Personal Injury

Sample Sidewalk Slip and Fall Demand Letter

By David Berg, Attorney
A demand letter (often called a "settlement letter") is your best chance to frame your slip-and-fall case for a fair settlement. Here's what a demand letter might look like in a sidewalk slip-and-fall injury claim.

Dear [name of insurance adjuster]:

I am writing in an attempt to settle my personal injury claim against your insured, Anytown Computing, with respect to my slip and fall on their strorefront sidewalk on December 12, 2016.

The facts of the incident are as follows. I was walking through downtown Anytown that day when I passed by Anytown Computing’s building. As I made my way onto Anytown Computing’s part of the sidewalk, I slipped and fell, landing hard on my rear end. Apparently, I had slipped on a thin sheet of ice on Anytown Computing’s sidewalk.

It had snowed about three days before, and evidently Anytown Computing had not shoveled their sidewalk very well. I did not see anything on the sidewalk as I approached Anytown Computing, and I was certainly paying adequate attention to where I was walking. After I fell onto the sidewalk, I put my hand down and felt the ice. I would say that Anytown Computing did a poor job of shoveling and properly maintaining their sidewalk. They simply didn’t shovel all the way down to the sidewalk surface, allowing a thin layer of snow to turn to ice over the next three days, due to temperature changes and people walking on the snow to harden it.

Anytown Computing was not only negligent for failing to clear off their sidewalk to make it reasonably safe for pedestrians, but they violated Anytown’s city ordinance 14.1, which requires all businesses to completely clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall. (Learn more about laws requiring removal of sidewalk ice and snow.)

Someone at Anytown Computing witnessed my fall and came out to help me. I told her what happened, and she called the police, who called an ambulance. (Learn more about steps to take after a slip and fall.)

As a result of this fall, I broke my coccyx (i.e., tailbone). At the hospital immediately after the fall, they took x-rays and made the diagnosis.

I followed up with an orthopedist, who advised that he didn’t recommend surgery, and that this type of injury usually heals with rest, though I would need to avoid sitting for a month. Not being able to sit drastically affects one’s life. I sit for work. I am an accountant. I couldn’t go to work for that month. I tried to do some work from home, but it was difficult-to- impossible to get any significant amount of work done while either standing or lying flat.

I did not draw my salary for that month, and received four weeks of short term disability. I earn $1,500 per week, and received half of that in disability benefits, for a total of $3,000. I therefore make a claim of $6,000 of lost earnings, and the disability insurer has a $3,000 personal injury lien on any recovery that I may get in this case. I have enclosed a copy of my most recent pay stub and a letter from the disability insurer showing their lien.

My medical bills were only $2,000, as my only real treatment was rest. I have enclosed copies of all of my medical records and bills related to this incident, as well as a copy of a letter from my health insuring noting its $1,500 lien for payment of my medical bills.

As I said, having to rest and not being able to sit for an entire month puts a serious crimp in your lifestyle. It was the winter, and we had to cancel our trip with our children to Disney World. You can imagine how our three children felt, and how I felt when I saw their utter disappointment. We were all devastated, but there was simply no way that I could sit on a plane. The whole trip was prepaid, and we didn’t have insurance. We lost $7,000 on that trip, making my total special damages $15,000.

Taking into account your insured’s liability and my serious damages in this case, I demand $65,000 to settle it. Would you please advise as to your thoughts on this matter? If I don't hear from you within three weeks, I intend to explore other options, including turning my claim over to a slip and fall lawyer.

Thank you.


Learn more about demand letters in personal injury cases.

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