The winter months bring icy and dangerous pavement conditions across Michigan. Slick sidewalks, slippery parking lots, and ice-covered entrances can cause serious slip and fall injuries. If you suffer a slip and fall injury because of a property owner’s negligence, you can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
In personal injury lawsuits, you need to be able to prove that the negligent party was at fault for your injury. In this blog, you’ll learn all about how authorities and insurance companies determine liability, how to prove your personal injury claim in court, and what you should do immediately after experiencing a fall.
What Should I Do After Experiencing a Fall in Detroit?
After a slip and fall, there are certain measures you can take for your long-term health and personal injury case. At the time in which you were injured, the property owner or landlord may request that you leave a written statement about your fall. You are not required to make a written statement, and the statement could be used against you when you file your slip and fall claim. If you need to disclose information, you can state the time and location in which you fell, but don’t provide written information that could hurt your case.
Don’t take photos of the location in which you fell. Although this may seem like a good idea to prove your case, the defense can use the photographic evidence to prove that the hazard that caused your fall was open and obvious, which is a term we’ll cover in greater detail later in this blog.
The first thing you should do after experiencing a slip and fall is seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. After you receive medical treatment from an emergency room, urgent care, or another medical facility, you can ask for a copy of your medical report that you can then use in your personal injury case.
After receiving medical treatment, you should contact expert Detroit slip and fall attorneys to work your case. You should never talk to an insurance adjuster without legal support. If insurance adjusters contact you, confirm that you fell but tell them that all other questions need to be redirected to your lawyer. Also, if they request to record you, say no.
You need to continue receiving medical treatment if necessary for your condition. This may include diagnostic tests, surgeries, prescriptions, or physical therapy. All of these different medical costs can accumulate quickly, so you need to file a personal injury case if the accident was caused by another person’s negligence. You shouldn’t have to pay for medical bills because of someone else’s mistake.
To receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, you need to be able to prove that there was a negligent party that caused your slip and fall accident. This negligent party could be the property owner, landlord, local municipality, or a premises manager. When someone is liable for another person’s injury because of a hazard on their property, it’s known as premises liability.
When you’re injured in Detroit, you need to be able to prove that a liable party caused or was aware of the hazard that resulted in your accident. Additionally, you need to prove the negligent party didn’t fix or take reasonable precautions to prevent others from becoming injured from the hazard. Finally, the hazard and the negligent person’s wrongdoing need to have caused your accident and injuries.
For example, if you slip on a wet floor at a grocery store and management failed to put up a warning sign, you could recover damages from the store owner or manager because they failed to warn you of the hazard, which resulted in your accident. The store manager was aware of the hazardous conditions, failed to take reasonable action to prevent accidents from occurring, and the hazard combined with the store’s negligence directly resulted in your slip and fall.
Another critical note when it comes to slip and fall accidents is that the cause of the accident can be partially or wholly placed on the person who was injured. For example, if you were intoxicated when slipping on the wet grocery store floor, both you and the store manager could be found at fault for your injury. You may still have a personal injury claim, but the amount you can receive is greatly reduced when you’re found to be partially at fault.
Michigan is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that those who are more than 50% to blame for an injury cannot receive compensation from the defendant. If the court rules that you’re 60% to blame for falling in the grocery store because you were intoxicated, you wouldn’t be able to collect damages from the store manager.
Proving That You Couldn’t Avoid the Fall
Within slip and fall cases, there’s a clause known as the open and obvious doctrine. This doctrine states that if the hazard could have been avoided if a person of average intelligence casually inspected it, victims may not be able to collect compensation. This doctrine usually protects property owners in icy slip and fall cases. Michigan courts have ruled that ice and snow are to be expected during the winter weather, so if someone slips and becomes injured on another person’s property, the snow and ice are open and obvious and the victim should have avoided it. The open and obvious doctrine even protects businesses when someone slips on black ice, which is invisible.
In slip and fall cases, you need to be able to prove that there was no way to avoid the hazardous condition. Maybe there was no way around the ice or there were additional obstacles on the sidewalk that made it unavoidable.
Because courts often favor business owners in winter slip and fall cases, it’s critical that you hire personal injury attorneys to help you with your case. Although it can be challenging to win winter slip and fall cases, it’s certainly not impossible. With expert slip and fall attorneys, you can ensure that you have the best resources for winning your case and can maximize the amount of compensation you receive for medical bills, lost wages, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other damages.
For Michigan slip and fall attorneys, contact the Lee Steinberg Law Firm. We’ve helped numerous victims receive the money they deserved for slip and fall injuries all over Detroit and Michigan. Call us at 800-533-3733 or click here to schedule a free case evaluation.