Detroit Slip and Fall Lawyer
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Slips and falls are frequent during Michigan’s long and icy winters. Every year, thousands of Michiganders end up with broken bones or concussions because they slipped on icy sidewalks or parking lots. If you’re one of them, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries with the help of a seasoned Detroit premises liability lawyer.
Whether your path to compensation leads through the insurance claims process or a civil trial, the Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC can maximize your chances of success. Contact us today at (313) 462-7979 to find out how we can help you.
What Does Michigan Law Say About Slips and Falls?
Michigan law regarding ice and snow on private property follows the “open and obvious rule.” Essentially, this rule holds that the individual or business in charge of the premises cannot be held liable for injuries caused by snow and ice accumulation if the condition is “open and obvious.” Further, they have a duty only to take reasonable measures to remove the snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time after the accumulation.
The question is, under what circumstances is ice or snow an “open and obvious” hazard? The answer was decided in a case, Slaughter v. Blarney Castle (2008), and depends on whether the “ice in question would have been visible on casual inspection before the fall or without other indicia of a potentially hazardous condition.” This means is that your lawyer will need to make a convincing argument that at the time of your fall, there were no obvious indications that a dangerous condition existed.
Alternatively, you may be able to recover even if the snow and ice were open and obvious when either of the following apply:
- The ice and snow are created unreasonably dangerous conditions, posing a uniquely high likelihood of harm if you fail to avoid it.
- The ice and snow were unavoidable, forcing you to take the risk of falling.
In the context of slip and fall cases, the issue of whether the hazard was avoidable comes up most often. When the icy or slippery condition is present just outside the only exit of a building, and you fall when you try to cross it, you may be able to recover for your injuries. However, if you’re attempting to enter a building with ice in front of the entrance, the condition is considered to be avoidable. After all, you could just come back later when the snow and ice are cleared. However, when you must enter a building with an icy entrance–because of your job, for instance–you may be able to hold the property owner responsible for your injuries if you fall.
How Can a Michigan Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Help?
The success of your claim will depend on your lawyer’s ability to present evidence that shows:
- The property owner or manager failed to take reasonable measures to remove the snow and ice within a reasonable time after the accident; AND
- The snow and ice was not an “open and obvious” hazard at the time of the accident; OR
- The snow and ice created an extremely dangerous condition; OR
- The ice or snow patch was unavoidable
Your Michigan slip and fall accident lawyer can prove these elements by interviewing the people responsible for the property, and having them admit that they knew about the ice and snow and that they failed to remove it soon enough to prevent injury. As for the existence of an “open and obvious” hazard, this may be proved through security camera footage or through the testimony of people present at the time of the accident and who witnessed the conditions firsthand.
The evidence needed to prove that a patch of snow or ice was unavoidable depends on the unique circumstances of each case. Your lawyer will generally need to prove that the building or property had only one entrance–or that all of the other entrances had similar conditions. In addition, your lawyer will have to demonstrate that there was a valid reason for you to proceed despite the obvious risk in doing so.
In addition to proving that the property owner or business was responsible for your injuries, your lawyer will need to provide evidence of how much those injuries cost you. In a personal injury case, you may receive compensation for the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses – A slip and fall case may involve ambulance fees, hospital bills, and rehab and physical therapy expenses
- Pain and suffering – When the injuries are especially severe, traumatic, or result in a long-lasting or inconvenient condition, you may be entitled to additional compensation
- Lost wages – Your injuries may keep you from working, in which case you are entitled to receive compensation for your lost revenue
Will I Need to Go to Court?
Most personal injury cases get settled through the insurance claims process – but this doesn’t mean that a lawyer isn’t necessary to get the compensation you deserve. The insurance claim still requires the accident victim to prove the same elements that would be required to win in a trial. Because of the complex nature of slip and fall law in Michigan, and the extent of the evidence needed to support a claim, the assistance of a lawyer is essential if you want your insurance claim to succeed.
If you have been injured because of a slip and fall on a sidewalk, walkway, building entrance, parking lot, or elsewhere, you may be entitled to compensation. At Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC, our goal is to get our clients the compensation they deserve while minimizing the stress of the recovery process. For more information about how we can help, contact us today at (313) 462-7979 for a free consultation of your case.