Just as injuries are unique to every victim, so are the facts of each personal injury claim. This demand letter example is meant to serve as a guide to help you construct your own demand letter; simply plug in your information where applicable.
Here we use the example of a slip and fall on ice at an apartment complex, but the basic format of the letter can apply to almost any type of premises liability claim. Click the buttons to better understand the reasoning behind certain passages and their importance in settlement negotiations.
Learn more about claims for slip and falls on ice.
Demand Letter Example for Slip and Fall on Ice
February 19, 2014
ABC Insurance Company
Ms. Anna Smith
123 Gray Street, Suite A
Albany, NY 10327
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
Dear Ms. Smith:
Your insured owns the Shelton Arms apartment complex at 2710 Main Street, Albany, New York. At approximately 9:00 p.m. on January 16, 2014, I was seriously injured when I slipped and fell on ice and snow that had accumulated on the front steps of your insured’s complex.
The facts unequivocally prove that your insured’s negligence in failing to keep the steps free from ice and snow was the direct and proximate cause of my injuries and resulting damages.
At all times related to the fall I was observant and not distracted. I was walking carefully while wearing winter boots.
I was initially treated for my injuries at the Haley Medical Clinic located at 2677 Haver Street, Albany, NY. I was diagnosed by Doctor Irving Lazzar as having sustained a severe sprain to the Achilles Tendon and Deltoid Ligament in my right ankle.
I want to make clear I never asked for any of this to happen. Prior to January 16, 2014, I enjoyed a full life, free of pain and discomfort. On January 16th, all that changed. Your insured’s negligence caused me serious injuries and resulting damages, including medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
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 January 16, 2014, at approximately 9:00 p.m., I was returning to my apartment at 2710 Main Street, Albany, NY. The weather was clear and the temperature was 31 degrees Fahrenheit. It had been snowing for several days before and the front steps to my apartment had become slippery from accumulated snow and ice.
While climbing the steps to my apartment, I suddenly felt my legs go out from under me. I tried to steady myself, but my right ankle turned unnaturally to the left. I immediately felt searing pain in my right ankle. The pain was so severe I thought my ankle was broken.
Three days before my catastrophic fall, I called the management office and complained about the steps being very slippery. No one responded to my complaints and the steps remained icy and dangerous. I also spoke with several of my fellow tenants about the situation.
Mr. Juan Gomez of apartment 236 informed me he too had called the landlord, your insured, on January 14th and 15th, complaining about the icy conditions on the steps. Ms. Anita Balor of apartment 238 informed me she called your insured on January 15th to report she had fallen on the same icy steps I slipped and fell on. You possess a copy of the statements made by Mr. Gomez and Ms. Balor.
I finally managed to make my way into my apartment. Because it was late, I decided to take some Ibuprofen and go to bed. The next morning I awoke to find my ankle was swollen and black and blue. I called my brother Tom Wheaton to take me to the Haley Medical Clinic located at 2677 Haver Street, Albany, NY.
While waiting for my brother to arrive, I called the landlord and told him about my injury. He told me he meant to de-ice the steps but ran out of de-icing chemicals. He said he was sorry, and would send someone over to de-ice the steps.
I was initially treated at the Haley Medical Clinic by Dr. Irving Lazzar. Dr. Lazzar diagnosed my injuries as a severe sprain to the Achilles Tendon and Deltoid Ligament in my right ankle. Dr. Lazzar indicated treatment would include keeping pressure off my right ankle for at least four weeks. He prescribed pain medication and instructed me to use crutches during the recovery period.
Dr. Lazzar also indicated I would recover much faster with physical therapy, which he indicated could begin after the first two weeks of my recovery. Dr. Lazzar indicated returning to work within the first four weeks of recovery would only exacerbate my injury and prolong its recovery time.
For the next two weeks, I was forced to hobble around on crutches. During that time, I continued to experience substantial pain and discomfort. I couldn’t drive, had trouble dressing and showering, and otherwise experienced significant stress and hassle caused by my injury.
Two weeks into my recovery I sought physical therapy at the Marin Chiropractic Clinic located at 7887 Plano Turnpike, Albany, NY. For the next two weeks I endured continuing pain and discomfort. My therapy included electrical stimulation, massage therapy, and exercise.
For every day I was in treatment, I was unable to work. As a result, I had no income during my recovery. Nonetheless, I continued to have bills and typical costs of living, and I had to borrow money from family just to get by. I was finally able to return to work on February 17th, 2014, at which time I resumed my normal work duties.
INJURIES AND TREATMENT
I was initially treated at the Haley Medical Clinic located at 2677 Haver Street, Albany, NY. I was examined by Dr. Irving Lazzar, who ordered x-rays. Dr. Lazzar diagnosed me as having sustained a severe sprain to the Achilles Tendon and Deltoid Ligament in my right ankle. He prescribed Darvocet 10 mg #30 prn. He also prescribed Flexeril 10 mg #30, twice a day.
Dr. Lazzar ordered I stay off my ankle for the following four weeks. He also ordered that I seek physical therapy. Following Dr. Lazzar’s orders, I used crutches to move around for the next four weeks, and sought physical therapy at the Marin Chiropractic Clinic located at 7887 Plano Turnpike, Albany, NY. My therapy included electrical stimulation to my right ankle, massage, and exercise therapy.
I am a 35-year-old female with an unremarkable medical history. My prior medical treatment includes hospitalization in September 2010 at the Caleb County Hospital in Gilbert, Arizona for a broken left clavicle sustained during a touch football game. Prior to that, I was treated at the Haley Medical Clinic in May 2009 for food poisoning.
At the time of the injury made the basis of this claim, I was in excellent health.
I have been employed full-time for the last seven years as a store manager at the Tandem Furniture store at 6773 Rounder Circle, Albany, NY. Prior to my employment at the Tandem Furniture Store, I was employed for three years as a salesperson at the Aikman clothing store at 3676 Highland Ave, Albany, NY. In the past five years, I have only missed seven days of work due to injury or illness.
The following is a list of my medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses. I’ve already sent you copies of my medical records and bills, along with copies of receipts for medications, the crutches, and the cost of travel to treatment. I’ve attached a letter from my employer confirming my lost wages.
After careful consideration of liability and damages, and a review of standard settlements for ankle injury cases with similar fact patterns, I am convinced a fair and reasonable settlement inclusive of my pain and suffering is $21,790.00.
For soft-tissue injuries like muscle and ligament sprains, you can use a multiple of 2 to 5 times medical costs to represent the victim’s pain and suffering. Then add out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages to arrive at a total settlement demand.
In the above example, the victim’s medical costs amount to $4,762.00. Four times the medical costs ($19,048.00) plus expenses and lost wages ($2,742.00) equal the victim’s total settlement demand of $21,790.00. This amount ensures the victim’s documented expenses will be reimbursed, and includes $14,286.00 for pain and suffering.
The adjuster probably won’t accept this initial demand for settlement. Instead, she will reply with a counter-offer. The process of arriving at a final settlement amount, agreeable to both sides, typically includes several back-and-forth negotiations.
I look forward to hearing from you.
2710 Main Street, Apt #237
Albany, NY 10502
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