Your demand letter is an integral part of the settlement process. It summarizes the facts of your claim and injuries, lists your medical and out-of-pocket expenses, and discusses the theory of liability that supports your claim. You conclude the letter with a demand for the amount of compensation you believe is fair.
Below is a sample demand letter to assist you when writing your own demand letter. We use the example of a trip and fall in an apartment complex, but the format of the letter can apply to any type of premises liability claim.
By substituting your claim information, you should be able to construct a professional and effective demand letter. As you go through the sample letter, you will come across buttons. These hints will guide you through the writing process and help you understand the reasoning behind the different sections.
Learn more about apartment injury claims here.
Demand Letter Example for Trip and Fall
October 7, 2014
Doncair Insurance Company
Ms. Wonna Seddle
123 Gray Street, Ste 201
Boston, MA 02113
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
While you don’t legally have to title your demand letter with the phrase “For Settlement Purposes Only,” it makes clear you expect the matters discussed in your letter to remain confidential.
Pre-trial settlement negotiations are vital to resolving insurance claims. Courts are already overburdened, and without claims resolving before trial, the court system would grind to a halt. To facilitate the settlement process, most judges consider pre-trial negotiations confidential. Demand letters are part of these negotiations.
This ensures that you and the insurance adjuster are free to have an open dialogue about your claim, without fear that what’s said or written during negotiations can later be used against either party if the claim proceeds to trial.
Dear Ms. Seddle:
On September 5th, 2014 I was seriously injured when I tripped over a sprinkler head on your insured’s property, the Dakota Apartment Complex located at 1278 Highland Ave, Boston, Massachusetts. I severely sprained my Pectineus Ligament in my left leg and suffered cuts and bruises to my left arm.
Unlike other sprinkler heads in the immediate area that were properly receded into the ground, this sprinkler head was exposed approximately two inches from the ground, making it inherently dangerous.
Your insured was negligent in having failed to repair the sprinkler head. Your insured had a legal duty to keep the property safe for its tenants, and wholly breached that duty. Your insured’s negligence was the direct and proximate cause of my injuries and resulting damages.
I was carrying groceries at the time of my injury. Tenants often carry groceries and other items when entering and leaving their apartments. This is usual and customary behavior that your insured should anticipate.
I was initially treated for my injuries at the Allen Medical Clinic located at 7886 Delott Street in Middleton, Massachusetts. I was also later treated at the Reserve Chiropractic Clinic at 78782 Pelham Boulevard, Middleton, Massachusetts. As a direct result of my injuries and required treatment, I sustained out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages.
I want to make clear I never asked for any of this to happen. Immediately prior to September 5th, 2014, I enjoyed a full life free of pain and discomfort. On September 5th, 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 not currently 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.
I have been your insured’s tenant in the Dakota Apartment Complex located at 1278 Highland Ave, Boston, Massachusetts since May, 2012. I live in apartment 2B. On September 5th, 2014 at approximately 6:00 p.m., I left my apartment and drove to City Supermarket. I returned to your insured’s apartment complex at approximately 7:00 p.m.
I parked in my assigned parking space and began walking toward my apartment carrying a bag of groceries. As I was about halfway to my door, I suddenly tripped over what I later learned was an exposed sprinkler head. At that time, the weather was clear and dry.
As I began to fall, I tried to steady myself but my leg turned unnaturally to the left. I felt a searing acute pain in my left leg as I fell. The pain was so severe that I thought my leg was broken. I also sustained cuts and bruises to my left forearm.
I struggled to my feet and picked up my groceries, which had fallen to the ground. I then made my way to my apartment. Because it was late in the evening, I decided to take some Ibuprofen and go to bed. By that time the pain had partially receded, but when I woke up the next morning, my leg was swollen and black and blue. I could barely put pressure on my left leg without terrible pain and discomfort.
My roommate, Sara Donnelly, drove me to the Allen Medical Clinic located at 7886 Delott Street in Middleton, Massachusetts. At the Allen Clinic, Dr. John Sully treated me and diagnosed my injuries as a sprain to the Pectineus Ligament in my left leg, and abrasions and bruises to the skin on my left forearm.
Dr. Sully ordered me to use crutches for the next four weeks, to keep pressure off my left leg, and to apply a topical antibiotic ointment, which he prescribed. Dr. Sully advised me to seek chiropractic care for at least another two weeks after the initial two weeks of recovery.
For the first two weeks after my injury, I continued to endure substantial pain and discomfort. My injury made walking, bathing, dressing, and engaging in other personal activities difficult and burdensome.
I was later treated at the Reserve Chiropractic Clinic located at 34677 Pelham Boulevard, Middleton, Massachusetts. I continued to endure pain and discomfort as I worked to regain my health. My treatment at the Reserve Clinic included electrical stimulation, massage therapy, and exercise. At all times, I followed the doctors’ orders. For every day I was in treatment, I was unable to work. As a result, I had no income during that time.
INJURIES AND TREATMENT
Dr. John Sully examined me at the Allen Medical Clinic located at 7886 Delott Street in Middleton, Massachusetts. Dr. Sully ordered x-rays to determine the extent of my injuries. The x-rays showed no fractures. Dr. Sully concluded that I sustained a severe sprain to my Pectineus Ligament in my left leg. Dr. Sully also treated me for the abrasions to my left forearm.
Dr. Sully prescribed Vicodin 10mg #30 PRN, Flexeril 10mg #30 twice daily, and Neosporin. Dr. Sully ordered me to stay off my left leg as much as possible for the next four weeks. During that time, I was relegated to using crutches to move about.
Following Dr. Sully’s orders, I began therapy at the Reserve Chiropractic Clinic located at 34677 Pelham Boulevard, Middleton, Massachusetts. My therapy included electrical stimulation to my right ankle, massage, and exercise therapy.
I am a 30-year-old female with an unremarkable medical history. My prior medical treatment includes hospitalization in April 2010 at Boston General Hospital for a cesarean section birth of my daughter. Prior to that, I was treated in May 2008 at the Allen Medical Clinic for a staph infection.
At the time of the injury made the basis of this claim, I was fully recovered from all prior medical issues and I was in excellent health.
I have been employed full-time for the last four years as a waitress at the Embers Restaurant located at 677 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. During my tenure at the Embers Restaurant, I missed only five days of work due to illness or injury. Because I was unable to work during my treatment and recovery period, I lost four weeks’ wages.
The following is a list of my medical bills and other expenses related to my injury. I’ve attached copies of my medical records and bills, along with copies of receipts for medications, the crutches, and the cost of travel to treatment. I also attached a letter from my employer confirming my lost wages.
After careful consideration of liability and damages, and a review of standard settlements for similar leg and skin injury cases, I am convinced a fair and reasonable settlement inclusive of my pain and suffering is $11,920.00.
For soft-tissue injuries like muscle and ligament sprains, you can come up with an amount for pain and suffering by multiplying the medical costs by 2-5 times, then adding expenses and lost wages. This amount takes into account all documented costs, and includes an amount for pain and suffering.
In the above example, the victim’s medical costs amount to $2,392.00. By settling for four times medicals ($9,568.00), plus expenses and lost wages ($2,352.00), the victim’s documented expenses will be reimbursed. The remaining amount of $7,176.00 represents compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering.
Keep in mind, this is only the beginning of settlement negotiations. Most adjusters won’t accept the first demand. There will be several back-and-forth exchanges before a final settlement amount is agreed upon by both parties.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Jane R. Smith
1278 Highland Ave, Apt. 2B
Boston, MA 02112
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