How to Settle a Slip & Fall Case

By Marilyn Lindblad
You are entitled to a fair settlement for your injury.

man with injured hand image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com

Trying to collect a settlement for a slip and fall is like having insult added to your injury. First you were embarrassed and injured by slipping and falling down in public, through no fault of your own. You endured a painful fall and had to go to a doctor, chiropractor or therapist for treatment. You missed time from work. Finally you are starting to feel back to normal again, and you have to persuade an insurance company to pay you. Follow these steps and you will have a good chance of settling your slip and fall claim.

Gather your proof

Begin by collecting and organizing the information that proves your claim. If you don't already have pictures of the area where you were injured, go back to the place of the injury and take pictures. Even if the condition that caused you to slip and fall has been changed, you can still circle a point in the photo where the condition existed at the time of your fall. If returning to the scene of the accident is inconvenient, make a sketch of the area.

Collect or prepare the other documents you will need to prove your claim. Make a list of witnesses who saw you fall. Make photocopies of your medical bills, pay stubs and treatment records. All your records should be printed on 8.5 x 11 paper. Don't use originals, and don't use smaller pieces of paper.

Organize your records between the numbered divider tabs. File any photos or drawings of the scene behind tab 1; file your witness list behind tab 2; file your medical bills behind tab 3; file your pay stubs showing lost wages behind tab 4; and continue until all your information is filed.

Write your settlement proposal

If possible, use a computer or word processor to type your settlement proposal. Address your letter to the insurance company handling your claim, and include your claim number in the subject line. List the materials you have provided behind each numbered tab.

Calculate your damages. Add up all the money you spent on medical costs, therapy, prescriptions, gas and parking for doctor visits and time lost from work. Include everything. Type an itemized list of these expenses, one expense per line, with a total at the bottom of the list. These are your "special damages."

Write a brief paragraph explaining in simple terms any pain, inconvenience or turmoil you experienced because of your injury. If your wrist still hurts when it rains, if you missed your daughter's school concert because you were in pain, if you still have a hard time concentrating because of your injuries, include it. Explain that you are still suffering because of the accident. Decide how much money you wish to receive to compensate you for this pain and inconvenience. Most claimants use a multiple of their special damages for this number. These are your "general damages."

Write a new paragraph making your settlement demand. Total your special damages and your general damages. Demand an amount higher than what you will actually agree to take, because the insurance company will surely make a counteroffer in response to your request.

In closing, set a deadline for when you expect to hear from the insurance company. They will need some time to evaluate your evidence, so give them two to four weeks, and let them know that you will contact them if you have not heard back from them during that time. Print your letter, sign it, make a copy for your file, and send it to the insurer. Track the deadline date on your calendar so you can follow up, and be prepared to negotiate.

About the Author

Marilyn Lindblad practices law on the west coast of the United States. She has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on various websites. Lindblad received her Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark Law School.

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