Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common causes of serious injuries every year.
According to the CDC, over 800,000 people are hospitalized each year due to injuries after falling. What happens if injury is due to the negligence or wrongful actions of the property owner? In those situations, an experienced Detroit slip and fall lawyer can get you the compensation you deserve, including lost wages and the payment of medical bills.
Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more. And if you have further questions about slip and fall cases, you can reach out to our legal team of Michigan Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers for assistance.
Slip and fall cases, also known as premises liability, is based on the fact property owners have a responsibility to maintain reasonably safe premises so as not to cause harm to others.
To prove a Detroit slip and fall case, you must show a property owner acted negligently by not maintaining a reasonably safe premises. However, the challenge is that the hazard that caused the slip and fall must have been something the property owner would have reasonably known about and had a reasonable amount of time to address.
For example, if someone spills a drink in a mall, and you immediately slip on the floor where the drink was spilled before anyone had time to be notified and clean it up, you likely would not be able to file a claim against the property owner. The property owner needs to have had reasonable time to learn about the hazard and deal with it before you can claim they were negligent.
You must essentially prove the following things to win a slip and fall case:
- You were legally allowed on the property, and thus, the owner owed you a duty of care.
- A dangerous hazard existed on the property.
- The property owner knew or reasonably should have known about the hazard before you fell.
- The property owner failed to address the hazard in a reasonable amount of time.
- You suffered an injury as a result of the property owner’s negligence and failure to fix the dangerous hazard.
It’s not uncommon for people to ask if slip and fall cases are hard to win. Understandably, many falls seem minor and inconsequential, which makes people think it would be hard to pursue a claim and win a settlement.
For example, if someone slips and falls outside a store and only bangs up their elbow a bit, they might simply get back up and keep walking without thinking much of it. Most people don’t automatically assume they could file a claim and win in these situations. But it is possible.
Some slip and fall cases are hard to win, and some are not. It can depend on several factors.
If you are injured on someone else’s property and the owner was aware of the hazard that caused your slip and fall, you do have the right to file a claim against them.
In most cases, your best bet at winning is to work with an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer. They will know the ins and out of premises liability law and how to hold the property owner accountable.
Slip and fall cases in Detroit are not the same as a car accident or dog bite. Collecting evidence showing the dangerous condition and how it caused the injuries is very important. The property owner will quickly try to cover up or remove the hazard. This frequently occurs when there is a wet floor at a store or restaurant, or snow and ice outside the property. They will then later deny it existed.
That is why it is vital to try and do these things after a slip and fall accident in Detroit:
- Take pictures and video of the accident scene. This is important because you will have to prove to the insurance company and the judge that a dangerous hazard existed at the time of your fall. Although you can still prove your case without photos, a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Get the names and telephone numbers of witnesses. This is your chance to collect information on the people who saw the fall. If you don’t get their info at the scene, you may never see them again. They can help later on and testify about the dangerous hazard and how the property owner knew about the problem but did nothing to solve it.
- Get medical attention. It is important to make sure your injuries are treated in a timely fashion. It is also important to make sure you explain in detail to the doctors or hospital staff what caused you to fall. Usually, this will be included in the medical records. If can be used as important evidence later to prove your case.
Detroit slip and fall accidents can happen just about anywhere there is a hazard that can cause someone to slip or trip and then fall. But some of the most common places where falls happen include:
- Grocery stores
- Swimming pools
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Parking lots
- Amusement parks
- Medical facilities
- Movie theaters
- Warehouses and factories
Essentially, a slip and fall can happen anywhere there is flooring or pavement that could become slippery or where there could be a hazard, such as loose carpeting, broken pavement, uneven steps or floors, missing handrails, cluttered floors, etc.
The injuries sustained from a slip and fall accident can vary greatly depending on where the fall occurred and how far the person fell. A slip and fall on carpeting after tripping over an item on the floor, for example, might not result in as severe an injury as someone slipping and falling down icy steps outside.
There are a few injuries that are more often related to falls, however, which include the following:
Black ice is ice that is essentially so clear that it resembles the color of the pavement and is hard to see because of this. Many cases involve black ice because it so often causes someone to slip and fall. The problem is because the black ice is so hard to see, it is hard to blame property owners for not removing it.
In fact, a recent case resulted in the Michigan Court of Appeals defining black ice as “invisible or nearly invisible,” which means it does not count as a hazard that was open and obvious. This means victims cannot easily claim that a property owner would have reasonably been able to spot the hazard and deal with it accordingly.
There are some situations where it may be possible to win a black ice slip and fall case, such as if the property owner previously witnessed people slipping in the area and did nothing to address it, but it may still be difficult to prove.
If you are on public property when you slip and fall, this means the property owner is technically the city, state, or other local government agency. And filing a premises liability claim is different when dealing with government agencies.
In Michigan, government agencies and functions have complete tort immunity in most cases, which means you cannot sue them. The exception is situations involving highway safety.
So, if you slip and fall on public property, you will need to consult with a local Detroit slip and fall accident attorney to see if you have a valid case. Claims brought against government agencies also have shorter statutes of limitations, meaning you have less time to bring your claim against a government agency.
Compensation for slip and fall accidents in Detroit can vary. Several factors can affect how much money a victim is owed in a slip and fall case. These factors are most often referred to as damages suffered by the victims, which can include:
- The cost of medical expenses for the slip and fall injury
- Lost wages while the victim is recovering from their injury
- Loss of future earning capacity if the injury leaves the victim unable to work in the future
- How much physical pain and suffering the victim is in
- How emotionally distressed the victim is as a result of the accident and their injuries
- How the injury has affected the victim’s quality of life
In most cases, the more evidence you can provide to show how your life has been affected by the accident and injury physically, financially, and emotionally, the more money you will be awarded.
One of the rules to follow for slip and fall accidents includes working with an attorney. As mentioned above, the more evidence you can provide to prove your case, the better. But not all evidence is easy to obtain on your own. A lawyer will have the means and know-how to access all necessary information and evidence that can be used to help you build a strong case.
Furthermore, if there is any argument about your claim being valid, an attorney can defend your rights and ensure the property owner is held accountable for their negligent actions. Your lawyer will also be able to stand up against insurance companies to make sure they pay you the full and fair settlement you deserve.
Overall, you need a Detroit slip and fall lawyer because they can:
- Investigate the accident
- Help identify at-fault parties
- Build a strong legal argument on your behalf
- Handle complex legal matters and paperwork
- Aggressively negotiate for a fair settlement
- Help you if your case goes to court
One of the Best Detroit Slip and Fall Lawyers
For over 40 years, The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has helped injured victims win their cases to collect the compensation they need and deserve. We care about the health and well-being of our clients. The results of a Detroit slip and fall accident can be traumatic—let us help you get the compensation you need to recover and move on as comfortably as possible.
Please call The Lee Steinberg Detroit slip and fall lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about your accident. You pay nothing until we settle your Detroit slip and fall accident case.