FAQ’s about Slip & Fall (Premises) Cases

In the winter, I slipped on black ice, do I have a claim?
Most likely yes. The Michigan Courts have ruled in several recent cases involving black ice that there is a viable claim, unless there is some showing that the black ice in question would have been visible on casual inspection prior to the fall or some other, visible signs of a potentially hazardous condition.

I fell at a business and the manager wants me to fill out some paperwork known as an incident report. What should I do?
Usually, it is wise to report and document a slip & fall incident. However, questions on these forms are frequently worded to make victims give statements that may minimize the legal responsibility of the business in question. If you have any questions, you should consult our office immediately. If you fill out an incident report, be sure to ask for a copy of the report on the spot. Keep your answers on the report truthful and focused. Never sign or fill out anything that you do not understand.

Does my reason for being on the property at the time of the incident affect my rights in a claim for damages?
Yes. Michigan law defines different groups of individuals who are on property and assigns property owners different obligations to each group. People on property are referred to as invitees, licensees, or trespassers. Determining your legal status often depends upon facts unique to your claim.

How long do I have to pursue a claim for injuries sustained in a slip & fall or Premises Liability case?
In general, the Michigan Statute of Limitations (the time in which you can file a lawsuit) is 3 years from the date of an accident that occurs on private property. Children have until one year after their 18th birthday to either resolve a claim or file a lawsuit. However, it is not wise to delay pursuing a claim. Often, physical evidence of the conditions causing the accident will disappear as time passes.

Are the rules different if I am suing the city for an injury resulting from a defect in a public sidewalk or in a public building?
Yes. If you are suing a city, state, or other government agency, the type of defect must meet specific standards. Otherwise, the doctrine of governmental immunity may bar your claim. You have a much shorter amount of time to bring a legal claim against a government agency. So please contact an attorney immediately if you are injured on public property.

Should I take photographs of my injuries and/or the accident scene?
Physical evidence of a claim will often fade, disappear, or be corrected in time. You should take steps to preserve evidence. However, do not try to take photographs of an accident scene if you feel this might cause you any physical danger. Our law firm usually sends a professional investigator to photograph the accident scene.

Will there be insurance to cover my injuries?
The answer to this depends on the coverage for the property where the accident occurred. If the property owner has a homeowners or commercial insurance policy, it often will cover your damages.

Is it always important to take action quickly if I am injured in a premises liability or slip & fall?
Yes. Doing so can allow the lawyer to take the necessary steps to have the hazard photographed, measured, or otherwise documented to preserve evidence necessary to support your claim.

What if I was partially to blame for what happened?
Under Michigan law, if a judge or jury determines that you are more than 50% responsible for your own injury, then you are not entitled to any recovery regardless of the extent of the injury.

What kinds of damages can I claim in a slip & fall or Premises Liability case?
The negligent party is responsible for all reasonable damages that directly flow from its negligence. That is, the owner or the possessor of the property is responsible for medical and hospital expenses, medications, nursing care, wage loss, and pain and suffering.

How much are my injuries worth?
The facts surrounding the accident and the extent of the injury will significantly affect the value of a claim. Often, the true value of a claim cannot be determined until after extensive investigation and complete medical diagnosis of your injuries. Every case is different, and it is important to consult with our office concerning the value in light of your particular circumstances.

If you have any remaining questions and/or want to get your claim started, please contact an experienced lawyer immediately. Submit a simple, free and confidential legal consultation form now to get started.

For more information on Slip & Fall and other Premises Liability cases, please see the following informational pages:

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The material in this website has been prepared by The Sam Bernstein Law Firm, PLLC, for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

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