Here is an example of a demand letter in which the claimant alleges that a store's security personnel are liable for false imprisonment or some other type of intentional tort.
Sample Demand Letter - Injured by Store Security
November 5, 20xx
Ms. Katherine Janssen
P.O. Box 39
Juneau, AK 99111
Re: Your insured: Johnson’s Clothing
Date of injury: June 12, 20xx
Your file number: D322C-2AA [NOTE: Always use the insurer’s file number on all correspondence with the insurer]
Dear Ms. Janssen:
I have finished my medical treatment, and so I am enclosing all of my medical records and bills on this case. [NOTE: You always want to make sure that the adjuster has all of your medical records and bills. The adjuster will not make a settlement offer until he/she has your entire medical file.] As you know, I was injured when I was roughly manhandled by the security personnel at Johnson’s Clothing. I had gone to Johnson’s to look for some pants. I had been there a number of times before. I noticed that, after I had been there for a few minutes, a store security guard began following me around the store. Finally, he approached me and demanded to look inside my backpack. I refused. I am not a thief and hadn’t taken anything, but he had no right to inspect my personal belongings. He grabbed my backpack, and I held onto it. In this struggle, he threw me against a counter, and injured my ribs. At that point, I let go of the backpack because I was now hurt. He looked in it and of course found nothing. He then escorted me out of the store. I demanded to speak with the manager, but he wouldn’t let me go anywhere but out of the store.
As you know, I called the police and contacted the store that afternoon. The police declined to file charges, and told me that I should handle this as a civil matter.
I contend that the behavior of Johnson’s employee was outrageous and offensive. He assaulted me, plain and simple. He had no reason to inspect my backpack. He had no reason to put his hands on me. He violated the law and injured me.
[NOTE: In most cases, your discussion of liability should be short and to the point. However, in this type of case, a civil assault case, you should go on the offensive. Point out how innocent your conduct was, and how outrageous and offensive the defendant’s conduct was. But always remember, you want something from the adjuster, i.e., money. Don’t make the adjuster go out of his/her way to get all of the important facts.]
My right side, where the guard threw me against the counter, was really hurting, so I went to my primary care provider, Dr. Davis, the next day. He examined me, sent me for an x-ray, and found out that I broke a rib. He taped me up, told me to take it easy and try not to cough or sneeze, and that it would heal in a month or so. [NOTE: Say exactly what your diagnosis or diagnoses are. Once again, as a general rule, you should explain them very straightforwardly.]
I am a student in community college. I don’t work, so I don’t have a lost earnings claim. But I missed a week of classes because of the injury. I saw Dr. Davis again a month later, as he recommended, and he took another x-ray and said that it was healed. My side hurt a lot for the first two weeks; then, it slowly got better. I took prescription Tylenol several times a day for three weeks, and, after that, took regular Tylenol for another two weeks.
As I said, I missed a week of school, and I also missed a month of hiking and biking. As you know, summers are short here in Alaska, and to miss a month of our summer really hurt. [NOTE: You want to explain clearly and concisely your injuries, your medical treatment, and your pain and suffering. Don’t exaggerate. The adjuster has heard it all before. Just explain what your injuries were and how they affected your life.]
My medical bills total $1,000.00. I have paid $100 in co-pays, but I still owe the rest as I don’t have any health insurance. My medical bills were as follows:
- City Radiology 300.00
- Dr. Davis 700.00
- TOTAL $1,000.00 [NOTE: You always want to put together a little chart listing your medical bills. Don’t make the adjuster read through all of the bills. When you attach copies of your medical records, organize them by health care provider. Again, make it easy for the adjuster to figure out what happened.]
Although I was luckily not seriously injured, I will not settle this case for next to nothing. If we can’t settle this case for something reasonable, I will get a lawyer and we will file a lawsuit. I will also call the newspaper and make sure that this case gets all over the internet. This is a case of unprovoked assault. Johnson’s cannot get away with this. I demand $50,000.00 to settle this case. If I don’t hear from you in two weeks, I will hire a lawyer. [While, in most cases, you should make your demand very objectively and give the adjuster three or four weeks to respond, in this type of case you are entitled to be rightfully indignant, make serious threats and shorten the adjuster’s time to respond.]
Very truly yours,
For everything you need to know about these kinds of cases, check out our article Injuries Caused by a Store Security Guard.