Here is an example of the kind of demand letter that might be sent in an injury claim after a slip and fall in a store. Feel free to use it as a template for your own demand letter in an injury-related insurance claim or lawsuit. [NOTE: You'll find helpful instructions and clarification in bold and bracketed text.]
Sample Demand Letter - Slip and Fall in a Store
February 1, 20xx
Mr. Harry Styles
12 Main St.
New Rochelle, NY
Re: Your insured: New Rochelle Automotive
Date of injury: July 15, 20xx
Your file number: 9449445B [NOTE: Always use the insurer’s file number on all correspondence with the adjuster]
Dear Mr. Styles:
I have finished my medical treatment, and so I am enclosing all of my medical records and bills related to this case. [NOTE: You always want to make sure that the adjuster has all of your medical records and bills relating to your injury when you send a demand letter. The adjuster will not make a settlement offer until he/she has your entire medical file.]
As you know, I was injured when I slipped and fell at New Rochelle Automotive. I had gone there to buy brakes for my car. While carrying the brakes to the checkout counter, I slipped and fell on what clearly was oil in one of the aisles. I did not see the oil. I was concentrating on holding four boxes of brakes in my hands and was also focused on watching my four year-old son, who was with me. I stepped on the oil patch with my left foot, and it went right out from under me. As a result, I fell on my rear end. I felt immediate pain in my low back, but I got right up away because I did not want my son to worry. I looked closely at the floor and on my sneaker and saw the oil. I touched the floor and my sneaker and it felt like oil. It was slippery like oil. I have been changing my own oil for 20 years and I feel like I know what motor oil looks and feels like. I absolutely believe that it was oil on the floor that caused me to slip. [NOTE: Describe the accident in as much detail as possible.]
No one from the store witnessed my fall. I mentioned my fall to the clerk at the counter, whose name was Jason. He did not offer to report it to the manager, and I did not ask. I figured that I would be OK, and I had my son with me. It turned out that I was not OK. After a week of nagging back pain, I went to see my primary care doctor, Dr. Walsh. He sent me for x-rays and then an MRI, and diagnosed a bulging L5-S1 disk. [NOTE: Make sure to state your exact diagnosis.] He sent me for physical therapy. I did a month of physical therapy, and also saw a chiropractor. I am now better, but, according to both Dr. Walsh and the chiropractor, Dr. Bates, I am definitely not healed. The disk is still bulging, but I am living with it. It could flare up at any time, according to them.
I contend that New Rochelle Automotive was negligent with respect to its operation of its property. It is not a big store. I do not know how long the oil had been on the floor, but I contend that it had been there long enough for one of the store’s employees to have become aware of it. I should point out that the oil spill was not in the oil aisle. So the only way that it could have gotten there was for someone to have dropped it. If it was a store employee, he or she should have cleaned it up. If it was a customer, surely the customer would have mentioned it to a store employee. I should also note that, when I looked at the oil on the floor, it was a little dirty. To me, this means that it had been there for a while, i.e., long enough for others to step in it.
After Dr. Walsh told me about the bulging disk, I went back to New Rochelle Automotive and asked to see the manager. I told him that I had fallen two weeks earlier and that I wanted to make a claim. He was not friendly. He denied that I had fallen, and denied that anyone named Jason ever worked there. I had seen the clerk’s name tag, and it said Jason. I told him that. I was not getting anywhere, so I walked out. Later, as you know, I wrote them a letter and they obviously passed it on to you, and that is how I got your address.
[NOTE: In this situation, your discussion of liability needs to be detailed. This is because slip and falls are not always easy cases to prove. You need to give all of the facts and prove that the premises owner knew or should have known about the unsafe condition. Since you almost never can prove exactly how long a foreign substance was on the floor, you have to use every fact that you can to give reasons why the premises owner should have known about it.]
My back hurt quite a bit for a couple of weeks. I don’t like taking medications, so I just took regular Tylenol. I did not miss any work, although I did take it easy for a while. I am a manager at a lumber yard. I sit at a desk part of the day, and also spend a few hours a day in the yard. I occasionally am required to carry lumber around. I asked my workers for help with carrying for several weeks. I also had to take it easy around the house. I couldn’t get down on the floor and play with my children for a few weeks and I had to hire a local kid to mow the lawn. [NOTE: You want to explain clearly and concisely your injuries 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.]
I followed up with Dr. Baker until November 17, and then he released me from care.
My medical bills total $8,500.00. My health insurance paid the remainder of the bills, but they have sent me a letter in which they claim a lien of $4,000.00 on any settlement that I may get in this case. [NOTE: If you have to repay your health insurance (and you almost always have to), make sure that you tell the adjuster.]
My medical bills were as follows:
City Radiology 500.00
City Medical Partners (Dr. Walsh) 500.00
New Rochelle Chiropractic 4,000.00
West Side Physical Therapy 3,500.00
TOTAL $8,500.00 [NOTE: You always want to put together a little chart listing your medical bills. Don’t make the adjuster read through them to figure out the total.]
Taking into account your insured’s liability and my serious damages in this case, I demand $25,000.00 to settle this case. Please advise as to your thoughts on this matter. [After sending the letter, you should give the adjuster three or four weeks to respond. If you don’t hear from the adjuster in a month, then give him/her a call.]
Very truly yours,
Learn more about Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Cases.