Michigan Slip and Fall Injury Attorneys – Frequently Asked Questions
A slip-and-fall accident can start out as minor, but can turn into one of the most traumatic events a person can experience. Although many are harmless, some can cause life changing injuries. The Michigan slip and fall lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm fight for the money compensation and justice our clients deserve.
The harm our clients experience goes beyond medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. We want to ensure the apartment complexes, shopping centers and commercial buildings in Michigan are safe. This means holding individuals and corporations accountable when they cause an unnecessary injury.
Review our Frequently Asked Questions below and check out our slip and fall related blog posts. If you need a free consultation from an experienced Michigan slip and fall attorney, fill out the contact form or give us a call. We will explain your rights in detail. We are experts in Michigan trip and fall law, having handled thousands of claims for individuals across the state. We have obtained hundreds of millions for our clients.
With over 40 years of experiences, our Michigan trip and fall attorneys know how to fight for you and help get your life back on track. Remember, you don’t pay a cent until we win or settle your case.
Call the Lee Steinberg Law Firm at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) and let us help you with your slip and fall and premises liability case.
First, it is important to seek medical attention. If you are hurt, call an ambulance or have someone drive you to an area hospital or urgent care. What seems like a minor injury can quickly turn into a serious medical event. Internal bleeding or a small fracture can turn into a much bigger problem if not treated quickly.
Second, if possible take photographs of the accident scene and the dangerous condition. If a hand rail broke, take photos of the broken handrail along with any missing screws, rusted nails or other problems that led to the break. If a porch broke, take photos of the rotting wood or broken concrete. In a slip and fall due to ice or snow, take pictures to highlight the fact the area was not plowed or salted.
Next, contact an experienced Michigan slip and fall lawyer or law firm. They should be able to answer any legal questions you may have and explain the legal process to you.
To win a slip-and-fall case or trip-and-fall case in Michigan, you have to prove a couple of things. First, you must prove the property owner had a duty and it breached his duty. For example, a landlord has a duty to make sure the house or apartment complex is in reasonable repair. A rotting stair that breaks when a person steps on it is a breach of this duty.
Next, the plaintiff must prove that the injuries are a result of the fall. This is sounds simple, but causally relating an injury to the underlying accident is still the burden of the plaintiff. This is where a treating doctor or expert can help.
Last, the plaintiff must prove damages. Damages are not only your injuries, but also include items like:
- Past pain and suffering
- Future pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of companionship
- Loss wages and loss future wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Past outstanding medical bills
- Future medical treatment
Proving fault or negligence on the part of the shopping mall, store, property owner or landlord is the key to every slip and fall case in Michigan. To prove fault, the injured person must first show the property owner had a duty to the public. This duty includes making sure the premises is not unreasonably dangerous and free and clear of any hidden dangers.
Next, the plaintiff must prove the property owner breached this duty. A property owner breaches or breaks their duty when they fail to keep their property in reasonable care to protect the public from an unreasonable risk of harm.
A major obstacle in slip and fall cases is comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is the fault allocated to the plaintiff, or the injured person. In many slip and fall and trip and fall cases, a judge or jury will assign fault on the part of the plaintiff for falling. Under Michigan law, if the injured person is more than 50% at-fault for their own incident, then he or she is not allowed any pain and suffering money.
The insurance companies that insures the building or property where you fell have coverage for bodily injury claims. This includes medical bills. However, they aren’t like health insurance. An insurance carrier like State Farm or Allstate does not have to pay for medical bills it feels it is not liable for. They don’t pre-approve treatment or pay bills as they are incurred.
Instead, usually the medical bills are paid by the insurance company at the end of the case. The insurance company will have to pay for all outstanding medical expenses, as well as any liens that a health insurance carrier (Blue Cross, HAP, Medicare, Medicaid) has on the case.
There is one exception to this. Under many property insurance policies, the insurance carrier will pay for a certain amount of medical expenses without regard to fault. This is called “med pay.” Most med pay provisions usually cover up to $1,000 or $5,000 in medical bills for guests or customers injured on their property. It is important to ask if the insurance company for the property owner has “med pay” coverage.
The open and obvious rule is a defense a property owner can use to avoid liability following a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident. Under the rule, a landowner is not responsible for unreasonably dangerous conditions that are there to be scene – or considered open and obvious.
Under current Michigan law, a condition is open and obvious if “an average person of ordinary intelligence would discover the danger upon casual inspection.” Because property owners don’t owe a duty to the general public to get rid of open and obvious conditions, they cannot be held liable when a person is injured for falling due to an open and obvious danger.
For example, a parking lot is filled with pot holes at a grocery store or strip mall. A person trips and falls in one of these potholes as he walks to the front door of the grocery store. He sustains really bad injuries, including a broken leg that requires surgery. Under Michigan law, the owner of the property where the grocery store is located is not liable for this man’s injuries. Why? Because potholes are considered open and obvious. The injured man simply has no case.
A store’s liability for slip and fall accidents is no different in Michigan compared to most other property owners. Store owners used to have a special duty owed to its customers called the “shopkeepers duty”, but that doesn’t apply anymore in Michigan. Guests and customers at a store do not get any special protections compared to people outside a store. The restaurant, coffee shop, car dealership, gas station, or pharmacy must still ensure the store does not have unreasonable dangerous conditions. But again, it is not responsible for dangerous conditions that are considered “open and obvious.”
Common causes for slip and fall accidents in these types of places include a recently mopped floor with no warning signs, a puddle formed due to a broken refrigerator, failing to plow, shovel or salt snow or ice in the parking lot, failing to clean up spills, or rotting or old handrails, stairs or landings that break.
