When you visit a store, restaurant, park, or other public place in Michigan, you have a reasonable expectation that walkways, staircases, and other surfaces are safe to set foot on.
Because no one expects to be injured when they are legally allowed on the premises, Michigan state law imposes a duty on property owners and managers to take reasonable steps to protect visitors from harm. When they fail in this duty, they may be held liable for the injuries that visitors might suffer.
By pursuing a slip and fall claim, you can demand that the at-fault party pays for your treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. However, many property and business owners dispute that they caused the injuries and damages you’ve suffered.
Your financial compensation after a slip and fall accident may depend on having knowledgeable, skilled legal representation on your side. David Christensen is prepared to fight for the settlement you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Michigan, contact Christensen Law today to start pursuing compensation for your injuries and damages. Schedule a free initial case review to talk with one of our skilled slip and fall lawyers about your rights. Our firm can help you pursue the maximum financial recovery possible for your case. There is no fee unless we win for you.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Slip and Fall Case?
The facts that you need to prove in a slip and fall case depend on the circumstances of your fall. The duties that a property or business owner owes to a visitor to that property depend on the visitor’s status.
A visitor can fall into one of three categories:
- Invitee – An invitee is someone with permission to be on the property who comes onto the property for the owner’s benefit. Customers are a common type of invitee. Property and business owners owe invitees a duty to take reasonable steps to inspect the property, warn of dangerous or hazardous conditions, and remedy or remove such hazards.
- Licensee – A licensee is someone with permission to be on the property who comes onto the premises for the licensee’s own benefit. Examples of licensees include social guests, delivery drivers, or door-to-door salespeople. A property or business owner owes a licensee a duty to warn them of dangerous or hazardous conditions of the property that would not be obvious to the licensee.
- Trespasser – A trespasser is someone without permission to be on the property. A property or business owner only owes trespassers a duty to refrain from willfully causing injury to the trespasser. They can’t, for example, set traps for trespassers. Property owners do owe a duty of care to minor trespassers in certain circumstances.
In order for an invitee to prove a slip and fall case, you will likely need to show that an unreasonably dangerous condition that the property or business owner should have known about caused your slip and fall that the property. For example, a store owner who knew about a patch of ice or puddle of oil on their premises and failed to clean it up could be held liable for a slip and fall injury that results.
In some cases, your lawyer may argue that the property manager failed to exercise reasonable diligence that would have uncovered the condition. A negligent property manager could have had a reasonable opportunity to remedy or repair the condition or warn you of its existence but failed to do so. For example, if a landlord never or very rarely inspected the condition of communal stairs in an apartment complex, they may be found liable for an injury caused by a faulty railing.
You must also establish that you suffered compensable damages, like medical expenses to treat your injuries, lost wages from the time you missed from work while recovering from injuries, or pain and suffering caused by injuries.
Some property or business owners may argue that the hazard that caused your fall was “open and obvious” to you. They may blame you for your injury by saying that you chose to walk across the hazard and failed to exercise reasonable care in doing so.
If the owner raises an “open and obvious” defense, your attorney may need to prove that the hazard that caused your fall wasn’t open and obvious, or that you had no choice but to walk across the hazard. For example, the patch of ice directly that you slipped on was directly in front of a store entrance. At Christensen Law, we’ll prepare you for these counterarguments to protect your right to compensation.