Slip and Fall
Injuries due to a slip or trip and falls result in millions of hospital visits each year. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons for an emergency room visit. These include serious injuries including paralysis and even death. The elderly are especially at risk.
You are shopping in the grocery store and suddenly find yourself on the floor with a broken ankle. You discover that there was a clear liquid on the floor that made you slip and fall.
You are walking out to your car when your feet fly out from under you and your break your wrist trying to stop your fall. You realize that you stepped on black ice in the parking lot.
You are walking down the sidewalk when you trip over an irregularity due a slab that is cracked or lifted up by a tree root.
You are walking out of your condo or apartment to get the mail or take out the garbage and slip and fall on snow or ice and get injured.
Each of these common scenario’s involves a claim for premises liability against the owner of the property for failing to maintain its property in a safe condition. Whether you can recover for your injuries depends on exactly what happened. Some of the important factors include:
- How long the defect in the premises existed?
- Was the property owner aware of the condition?
- Should the property owner have been aware of the condition?
- Was the defect readily observable upon casual inspection?
- Did the property owner have some other statutory duty?
Premises liability claims in Michigan can be especially difficult as a result of the development of the Open and Obvious doctrine over the past several decades. The Court’s have created a doctrine that effectively releases a negligent property owner from liability if the defect was something that could have been seen and avoided. Many such cases have been dismissed when a judge buys into the defendant’s argument that the plaintiff wasn’t paying attention and should have seen and avoided the defect (liquid, snow/ice or pothole, etc.)
In order to overcome this defense, it is critically important that you take certain steps after you fall. First, make sure that you receive whatever First Aid you need to ensure your own health. Second, TAKE PICTURES of the defect. Not just one, but many pictures showing where you fell and the surrounding area. Document anything that indicates how long the defect was present or how it may have been created. Was the liquid on the floor because the store employee mopped and failed to put out a Wet Floor Sign? Are they footsteps through the liquid that show other people had encountered it? How long had it been snowing or raining? Any or all of these things may be crucial to the viability of your claim.
Were there any witnesses to the fall? Find out their name and contact information. An unbiased and independent witness can make your case. Most importantly, if you are injured in a slip or trip and fall DON’T WAIT AND GIVE US A CALL TODAY.