Providing Notification for Slip and Fall Injury Claims

How to provide notice of your intent to file an injury claim after a slip and fall accident. Learn who you should notify and what to include.

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident and wish to pursue compensation for your injuries, you’ll have to notify the at-fault party and their insurance carrier of your intent to file an injury claim.

The best way to provide notice is by sending a letter to these parties to let them know you seek to recover payment for any losses you may have sustained in your accident.

While providing notice might seem like a little groundwork on your part, it’s necessary to secure your injury claim and the compensation you deserve.

If you suffered serious slip and fall injuries, it’s a good idea to let your attorney handle communications with the at-fault party and their insurer. Insurance companies are notorious for offering lower settlements for high-dollar claims when the injured person is not represented by an attorney.

Provide Early Notification of Your Slip and Fall Claim

If you have decided to handle your own slip and fall claim, you’ll need to provide the at-fault party and the insurance company notice of your intent to seek compensation as soon as practically possible.

Ideally, send your notification letters within a few days of the slip and fall event. You’ll want to put the property owner on notice before any important evidence is destroyed.

This is only a notification of your intent to pursue compensation for your damages, not the beginning of settlement negotiations.

Later, after you’ve recovered from your injuries and know the full extent of your damages, it will be time to send a demand for compensation.

Notifying the At-Fault Party

Notify the at-fault party by sending a letter that communicates your intentions and protects your interests.

If the property owner or manager has not already given you their insurance information, you want to clearly ask for the party’s insurer.

Your letter to the at-fault party should include: 

  • The date and approximate time of your injury
  • A request for their insurance company’s contact information
  • Your name and contact information

It’s important to include a few sentences that ask the at-fault party to preserve any evidence it may have of your slip and fall event. Legally called “spoliation language,” you’re warning the at-fault party not to destroy evidence that could help your claim.

When writing your letter, you don’t have to know for sure what kind of evidence might support your claim. You can make a general request that the property owner preserves any evidence relevant to your slip and fall.

At a minimum, you’ll want to mention surveillance films taken on the day of your fall, and all electronic records related to your injury, even if you didn’t see a security camera.

Example of a Letter Sent to an At-Fault Party

Click the buttons to see explanations for wording in the letter.

Acme Management Company
123 Corporate Drive
Seattle, WA 98103

January 08, 2021

Date the letter the same day you mail it, not the date you start writing it. Notice dates are an important part of your injury claim timeline.

RE: Personal Injury Claim for Slip and Fall Accident on January 4, 2021

To Whom It May Concern:

On January 4, 2021, at approximately 5:00 pm, I was injured in the lobby of The Homestead Apartments complex at 1492 Main Street, Seattle, Washington. I understand that your company manages The Homestead Apartments.

Please provide me with the name and contact information of your insurance carrier as soon as possible. You may contact me in writing at the below address or electronically at DavidJ@example.com.

Protect your privacy by using your personal email address. Anything sent to your work email can be legally reviewed by your employer.

Additionally, this letter will serve to provide you with notice to preserve and retain any information that may be relevant to my injury claim, including, but not limited to video or audio footage recorded on January 4, 2021, photographs, written or electronic reports, handwritten notes, and all other evidence relating to the incident.

Spoliation language helps to make sure that important evidence is not lost, destroyed, or otherwise “spoiled” before your claim is settled.

Kindly forward this letter immediately to your insurance carrier for coverage of my claim.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

David Jones
245 Day Rd.
Seattle, WA 98102
(XXX) XXX-XXXX

Once you complete the letter, sign it with blue or black ink and copy it for your records.

Send the letter by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested. Once you get the certified mail delivery confirmation (green card), attach it to your copy of the letter.

Once the at-fault party receives the letter, the business will likely turn it over to its insurance company if it hasn’t already put the insurer on notice of the accident.

Slip and Fall Notification Letter vs. an Incident Report

Your letter to the property owner that shows your intent to seek compensation is not the same thing as a slip and fall incident report. An incident report documents the fact that you were injured in an accident on the premises.

Asking the property owner to make an incident report is one the most important things to do immediately after a slip and fall accident.

Most businesses have an incident report form where you fill in some blanks, check some boxes, and summarize what took place. The report is signed and dated and kept by the business. Chain stores, for example, will then forward the incident report to the corporation’s main office.

