See our sample demand letter to the insurance company seeking compensation for injuries caused by hazards in a clothing store dressing room.
Retail stores are part of everyday life. Grocery stores, clothing stores, and big-box stores are in every community.
Most store owners try to ensure the safety of their customers, but accidents happen every day.
When a store owner or employee should have known about a hazard, had the opportunity to protect customers, and failed to correct the problem, they are usually liable for any resulting injuries.
When you’ve been injured in a retail store, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. That usually means dealing with the negligent store’s insurance company.
Severe injury claims are best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure the best settlement for the victim.
Relatively minor injury claims, like the one suffered by our fictional shopper, can usually be settled on your own by direct negotiations with the insurance company.
Settlement negotiations usually begin with your formal demand letter to the insurance company.
Find out more about How to Write an Effective Compensation Demand Letter.
Assembling a Complete Demand Packet
A complete demand packet has a professional-looking demand letter, copies of your medical bills, and other evidence that proves the store’s negligence injured you.
Important evidence might include:
Before drafting your demand, calculate the settlement value of your injury claim by totaling your “special damages” and “general damages.”
- Special damages, or “hard costs,” are expenses you can prove with bills, receipts, and wage statements.
- There are no objective measurements for “general damages,” but there are other ways to account for your claim for pain and suffering.
Make copies of your bills, receipts, and supporting evidence to enclose with your compensation demand letter.
Prepare an Impressive Demand Letter
Your demand letter can look just as professional as one from an attorney’s office, with a little attention to detail:
- Check spelling and grammar
- Confirm the spelling of names and locations
- Double-check your math
- Print your letter on good quality white or ivory paper
Your demand letter should include:
- Statement of Facts: What happened before, during, and after you were injured
- Liability: Why the evidence proves the store was at fault
- Injuries: Describe your injuries and how they affected your life
- Damages: A list of the dollar amounts of your damages
Sign the demand letter in blue or black ink. Then make a copy of the complete packet for your accident claim file.
Send the letter by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested. When the green card comes back, attach it to your copy of the packet.
Sample Demand Letter for Retail Store Injury
We’ve created a sample letter to an insurance company seeking compensation for injuries caused by a retail store’s negligence. Our fictional victim was injured by stepping on a long straight pin that was left on the floor of a clothing store’s dressing room.
Click for practical hints about writing your demand letter.
325 E 34th Street
Smithtown, NY 11502
November 4, 2020
Traditional Insurance Company
1001 High Street
Boston, MA 02108
Attn: Ann Smith
Your Insured: Acme Clothing Store
Re: Injury on September 5, 2020
Claim Number: PL003369
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
Dear Ms. Smith:
As you know, I was seriously injured on September 5, 2020, at the Acme Clothing Store when my foot was painfully impaled by a metal pin that your insured failed to remove from a dressing room floor.
I had to have emergency treatment for the bloody injury to my foot, including stitches, a tetanus shot, and antibiotics. The injury kept me off my feet and out of work for two full weeks.
I was injured in a designated dressing room. Just like any other clothing customer, I had to take my shoes off to try on some jeans. I had no reason to believe I couldn’t safely remove my shoes in a clothing store dressing room.
I was one of the first customers in the store that morning, and I was the first customer to use the dressing room that day. I reasonably expected the store would have cleaned the dressing room and removed dangerous debris from the dressing room floor before opening for business.
I am seeking compensation for the injury-related damages I suffered because of your insured’s negligence. Those damages include my medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and my pain and suffering.
SUMMARY OF FACTS
On September 5, 2020, I drove to Sweeny’s Clothing Store, located at 367 Bayview Avenue, Patchogue, New York. I arrived at approximately 9:00 a.m., just as the store was opening.
After perusing the racks of jeans, I found two pairs to try on. I went into the nearest dressing room. Once in the private booth, I took off my shoes and pants.
I had no way of knowing I was in danger from entering a clothing store dressing room for its intended use. I was one of the first customers in the store that morning. I reasonably expected the store would have cleaned and removed dangerous debris from the dressing room floor before opening for business.
After pulling on the first pair of jeans, I stood up. As I did, I felt a very sharp pain in my right foot. I immediately sat down and looked underneath my foot and saw my sock filling with blood. I saw a long straight pin, at least two inches long, sticking through my sock and into my foot. As I pulled off the sock, the pin came with it, causing intense pain.
I took off the bloody sock and hobbled out to the nearest salesclerk. I asked her to call the manager. I later learned that the clerk’s name is Mary Brown. Ms. Brown pulled over a chair and asked me to sit while she called the manager over. Several minutes later, with my foot still bleeding, the manager came over. The manager’s name is John Sanders.
Mr. Sanders acted like he couldn’t care less that I was injured and bleeding and only offered to get a band-aid from the back office. I was very upset. I showed him my bloody sock and demanded he make a report to the store owners. He completely ignored me, although later I found out that he did complete an incident report.
Because I was bleeding and in pain, I called my sister. She arrived several minutes later and immediately drove me to Hillcrest Hospital’s Emergency Room.
INJURIES AND TREATMENT
After waiting over an hour in the emergency room, I was seen by Dr. Francine Thomas. She examined my wound and told me it needed stitches to stop the bleeding. A nurse cleaned my wound, and the doctor closed the wound with absorbable sutures. I was in prolonged and acute pain the entire time.
Because of the deep puncture wound from the dirty pin, I had to have a tetanus shot and was prescribed ten days of antibiotics.
Dr. Thomas ordered me to stay off my right foot for two weeks to reduce swelling and give the wound time to heal. I was given crutches and instructions for wound care, then released to go home.
I work as an apartment leasing manager. My job duties include showing potential tenants available apartments, which requires lots of walking and climbing stairs. Because I couldn’t walk, I was forced to take two weeks off from work. Dr. Thomas wrote me a work note to stay off work for two weeks.
Staying off work for two weeks was no vacation. Because of the pain and swelling, I had to keep my foot propped up. I couldn’t drive, and I couldn’t even walk my dog. The antibiotics gave me terrible diarrhea. Trying to hurry to the bathroom on crutches and get my pants down while balancing on one foot was pure torture.
What made everything worse was losing two weeks of pay. I was so ashamed that my sister not only had to bring me groceries; she had to pay for them because I was so strapped.
I spent two weeks feeling miserable, in pain, and depressed. All because of your insured’s negligence. Believe me; I’d rather have been at work.
I have been employed for three years as a leasing agent by Armitage Residential Properties, Inc. My job duties include showing available rental properties to prospective tenants. Until your insured caused my injuries, I had an excellent attendance record.
I missed two full weeks of work because my injury affected my ability to walk around the grounds or buildings or manage the stairs.
The following is a list of my medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Supporting documents are enclosed.
To compensate me for the physical pain, emotional distress, and the financial losses I sustained because of the negligence of your insured, I demand the total amount of $8,725 to resolve my injury claim.
Please respond within fifteen (15) business days. I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
When You Need an Attorney
When you’ve gathered your evidence and learned how to negotiate an insurance settlement, you can usually settle minor injury claims without a hitch.
However, every insurance adjuster is different, with their own negotiation style and biases. If you’re dealing with a difficult adjuster, it’s important to know that you can consult an attorney at any time during negotiations.
If the adjuster won’t come off a ridiculously low offer, tries to pin some of the blame on you, or has some other excuse to hold up your settlement, you still have options.
Most injury attorneys don’t charge for their initial consultation. If you hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis, they only get paid when your case settles or wins in court.
Don’t settle for less before taking the time to discuss your claim with an experienced personal injury attorney.
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