recovery and treatment, I endured great pain and discomfort. Performing customary and necessary functions such as bathing, dressing, cleaning, and other personal activities was cumbersome. Additionally, because I was unable to work during the first three weeks, I lost substantial and necessary income. I had to borrow money from my parents just to pay my bills.
INJURIES AND TREATMENT
I was initially treated at the Walker Hospital Emergency Room located at 456 Main Street, Trenton, NJ. There I was treated by Ellsworth Smith, M.D. who ordered x-rays. After a physical examination, Dr. Smith diagnosed my injuries as a severely sprained plantaris tendon in my left leg and abrasions and bruising to both hands.
My hands were treated with a topical antibacterial ointment and bandaged. I was also provided with crutches. Dr. Smith prescribed Vicodin 10mg #30 prn, and Flexeril 10mg #30, twice daily for my leg injury, and Neosporin to avoid infection to my hands.
On October 27, 2014, following Dr. Smith’s orders I sought therapy at the Haven Chiropractic Clinic located at 713 Main Street in Trenton, NJ. There I received electrical stimulation, massage therapy, and whirlpool immersion for the following 2 weeks.
I am a 30-year-old male with an unremarkable medical history. My medical treatment includes hospitalization in June 2010 at the Walker Hospital for a fractured left clavicle. At the time of the injury made the basis of this claim, I was fully recovered from the fracture to my left clavicle and in excellent health.
I have been employed full-time for the last two years as a crew leader with the Evergreen Landscape Company located at 1477 Mill Street, Trenton, NJ. Prior to that, I was employed for six years as a landscaper with the Acorn Landscaping Company of 7271 Beckley Street, Rutledge, NJ. During the last eight years, I have missed a total of eleven days of work due to injury or illness.
The following is a list of my medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses related to this claim. I have sent you copies of my medical records and bills, along with copies of receipts for medications, the crutches, and transportation costs. You also have a letter from my employer confirming my lost wages.
After careful consideration of liability and damages, and a review of standard settlements for leg and hand injury cases with similar fact patterns, I am convinced a fair and reasonable settlement inclusive of my pain and suffering is $17,509.00.
In the above example, the victim’s medical and chiropractic bills amount to $3,720.00. By settling for four times medicals ($14,880.00), plus expenses and lost wages ($2,629.00), the total settlement demand is $17,509.00. This covers all the victim’s documented expenses, and leaves $11,160.00 for pain and suffering.
The adjuster probably won’t accept this initial demand for settlement. It’s more of a starting point for negotiations.
I look forward to hearing from you.
3252 E. Elm St.
Sunny, AZ 32502
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