When you’re on someone else’s property, you assume that the owner or occupier of the property has kept the property reasonably safe for visitors. If you’ve been there before, it’s easy to assume that your grocery store, neighbor’s home, or public sidewalk will be perfectly safe.
When a property owner or business negligently allows dangerous or hazardous conditions to remain on the premises and a visitor to the property is injured by those conditions, that owner may be held responsible in a premises liability claim. They may owe significant financial compensation to the injured visitor for the economic and non-economic costs of their injuries.
Pursuing a premises liability action often becomes a complex matter. Property and business owners are likely to dispute whether their negligence caused the condition on the property that injured the visitor, whether the injured party bears fault for their own injuries, or whether the accident or incident even occurred.
If you have been injured by a dangerous or unsafe condition on somebody else’s property in Michigan, you need experienced, skilled legal representation to ensure you have the best chance at securing maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
Get an experienced premises liability attorney in your corner now. You can talk to a Michigan premises liability lawyer at Christensen Law about your legal rights and options for free. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost initial case review. There is no fee unless we win for you.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to any legal case in which a person is injured by an unsafe condition on someone else’s property due to the negligence of the owner, operator, or occupier of the premises.
Under Michigan law, property owners and occupiers are required to take reasonable efforts to maintain their premises in a safe condition for visitors. When they fail to do so, injured parties can initiate a premises liability claim if they get hurt. A claim or subsequent suit can recover compensation for the various economic and non-economic losses they have suffered as a result of their injuries.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Premises Liability Case?
What you need to prove in your premises liability case may depend on your status while visiting the property where your injury occurred. Michigan law recognizes three different statuses for visitors to property:
- Invitee – This is someone with permission to be on the property, who’s there for the benefit of the property owner or operator. Invitees are frequently a business’s customers. Property and business owners owe invitees a duty to not only warn of dangerous or hazardous conditions on the premises, but also to take reasonable steps to inspect the premises for such conditions, and to remedy or repair them or to warn of their presence.
- Licensee – This is someone with permission to be on the property, who’s there for the licensee’s own benefit. Social guests and salesmen are examples of licensees. Property and business owners only owe licensees a duty to warn them of dangerous or hazardous conditions on the property.
- Trespasser – This is someone without permission to be on a property. Property and business owners only owe trespassers a duty to refrain from willfully inflicting injury upon them. They usually are not liable for any injury caused by a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property not put there by the property or business owner for the purpose of trapping or injuring trespassers. The situation may be different if the injured trespasser is a child.
Generally, property and business owners are expected to keep their premises reasonably safe. This requires taking reasonable efforts to inspect the premises regularly so that they discover dangerous or hazardous conditions. Property managers should repair or remove those conditions or warn visitors of their presence.
To prove your premises liability case, your attorney will show that the property or business owner either knew of the dangerous or hazardous condition that caused your injury, or had sufficient opportunity to discover the condition and failed to conduct reasonably regular and diligent inspections of the premises. They must also prove that the property or business owner had reasonable opportunity to remove or repair the condition or provide visitors with warning of the condition and failed to do so.
Sometimes, you may need to prove that the hazard wasn’t an “open or obvious” condition. Property and business owners may use the “open and obvious” doctrine as a defense against premises liability claims.
They might argue that the condition that caused your injury was readily apparent to a reasonable person, and that you failed to use due care to notice the condition and avoid it or crossed the hazard without reasonable care. Your attorney can work to defend against this allegation that the hazard was “open and obvious.”