Michigan Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers
The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. has been successfully handling Michigan slip and fall cases and Michigan trip and fall cases for decades.
Michigan slip and fall cases are usually standard negligence cases. To be successful in a slip and fall personal injury case, you must prove the premises owner, like a store, was negligent in causing an unreasonably dangerous condition that led to the injury.
In general terms, slip and fall accidents refer to situations where a person is injured by slipping, tripping or otherwise falling due to a dangerous condition on a premises. These incidents can happen inside or outside a building and are caused by such dangers as wet floors, decaying stairs or floors, improper construction and other general defects. In the case of outdoor accidents, dangers are often weather-related such as hidden black ice. For example, the owner of a private sidewalk or walkway can be liable for a “black ice” patch that causes severe injuries to persons using the sidewalk or walkway, so long as they had notice the black ice patch existed.
Michigan slip and fall accidents often fall under the legal term of premises liability. Premises liability is a constant changing area of the law. Michigan premises owners, including homeowners and business owners, owe a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition and to protect against an unreasonable harm caused by a dangerous condition on the land. The level of care required under the law varies depending on the status of the injured person at the time the incident occurred. Invitees, like a customer at a store, are afforded the highest level of care, while trespassers are given the least amount of protection under the law. There is also a middle tier when determining the duty of care owed to an injured person. This is called a licensee. Most licensees are
social guests at a friend’s home. There is a common misconception that a guest in a person’s home is considered an invitee. This is not the case. In order to be considered an invitee, your presence on the premises must be for business purposes.
Another important factor to consider for Michigan slip and fall cases is a legal term called notice. For a premises owner to be held liable, he or she must have actual or constructive notice of the danger. This means the owner knew, or reasonably should have known, about the dangerous condition before the incident took place. Establishing notice is extremely important and can mean the difference between obtaining compensation and a judge dismissing a case.
In general, the most common premises liability cases are:
If you are injured due to a premises owner’s negligence, you may have a right to bring a claim for your injuries. Keep in mind, however, that your recovery may depend on whether the premises owner is insured and whether the act that gave rise to the lawsuit is covered by the insurance policy.
Investigation is key in every Michigan slip and fall case. If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, there are a number of things you should attempt to do to help yourself in case filing a claim is necessary:
With respect to Michigan slip and fall incidents and Michigan trip and fall incidents, there are a number of defenses available to premises owners when defending these claims. One of the most popular and dangerous defenses used by premises owners is the open and obvious doctrine. The open and obvious defense is a common law doctrine in Michigan which states a premises owner does not owe a duty to protect a person from an open and obvious danger, subject to a few narrow exceptions.
Whether a condition is open and obvious depends on whether it is reasonable to expect an average person with ordinary intelligence to discover the danger upon casual inspection. The law does not reward those who knowingly encounter a hazard that is open and there to be seen. Generally, if you see a dangerous condition, such as a pot hole, and you walk over it and trip and fall, the open and obvious doctrine may bar your claim. This doctrine applies to cases involving snow and ice as well. This is the most commonly asserted defense in premises liability claims.
The open and obvious defense has greatly expanded in Michigan in recent years and includes situations that are not really “open and obvious.” For example, recently a plaintiff tripped and fell on a hole that was covered by leaves. The court dismissed the case, claiming the hole was open and obvious even though by any objective standard it was impossible for the plaintiff to see the covered hole due to the leaves. It is important you talk to an attorney about your situation before going forward with any slip and fall or trip and fall cases.
Another defense premises owners and insurance companies will use is a term called “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence refers to the negligence of the plaintiff in causing their own injuries. A jury will reduce the award a plaintiff can receive by the amount of fault she caused in producing her own accident. If the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, comparative negligence acts as a complete bar to recovery and the plaintiff cannot receive any pain and suffering damages.
Besides open and obvious and comparative negligence, there are a number of other defenses that premises owners and insurance companies will use to prevent an accident victim from receiving proper compensation.
Michigan slip and fall cases involving personal injury are fact-intensive and deserve special attention. If you have been injured due to a slip and fall accident, call The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for your FREE PHONE CONSULTATION.
Our firm has a team of experienced Michigan slip and fall attorneys ready to help you in this specialized area of the law. The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. works on a contingency fee basis – if you don’t get paid we don’t get paid. Call LEE FREE now.