Always ask for an incident report to be completed when you’ve suffered a slip and fall at a business location. If the business doesn’t have an incident report form, you can create an incident report by writing down how your accident occurred and how you were injured.

In comparison to a notification letter, an incident report is much more detailed.

An incident report generally includes:

  • All the relevant facts of the accident and your injuries
  • The order of events leading up to your injury and immediately after it occurred
  • What you believe caused the accident
  • How the careless actions or inactions of the property owner contributed to your injuries
  • Your personal information
  • The names of any witnesses

If you do have to create your own incident report, keep a copy for your records and send the original to the property owner or manager.

Example of a Written Incident Report

Incident Report

Acme Management Company
123 Corporate Drive
Seattle, WA 98103

January 6, 2021

RE: Slip and fall accident on January 4, 2021

Dear Acme Management Company:

On Monday afternoon, January 4, 2021, at approximately 5:00 pm, I approached the door to The Homestead Apartments complex at 1492 Main Street, Seattle, Washington, to visit a friend.

At the time, it was cloudy and pouring down rain. It had rained on and off that day for most of the afternoon.

When I opened the door, I noticed two people in the apartment building’s lobby. One I believe was a resident, and the other was a person from your company helping the resident open her mail slot.

As I let the door close behind me, I took a step forward and slipped on the wet tile floor. My right ankle twisted over my foot, and I immediately experienced shooting pain. I tried to catch my balance but couldn’t and fell right to the floor.

The two people in the lobby raced over to my side. The employee of your company tried to help me up, but I couldn’t put any weight on my right foot and dropped back to the floor.

The woman noticed that my jeans were wet from the fall and remarked on the amount of water on the lobby floor. The employee said that he saw the pool of water but failed to mop it up and put up a sign warning of the wet tile.

An ambulance shortly came. As paramedics were assisting me, I noticed the employee mopping up the water. I was transported by ambulance to the emergency room and treated for my ankle injury.

If not for the failure of the Acme employee to keep the lobby floor in a safe and dry condition, I would not have suffered a painful, debilitating injury.

Sincerely,

David Jones
245 Day Rd.
Seattle, WA 98102
(XXX) XXX-XXXX
DavidJ@example.com

Witness Contact Information:

Patricia Davis
1200 Berry Ave.
Seattle, WA 98103
(XXX) XXX-XXXX
pdavis@example.com

Notifying the At-Fault Party’s Insurer

If you were injured in a slip and fall, your injury claim will most likely be covered by the premises owner’s homeowner’s policy or liability insurance carrier.

It’s a good idea to notify the insurer of your intent to seek compensation for your damages even if you have reason to believe that the at-fault party forwarded your notification letter to its insurance company.

Send a notification letter to the property owner’s insurer as soon as you get the insurance company’s contact information.

As with the notification letter to the property owner, the letter to the insurer provides basic information about your slip and fall accident. It’s too soon to discuss fault or the extent of your slip and fall damages.

Your letter to the insurance company should include: 

  • The location of your slip and fall
  • The date and approximate time of the incident
  • A brief description of your accident
  • Your full name and contact information

You don’t have to include a request for the insurance company to preserve evidence of your claim as it wouldn’t have any.

Once you’ve completed your letter, make sure to proofread it for any spelling and grammar mistakes. Sign your name in blue or black ink and make a copy of it.

File a copy of the signed letter with your other slip and fall claim documents. Send the original letter to the insurance company by certified mail.

Sample Notification Letter to the Insurance Company

Click the buttons to see explanations for wording in the letter.

Major Insurance Company
1001 Park Plaza
Columbus, OH 43002

Attn: Claims Department

January 26, 2021

The letter date should be the date you mail the letter. Notice dates are an important part of your injury claim timeline.

RE: Personal Injury Claim
Your Insured: Acme Management Company
Policy Number: ABC54321

If the property owner or manager provided contact information for their insurance company, they probably included a policy number. If you don’t have a policy number, don’t worry about it.

Dear Claims Manager:

Please be advised that I suffered injuries from a slip and fall accident at approximately 5:00 pm on January 4, 2021, on the premises of The Homestead Apartments, 1492 Main Street, Seattle, WA. Your insured, Acme Management Company, manages the apartment complex.

