The first step in getting a personal injury claim underway is to send a demand letter. When you send the demand letter, you need to detail the specific information about your claim and why you believe the other party is liable for the damages. You should provide supporting evidence and documentation with your claim.
Examples of supporting evidence include photos of the accident scene, photos of any injuries and damages, a copy of the accident report, witness statements, repair estimates, medical bills, and medical records.
Anything that supports your claim should be included with the demand letter. If you can successfully prove that the slip and fall was caused by the negligence of store employees, and you can show that the damages you are claiming are directly caused by the slip and fall at the retail store.
When you send the demand letter, you want it to be convincing enough to start negotiating a settlement. If the retail store and their insurer realize that there is adequate evidence to support a claim against them and that you could succeed if your case advanced to court, they will work to resolve matters before the case advances to that level.
Your medical records should include the diagnosis, detail the severity of the injuries, and explain any restrictions or limitations. Any surgical notes and treatment records should be included. Your physician should detail the prognosis and explain how he or she expects your long-term recovery to end up.
Documentation and supporting evidence are essential to a successful personal injury claim arising from premises liability because of a slip and fall at a retail store. The retail establishment and their insurer will be represented by legal counsel. Those attorneys will be looking out for their interests, so you should have an attorney who is looking out for you.
If you were recently injured after slipping and falling at a retail store, you may be eligible for compensation. Every day, others involved in accidents just like yours receive compensation for their injuries and lost wages by filing a personal injury claim.
If you are interested in filing a personal injury claim, your best chance at receiving compensation is by speaking with an attorney. However, if you’d like to start the process yourself first, you can begin by writing your initial demand letter.
Personal injury claims always begin with a demand letter. Demand letters are formal documents requesting compensation from an insurance company. In your case, you would send the letter to whatever insurance company oversees the retail store where the accident occurred.
Demand letters should always include five things:
- your information
- a detailed recount of the accident
- a list of all injuries, costs, lost wages, and other factors warranting compensation
- the amount being asked for compensation
- any additional documentation that supports your claim
Sample Slip and Fall Demand Letter
Demand letters should be formal and thorough. To be sure yours includes everything it needs, follow the format of the sample letter below.
[Your City, State, and Zip Code]
[Name of the Claims Adjuster]
[His or Her Job Title]
[Address of the Insurance Company]
[City, State, and Zip Code of the Insurance Company]
Re: Your Insured, [Name of the Defendant]
Claimant: [Your Full Legal Name]
Claim Number: (only include this if a claim number has already been assigned and you have received correspondence on the matter)
Date of Loss: [Date of the Accident or Incident that Caused Your Injuries]
Dear Mr./Ms. [Name of Claims Adjuster]
In regards to our previous correspondence on January 3, 2015, accept this letter as my official request for compensation following my slip and fall at your insured, Nike Factory Store.
I have just finished recovering over the past two months from the injuries sustained after my slip and fall. As you are aware, I was exiting the Nike Factory Store at [insert location] when I slipped on a large patch of black ice on the sidewalk outside the front door. Because of Nike Factory Store’s disregard of the pipe creating the ice, lack of a slip-resistant door mat, and their failure to alert customers of the hazard, they are responsible for the accident and for all physical and financial strain resulting from it.
On the morning of November 27, 2015, I was exiting the Nike Factory Store with my purchases. After I was only a few steps outside of the front door, my feet slipped on a large patch of black ice and I fell. Although the ice led up within feet of the door, there was no caution sign, no slip-resistant mat, and no warning whatsoever of the hazard. The fall caused a severe pain in my lower back, sacrum, and my left wrist, which tried to stop the fall.
Because I was unable to walk following the accident, I was taken by ambulance to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where I was assessed by Dr. Cheryl Albright. After Dr. Albright’s assessment and two X-rays. I was diagnosed with a fractured tailbone and a hairline fracture in my left wrist. I was told to stay home for one month to allow my injuries to heal and was prescribed [name the medication] for the pain.
Here are attached my medical bills, which further outline the cost of my treatment.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital: $476.00
Dr. Cheryl Albright: $610.00
Prescription Pain Medication: $198.00
Follow-Up Visits: $576.00
During my month absence from work, I experienced immense pain and discomfort and required multiple follow-up visits. Not only was I deprived of $5720.00 of salary wages, but I was incapable of living my normal life because of the physical constraints caused by my broken tailbone. For these reasons, I am demanding compensation in the amount of $21,000.
I hope to receive a timely response in no later than 30 days from the date of this correspondence.
[Your Name – printed]
Note: when demanding compensation, always request more than the cost of medical bills and lost wages. This can be used later in the process when negotiating your claim.
Calculating How Much To Ask For As A Settlement In Your Demand Letter
When you send a demand letter, you should be sure to itemize your losses and then come up with a total. You should list each of your damages specifically. As an example, itemize all your medical costs, such as physician visits, hospital bills, tests and x-rays, prescriptions, medical devices, and so forth then come up with the total for your medical costs.
When you calculate your medical expenses, include the past, present, and any future costs associated with the treatment of your injuries from the slip and fall at the retail store. You will then need to add your lost wages.
You should provide documentation that shows missed work and lost wages. Also, consider any future loss of earnings if you must miss more work in the future or if you aren’t going to be able to return to the same job.
If you have medical bills, then you also have pain and suffering. Your personal injury attorney will help you calculate this. Coming up with the dollar value for pain and suffering can be challenging. A multiplier will be used with your total medical expenses.
As an example, if you have $25,000 in medical bills for a back injury that will affect you long-term, a multiplier of 3 may be used. If the doctor expects little – or no improvement, then a higher multiplier, such as 5, may be used.
If a multiplier of 3 is used, then your pain and suffering claim will be $75,000. Your medical bills are $25,000. Those together total $100,000. If your lost wages are $20,000, then your total is now $120,000.
You may have other damages that you claim, such as mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of consortium. Your personal injury attorney will help you determine your losses and then come up with a figure for the overall settlement value of your slip and fall case.
Always ask for more than the minimum amount you are willing to take as settlement. Be prepared to negotiate with the retailer and their insurance. You don’t want to settle for too little, so be prepared to spend time reaching a settlement.
Let them know that if a settlement isn’t reached you will file a lawsuit and the case will advance to court for a decision. If your case advances to court, you will definitely want to have an attorney representing you.
Speaking with an Attorney
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, you will want to pursue a personal injury claim against the liable party. Pursuing an accident claim against a business can be challenging because businesses and their insurers have legal representation. You will want a lawyer who will look out for you and ensure that your rights are protected.
When you retain a slip and fall injury attorney, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket. Instead, your attorney will take your case on a contingency basis, which means that your lawyer will not be paid until you win your claim and recover compensation through a judgment or a settlement.
There is a statute of limitations – which is a time limit – for pursuing a personal injury claim after an accident caused by someone’s negligence. The time limit to get a claim underway can vary from 1 to 3 years depending on the state laws.
Because there is a time limit, you should send a demand letter as soon as possible, so they will know that you are going to file a claim. However, you need to make sure you have a total for your damages. You don’t want to start negotiating too soon and not consider any of your future losses pertaining to the slip and fall.
To make sure your demand letter is sent in a timely manner and that you get your claim underway with the proper evidence, you should consult with an attorney as quickly as possible. Don’t delay to get the help that you need to get your claim underway.