You’ll write your settlement demand letter to the insurance company once you’ve completed your medical treatment. Your letter will summarize the facts that support your claim. You will also make your first demand upon the insurance company to pay you a specific amount of money as compensation for your damages.
In personal injury claims, damages can include medical, chiropractic, and dental bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for such items as medications, crutches, cervical collars, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.
By the time you write your demand letter, you should have copies of your medical records and bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and a typed letter from your employer confirming your lost wages. You should also have copies of any witness statements, and if possible, a copy of the store’s incident report.
Most insurance company claims adjusters are working on well over a hundred claims at any one time. It’s fair to say with all the demand letters an adjuster receives, they often blur together. This is why you need to make your letter stand out.
While your letter won’t be typed on law firm letterhead, it should nevertheless be crafted just as professionally as an attorney’s. Print your typed letter on clean white or ivory bond paper, and make sure it’s completely free of grammar and spelling errors. Write your story logically, with a beginning and an end. The sample letter below will show you how to clearly discuss the elements supporting your demand.
After you complete your letter, show it to trusted friends or family members and ask them for feedback. There will probably be a few mistakes you overlooked. It happens to the best of writers.
Below is a sample slip and fall demand letter for you to reference when writing your own letter. Throughout the letter you’ll notice buttons. Click on them for an explanation of the wording, terminology, and ideas behind the writing.
Sample Slip and Fall Legal Demand Letter
January 14th, 2014
Ms. Margaret Dodd
ABC Insurance Company
Anytown, NY 11007
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
By starting your letter with the words “For Settlement Purposes Only,” you are making clear you have a reasonable expectation of confidentiality. What you discuss in your settlement demand letter can’t be later used against you if your claim doesn’t settle and ends up in trial.
(Courts are overloaded with personal injury cases. It can take a year or more for some cases to get to trial. To reduce the glut of cases on their dockets, judges urge parties to settle their differences out of court, and afford settlement negotiations a form of qualified confidentiality.)
Dear Ms. Dodd:
As you know, on October 5th, 2014, I was seriously injured when I slipped and fell on your insured’s premises. The evidence clearly shows your insured’s negligence was the direct and proximate cause of my injuries and resulting damages, including medical and chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On Saturday, October 5, 2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., I was shopping at Adolf’s Supermarket located at 1010 Main Street, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85017. At the time, I was not distracted and was fully aware of my surroundings.
As I was walking down Aisle 4, labeled “Fresh Produce,” I noticed the misting machines were on. Mist was being directed over the fruit and vegetables. As I approached the center of Aisle 4, I suddenly felt my legs go out from under me. As they did I was viciously hurled downward onto the cement-like floor.
As I plummeted downward, my right knee turned unnaturally to the left. I immediately felt an acute and searing pain in my right knee. I looked down and noticed my pants were soaking wet. I quickly surmised run-off water from the mister had pooled beneath me, and the pooling caused me to slip and fall.
Fortunately, another shopper saw me fall and immediately came to my aid. Her name is Susan Smith and she resides at 177 Main Street, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85056. Her telephone number is 555-134-7676. It is my understanding you have spoken with Ms. Smith and she has confirmed she saw me fall. She has also confirmed she saw pooled water beneath me. A copy of her statement is attached.
Ms. Smith sought out the manager, John Blevins. I explained to him that I slipped and fell on pooled water in Aisle 4, and as a result, my knee was injured. Mr. Blevins stated he had been “having trouble” with the store’s mister.
I asked Mr. Blevins if he was going to create an incident report for my fall. He indicated he would. When I asked him to give me a copy of the report, he said he would have to check with his superior. When I subsequently contacted Mr. Blevins about the incident report, he said he wasn’t permitted to give me a copy. I am confident you have a copy of that report and have reviewed it.
There were no signs cautioning me or other shoppers about the wet floor, nor was the area where I fell cordoned off.
The pain in my right knee was so excruciating that I could barely stand. I felt nauseous. I asked Mr. Blevins to call 911 and request the paramedics be dispatched. The paramedics arrived several minutes later. After stabilizing me, they transferred me to the Scottsdale General Hospital Emergency Room.
INJURIES & TREATMENT
I was examined by Sarah Dolan M.D. at the Scottsdale General Hospital’s Emergency Room. After an initial examination, Dr. Dolan ordered an MRI of my right knee. The MRI showed that I had sustained a severe sprain to the ACL in my knee – a grade-one injury.
Before October 5, 2014, I had not sustained any type of injury to my right knee or ACL.
Dr. Dolan advised me to rest and seek physical therapy. To hasten the healing process, Dr. Dolan ordered four weeks of intense physical therapy with alternating bed rest. To address pain issues, Dr. Dolan prescribed Vicodin 5mg #30, one every four hours as needed for pain, and Flexeril 10mg #30, one every six hours for pain.
Dr. Dolan also instructed me not to return to work at my job as a restaurant waiter during the four weeks of therapy. Doing so, she stated, would likely exacerbate my knee injury and prolong my recovery time.
Following Dr. Dolan’s instructions I sought treatment at the All-Care Clinic located at 1145 Bell Avenue, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85667. For the next four weeks I underwent a prolonged and painful recovery.
On November 4, 2014, I completed my treatment at the All-Care Clinic and returned to my job as a waiter at the Happy Trail Restaurant, located at 1566 Bell Street in Scottsdale, Arizona, 85664.
Driving distance to and from treatment at the All-Care Clinic totaled 150 miles, which at $0.55 per mile equals $82.50. Medications totaled $200.00. Crutches cost $75.00.
I have worked as a waiter at the Happy Trails Restaurant since May 2012. At the time of my fall on your insured’s premises, I was making approximately $12.00 an hour. Because I was unable to work from October 5, 2014 through November 4, 2014, I had no income during that period. As a result, I lost $2,500.00 in wages.
PAIN AND SUFFERING
This entire episode has been physically and psychologically devastating. I never asked for any of this to happen. Before your insured negligently permitted water to pool in an area with high foot traffic, without placing a caution sign, I was living a full life, free of pain and discomfort.
Since my injury, I have suffered from extreme pain and discomfort, anxiety, guilt, and depression, all directly attributable to your insured’s negligence.
Without income, I was forced to borrow money from family members and friends. This was embarrassing and resulted in tension in my marriage. Moreover, because of the pain and suffering I’ve endured, I was also unable to enjoy the intimacy I previously shared with my wife.
My intention is to settle this claim amicably. I would prefer not to retain an attorney, but unless you are prepared to settle this claim fairly, I will have no alternative but to immediately seek legal representation.
- Witness Susan Smith’s Statement
- City of Scottsdale Paramedic Report
- Lost Wage Verification signed by Happy Trails Restaurant Manager Sam Spade
- Scottsdale General Hospital Medical Bills
- Medical Narrative of Sarah Dolan, M.D.
- All-Care Clinic Narrative and Bills
ITEMIZATION OF DAMAGES
After careful consideration of the issues involved in this claim, and a review of jury verdicts and insurance settlements with similar fact patterns, I believe the amount of $21,860.00 represents a fair and equitable settlement amount.
In “soft tissue” injury claims such as the one depicted in this sample letter, you can use a multiple of anywhere from 2 to 5 times medical bills to begin negotiations.
In this claim, the medicals bills totaled $4,800.00. While demanding $21,860.00 (4x medical and chiropractic bills, plus expenses and lost wages) may be at the higher end of the settlement demand range, such an amount leaves room to negotiate.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
1567 South Mill Ave
Scottsdale, AZ 85017
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