Is Your Apartment a Slip and Fall Case Waiting to Happen?
January 22, 2019
Suppose you slip and fall on a patch of ice on the sidewalk of your apartment complex. You blame your landlord for the hazardous conditions that caused your fall and injury. Should you file a slip and fall claim? While each case is different, legal experts agree that slip and fall cases are not as simple as they first appear.
Hazards That Might Be Lurking in Your Apartment Complex
Here are potential hazards in your apartment building or complex that may cause you to slip, trip or fall. Depending on the circumstances, these situations could be grounds for a slip and fall case.
- Defective or broken steps or staircases
- Accumulation of snow
- Ice patches that are not removed or salted
- Wet or oily floors and walkways
- Unsecured rugs and carpets in entryways, laundry rooms or other common areas
- Loose or broken concrete
- Slippery surfaces near swimming pools
- Inadequate lighting
- Hidden drop-offs
- Concealed holes
- Poorly maintained elevators
Legal Issues Regarding Michigan Slip and Fall Cases
Here are some of the legal issues that may come into play with your slip and fall case:
“Open and obvious” doctrine
In general a premises owner owes a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect a person from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition on the land. However, this duty to protect does not extend to conditions that are so open and obvious that the person could be expected to discover it on his or her own. In other words, if an average person of ordinary intelligence could have discovered the hazard upon casual inspection, then the victim will probably not have grounds to bring a successful slip and fall case.
This Michigan statute (Section 600.2959) applies when a victim is more than 50% at fault for an accident, compared with the liability of the other parties. It means the victim’s share of economic damages, such as medical bills and lost income, is proportionately reduced. This law also prevents the victim from receiving non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In slip and fall cases, non-economic damages can be substantial.
Landlord/Tenant slip and fall
A landlord has a statutory duty to maintain its premise in reasonable repair and in accordance with health and safety laws. The open and obvious defense does NOT apply to a claim for breach of this duty by the landlord. This means that even if the dangerous condition on the land could have been discovered by the tenant, i.e. was open and obvious, the tenant will likely still have grounds to bring a successful slip and fall case.
If You Fall
Here are the steps you should take if you are hurt in a fall on someone else’s property:
- Seek medical attention
- Call an attorney who has experience with slip and fall cases
- Take photos
- Get contact information from witnesses
- Act promptly
“Slip and fall cases hinge on a variety of legal distinctions,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “That’s why it is so important to call us right away if you or a loved one is injured in a fall. We have the knowledge and experience to win the compensation you and your family deserve.”
Slip and fall cases are complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.