Tenant have greater protections under Michigan law than normal persons, such as a guest at an apartment complex. This is because under MCL 554.139, a renter or tenant is owned a duty of reasonable care by the landlord. In addition, the landlord must promise to keep all common areas (stairwells, lobbies, hallways, sidewalks, parking lots) fit for their intended use. If a landlord fails to do this, they are legally negligent. Guests and visitors do not get this statutory protection.
The protections for tenants and renters under MCL 554.139 are very important. They even trump an “open and obvious” condition in some situations. This means that a tenant may have a personal injury case for tripping on a dangerous hazard, when a guest or friend would not.
Because each case is different, it’s important to contact a really good Michigan slip and fall lawyer who specializes in premise law to see if you have a viable case.
Slip, trip and fall accidents, falling accidents and similar incidents usually occur for a few reasons. First, the owner of the property had not adequately trained or supervised the staff and employees where the incident occurred. For example, if employees at Target, Meijer, Krogers or any other store is not trained to look out for spills, the spills are not cleaned up in time. If this occurs, people will eventually get hurt.
Another reason for liability for slip and fall accidents is failing to fix or repair basic things. Landlords are notorious for failing to fix handrails, porches, staircases, and other parts of a home or unit that break. When they don’t do this, renters and tenants get hurt.
A third reason for slip and fall accidents is poor maintenance. The store or landlord may have attempted to fix the dangerous condition, but the “fix” didn’t work. This usually happens when the defendant tries to save a few bucks and hires a person not suitable for the maintenance job.
Premises liability is the legal term for slip and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents or any type of injury that results to a defective building or property. Each state has its own version of premises liability.
In Michigan, premises liability is governed by the common law – or prior case law that has been issued by the Michigan Supreme Court and Court of Appeals over the years. It is also shaped by statutes, like the landlord-tenant statute, the statute of habitability and fair housing laws.
The benefits of hiring an aggressive slip and fall lawyer are many. First, premises liability is a particular area of personal injury law. Not everyone does it. So it is important to find a Michigan slip and fall law firm that specializes in trip and fall and premises liability cases.
Second, a law firm will protect your rights and prevent the insurance company and their attorneys from asserting all the blame on you. A strong Michigan slip and lawyer attorney will hire experts to help establish liability. It will meet with your doctors to better understand your medical treatment. And the firm will depose the necessary defendants and witnesses to find out the truth.
Last, a personal injury lawyer will help you recover all the harms and losses you sustained from the incident. This includes lost wages, outstanding medical bills, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Although when we think about falling accident we tend to think about broken legs, sprained ankles and knee injuries, brain injury is a very real consequence of slip and fall incidents. These injuries can result in significant medical bills and permanent injuries, such as memory loss and loss of balance.
A head injury is a blunt injury to the skull or brain. They are also known as traumatic brain injuries. The most common head injury from a fall is a concussion. Other falling injuries can result in subdural hematomas (brain bleeds) and skull fractures.
When a person falls due to a broken step, or a puddle of water that wasn’t cleaned, and they land on their head the force of impact can cause severe injuries. The brain shears or tears against the side of the skull. As a result, the tissues, blood vessels and lining of the brain can bruise, bleed or swell.
If you have sustained a head injury from a slip and fall accident, recovery can be slow. The medical bills and lost wages can mount. That is why it’s important to contact an experienced Detroit slip and fall accident lawyer for help.
Falling accident account for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits, the leading cause of visits. Slip and falls account for over 1 million ER visits. Many of these falls result in low back and neck pain, such as muscle spasm disc herniation, disc bulges, radiculopathy, numbness and tingling.
The treatment for neck and low back injuries varies. Sometimes basic chiropractic adjustments can work. Other times, a course of physical therapy can help ease the pain. If the injury is more long lasting, then cortisone injections or epidural steroid injections are used to alleviate symptoms. In the most extreme situations, lumbar (low back) surgery) or cervical (neck) surgery may be required.
A common question we get is “how much for my slip and fall injury” or what is an average settlement for a slip and fall case? Slip-and-fall cases in Michigan are fact-dependent. Just because you got injured on someone else’s property does not mean you are entitled to money compensation.
The hazard that caused your injuries cannot be open and obvious and the property owner must have had some sort of notice that the defective condition existed at the time of the fall.
These cases are not easy and are full of legal minefields that can be lethal to your case. Call our office as soon as possible if you have been injured due to the negligence of a property owner or landlord.
Yes, almost all homeowner’s insurance policies cover a slip and fall case. The coverage is called bodily injury coverage and protects the homeowner or property owner when a claim or lawsuit is made. The insurance also pays for a lawyer to defend the case.
But it is important to remember that just because there is coverage does not mean you will get money. The injured person must still prove the land owner was negligent or at-fault for the injuries. The plaintiff must also show he or she did not fall due to an “open and obvious” condition or was more than 50% at-fault.
Yes. Sometimes more than one defendant is at-fault for causing an unreasonably dangerous condition that leads to an injury. When this occurs, the injured person can file a lawsuit against all the defendants.
For example, a landlord and a property manager may be two different entities. If both fail to inspect an apartment complex for defects, and refuse to do proper maintenance, then both can be held responsible.
This is quite common on construction worksites. A general contractor may be liable for failing to adequately manage and maintain a safe workplace. At the same time, another subcontractor may be liable for failing to secure floorboards or scaffolding, leading to a bad personal injury.
No. Absolutely do not talk to an insurance adjuster or claims representative from the insurance company after a fall. It is important to contact an attorney first. The adjuster will try to take recorded statement and get you to say things that will hurt you later on if you pursue the case.
They are trained to do this. They can get you to say bad things you don’t even realize you are saying. Don’t do it.
Even if your injuries are minor after a slip and fall, contact a personal injury lawyer and go through your situation. Explain how you fell, what caused you to fall and the injuries you have. Don’t leave any details out.