Here is what a demand letter might look like in a slip and fall claim where the injury took place in a parking lot.
Sample Demand Letter - Slip and Fall in Parking Lot
March 17, 20xx
Ms. Mary Adams
Central States Insurance
P.O. Box 9566
Indianapolis, IN 46201
Re: Your insured: Robertson Plumbing and Heating
Date of injury: December 3, 20xx
Your file number: 4666-21J [NOTE: Always use the insurer’s file number on all correspondence]
Dear Ms. Adams:
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 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 in Robertson’s parking lot. I had gone to Robertson to pick up a part for my furnace. As I was walking from my car to the store, I slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot. I felt immediate pain in my low back when I landed. It had rained the day before, and the temperature went below freezing that night. I got to Robertson around 11 AM, and the parking lot was still icy and slippery. I walked as carefully as I could, but slipped on a patch of ice. The only thing that I had in my hands when I fell was my shopping list.
I contend that Robertson was negligent with respect to its ownership and upkeep of its property. It was 11 AM by the time that I arrived. Robertson opens every morning at 8 AM. They had 3 hours to get some salt down on the parking lot and/or get someone to shovel or chop up the ice, but they didn’t do that. For that reason, they were negligent.
There is also a town ordinance (section 47.3) that requires shop owners to shovel the exterior areas of their premises. I have enclosed a copy of the relevant section of the ordinance as well as photographs of the parking lot that my wife took later that afternoon. [NOTE: Your discussion of liability should be short and to the point. First, you should explain how you got hurt. Second, you should explain exactly why the defendant was negligent. If you are relying on a local ordinance or building code, you should make it easy for the adjuster and attach a copy. 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. Learn more about proving negligence.]
I reported my accident to Fred at the store, picked up my part, and went home. The next day, I went to my primary care provider, Dr. Linden. Dr. Linden told me to rest, and said that it was probably a back sprain. It didn’t get better, and the next week he took x-rays, which were negative, and so he referred me to a chiropractor, Dr. Beckman. Dr. Beckman confirmed Dr. Linden’s diagnosis of lumbar sprain. [NOTE: Say exactly what your diagnosis is/was.]
I am a software designer and sit at a desk most of the workday. Sitting was impossible for the first two weeks. Dr. Beckman said that I shouldn’t return to work for at least three weeks. He told me to do some walking every day, but that I should lie down when I wasn't walking. I did miss two weeks of work, but went back, against Dr. Beckman’s advice, in the third week. I had work to do, and couldn't afford to take any more time off.
My back hurt a lot for the first month; then, it slowly got better. By four months from the date of the injury I was recovered. I took prescription Tylenol every day for three weeks, and, after that, took regular Tylenol. I saw Dr. Beckman 3 times a week for 8 weeks. He helped me a lot.
I ski a lot in the winter, but I had to miss almost the entire ski season this winter because of this injury. It was very upsetting to me to miss almost an entire season. I couldn’t even play with my young children for a couple of weeks. That was upsetting to all of us. [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 and chiropractic bills total $5,000. I paid $1,000 in co-pays. My health insurance paid the remainder of the bills, but have sent me a letter in which it claims a lien of $2,000 on any settlement that I may get in this case. I have attached copies of my medical records. [NOTE: If you have to repay your health insurance (and you almost always have to), make sure that you tell the adjuster. Insurers will take that into account in formulating an offer.]
My medical bills were as follows:
Beckman Chiropractic 4,400.00
City Radiology 200.00
City Medical Partners (Dr. Linden) 400.00
TOTAL $5,000.00 [NOTE: You always want to put together a little chart listing your medical bills. Remember, you want to make things easy for the adjuster. When you attach copies of your medical records, organize them by health care provider.]
I work for Richards Software earning $2,000 per week. I attach a letter from Dr. Beckman saying that I needed to stay out of work for three weeks, but, as I mentioned, I only stayed out for two weeks. Accordingly, my lost earnings claim is $4,000. [NOTE: State your lost earnings claim briefly and clearly. Make sure that you have a doctor’s note saying that you needed to be out of work, and for how long.] My total special damages (medical bills and lost earnings) are $9,000.00.
Taking into account your insured’s clear liability and my significant damages in this case, I demand $45,000.00 to settle this case. Would you 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,
You can use this letter as a template when putting your own correspondence together in a parking lot slip and fall case. For everything you need to know about these kinds of cases, check out all the articles in our Slip and Fall and Premises Liability section.