Provide the street address of the property where the slip and fall occurred. The at-fault party may own or manage multiple business locations.

Please confirm in writing, via my home address or email, that your company provides liability insurance coverage to the Apartment Management Company and all policy numbers associated with the insured as of my injury date.

Business and residential property owners may have more than one type of insurance policy in effect. For example, a homeowner may have standard homeowner’s insurance on their house, and also carry an umbrella insurance policy for extra liability protection.

Also, please advise if your insured shares legal responsibility with any other party as to injuries on The Homestead Apartments property.

When a slip and fall happens on business property, there may be more than one party who is legally responsible for your injuries, such as the property owner and the management company who looks after property.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Regards,

David Jones
245 Day Rd.
Seattle, WA 98102
(XXX) XXX-XXXX

You should make this request in writing as opposed to calling an insurance company so you have tangible proof that you made a timely claim.

Keep in mind that a notification letter is not a demand letter. You or your attorney will send a demand letter later in the claims process with details about your accident, damages, and the amount of compensation you’ll accept to settle your slip and fall injury claim.

What if the Insurer Calls You?

The hope is that the at-fault party’s insurance company will respond to your notification letter in writing. However, you could get a telephone call from a claims adjuster or some other person from the insurance company.

If you receive a call, it’s important to remain calm. Be polite and avoid any aggressive comments. Ask for the name of the person, their job title, and if there is a claim number you should refer to in future correspondence.

In most states, an accident victim is not legally required to speak with an insurance adjuster. It’s okay to say you’d rather communicate in writing. You aren’t being rude by setting boundaries.

Never agree to provide a recorded statement on the spot, just because the insurance adjuster has you on the phone. Don’t volunteer any information. If they start asking questions, politely tell them you would like them to please send their questions in writing.

Don’t allow yourself to be bullied, or cajoled into staying on the phone. If at any time you feel uncomfortable in the conversation, politely say goodby and end the call.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Speaking with an Insurer

If you do choose to talk to an adjuster, proceed with caution and avoid costly mistakes. Adjusters will look for anything that raises a red flag as to your claim. They’ll then use that information as an excuse to deny your claim.

Don’t give an adjuster any reason to doubt you or your claim for injuries.

Don’t Guess or Estimate

Adjusters like to turn your statements around so that you contradict yourself. Contradictory remarks cast doubt on your credibility, which could seriously undermine your claim.

Accidental contradictions happen when a person really doesn’t know the answer to a question. Never guess or estimate something when speaking with an insurance company, even if they ask you to give your best guess.

Avoid uttering any statement that includes the phrase, “I think.” Don’t guess, and don’t offer opinions. Stick to the facts.

Don’t Minimize or Apologize

Never try to downplay your injuries or apologize for your slip and fall accident. Comments like “I’m not usually so clumsy” can sink your claim.

Don’t agree to statements made by the adjuster that suggest you weren’t paying attention, wearing the proper footwear, or otherwise brought the accident upon yourself.

Stand behind your injuries and the property owner’s fault. Don’t be rude in doing so but stay firm in your claim.

Help for Complicated Slip and Fall Claims

If your accident is complicated, or you’ve suffered extensive injuries, protect yourself by speaking with an injury attorney before sending your claim notification letters to the at-fault party or their insurance company.

You’ll need an attorney for high-dollar claims to get fair compensation, especially if you were injured in a big-name corporate business. You’ll not only be up against the insurance company, but also an army of corporate defense lawyers.

Complicated slip and fall claims can involve: 

  • Multiple at-fault parties
  • Multiple insurance policies
  • Allegations of shared blame

Product liability is another complication that arises if your slip and fall was caused by malfunctioning machinery, like a leaking freezer at a grocery store, or a dangerous escalator in a public building.

Most injury attorneys provide free consultations to slip and fall victims. A free consultation means you can learn of your legal options without paying a dime.

Further, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee, your attorney doesn’t get paid unless they settle your claim or win an injury award in court.

It costs nothing to find out what an experienced attorney can do for you.

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Dustin Reichard, Esq. is an experienced attorney with 20 years of work in the legal field. He’s admitted to the Illinois State Bar and the Washington State Bar. Dustin has worked in the areas of medical malpractice, wrongful death, product liability, slip and falls, and general liability. Dustin began his legal career as a JAG... Read More >>