Each year, millions of people visit the emergency room for slip and fall-related injuries. In fact, falls are the leading cause of fatal and serious injuries for older adults, according to data from the CDC. However, falling can be dangerous for anyone, and the risks are higher during the winter months when ice and snow are a natural part of the Michigan landscape. While it is preferable to avoid dangerous winter hazards whenever possible, some falls are unavoidable, especially in icy conditions.
If you are injured on someone else’s property, contacting an experienced slip and fall attorney is the best way to receive the compensation you deserve.
While certain hazards, such as loose floor mats and poor lighting, can be perilous year-round, wintry conditions increase the risk of slipping and falling. Here are the most common winter dangers:
Michigan slip and fall law is based on the concept of “premises liability.” This means property owners have a duty to use reasonable care to keep their premises safe and hazard-free. This includes inspecting public areas on a regular basis, especially in winter, and removing hazards such as snow and ice as soon as possible. If a landlord or property owner fails to do this, and someone is seriously injured as a result, the owner could be responsible for damages suffered by the victim.
However, in order to receive compensation, the plaintiff must prove the owner failed to use reasonable care to ensure the safety of the property. This can be a complicated process, since the victim has to prove the owner knew, or should have known, about the unsafe conditions and failed to remedy the situation within a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, Michigan has a strict statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including slip and fall lawsuits. With some exceptions, claims must be filed within three years from the date the accident occurs. Those who miss the legal deadline risk having their claims dismissed and losing out on compensation they are entitled to.
These are just a few of the legal issues exemplifying the complexity of slip and fall accident claims. This is why it is important to contact an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible to achieve the best financial outcome.
A groundbreaking decision by the Michigan Supreme Court overturned the “open and obvious” doctrine, which allowed property owners to avoid liability when a hazard was visible to “an average person of ordinary intelligence.”
Under this statute, the victim rather than the property owner bore the brunt of the responsibility, which allowed the property owners to prevail in most slip and fall cases. Under the new ruling, property owners will no longer get an automatic pass. While the victim’s role will be taken into account, the court will now consider whether a landlord breached the duty to maintain a safe premises, making it easier for victims to receive compensation for losses sustained in a slip and fall accident.
Recommended reading: How to Find the Best Lawyer for Your Slip and Fall Case
Compensation for a slip and fall accident may be affected if the victim played a role in the incident. For example, someone who missed a step because they were focused on a cell phone, or an individual who wore high heels in an icy parking lot could be considered partially responsible for the accident that caused their injuries. In those instances, the amount of compensation may be reduced according to the degree of fault assigned to the plaintiff under Michigan’s modified comparative negligence statute.
Furthermore, a victim who is more than 50% responsible for an accident may not receive compensation for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering. This is significant because these intangible damages often comprise the most substantial part of a personal injury settlement.
We wrote the book on Michigan slip and fall law. Click here to download our informative booklet now.
Here are the recommended steps to take immediately after an accident. Following these protocols can help your case if you decide to seek compensation from the responsible party:
Here are some suggestions to help prevent falls during Michigan’s winter months.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, we can help. Our experienced slip and fall lawyers have the knowledge, skills and resources to win the compensation you deserve.
The law is complicated, but finding the right slip and fall attorney is simple.
Don’t let the legal clock run out. Start your case today by clicking the button below or calling 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.
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