Premises Liability (Slip & Fall)
All of us have had embarrassing falls. Normally, we just brush ourselves off with nothing more than a bruised ego. But sometimes, a person falls in just the right way and a serious injury occurs. From broken bones to serious concussions, a simple slip and fall can change a person’s life forever. If you have been injured in this type of accident, you need an experienced Detroit, Michigan area personal injury attorney with the knowledge and tenacity to fight these tricky cases. Insurance companies often vigorously defend these claims, so it is important to retain a personal injury lawyer that can fight for the money you are owed.
In Michigan, an owner or possessor of a premises owes a duty to protect its invitees from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition of the land. Liability arises against the property owner where he or his agents create the hazard themselves or knew or should have known of a hazard and failed to warn others about it. The law considers property owners who fail to meet their responsibilities negligent and allows an injured person to receive compensation if he/she can prove the property owner’s negligence was a factor in their injury.
These cases often arise as the result of:
- Broken or cracked sidewalks
- Slippery or wet floors
- Falls on escalators and elevators
- Snow and ice
- Failure to warn of a property’s hazardous or unsafe condition
Unfortunately, the insurance industry and Chamber of Commerce have been very influential with the judges in our state, making these cases very difficult to win if your attorney is not well skilled in this area of the law. A judicial invention, the “Open and Obvious” doctrine has improperly been used countless times to dismiss meritorious cases in Michigan. A danger is open and obvious if it is reasonable to expect an average user with ordinary intelligence to discover the danger upon casual inspection. Judges have actually applied this doctrine to dismiss a blind man’s case when he slipped on a pool of water in a restroom because “an average user with ordinary intelligence,” i.e. someone that could see, would have discovered it. Moreover, our Supreme Court has actually held that slip/trip and falls have little risk of causing severe harm. This ignores the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's statistics that prove the exact opposite:
- 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury involving fractured bones or a head injury;
- 3 million elderly people are treated in emergency departments every year after falling;
- Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized after falling and suffering a head injury or fractured hip;
- More than 95% of hop fractures are caused by a slip/trip or fall;
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries;
- In 2015 medical costs for fall injuries was more than $50 billion dollars with Medicare and Medicaid paying 75% of these costs.
Because of the virtual refusal of our courts to hold property owners accountable for their negligence in maintaining their premises, insurance companies are well aware of how difficult these cases can be for injured persons in Michigan and are aggressively defending these cases. They routinely try to obtain statements immediately after the accident before the injured person even has been able to discuss the case with an attorney will later use those statements against the injured person. Photographic and video evidence of the incident may also mysteriously disappear if harmful to the defendant. Because of all of this, it is wise to consult with a skilled lawyer as soon as possible after suffering an injury on another’s premises.
If you believe that you may be entitled to damages as the result of injuries suffered on another’s property, it is important that you contact a qualified attorney. The Davis Law Center has the resources to expertly evaluate your case and gather the necessary evidence to prove the negligence necessary to win a premises liability lawsuit.
Call us at (248) 865-7740 for a free consultation today.