Snow, Ice, and Wet Floors? Slip and Fall In Michigan? Who’s Liable?
Did you slip and fall because of the snow, ice, and maybe a wet floor? Before you call that ambulance-chasing injury lawyer, you might want to read up on a few things.
This should be an open and shut case so gimme my money.
Slow your roll there JG Wentworth. Before you start singing "I need cash now" and screaming "it's my money and I want it now", you might want to read up on a few things. Like premises liability and open and obvious.
Not every slip-and-fall accident is grounds for a lawsuit. Most of these claims fall under the legal concept of “premises liability,” which is based on a property owner’s obligation to keep premises safe and free of hazards. Therefore, a plaintiff has to establish that their injuries resulted from a fall that was caused by a dangerous condition on someone else’s property. (clickondetroit)
Terms like general negligence and conduct of the defendant get thrown around.
And then we enter a little something called open and obvious (which is not a small legal detail at all).
The “open and obvious” doctrine poses a major hurdle in any slip and fall case. This law protects property owners when the hazard and its inherent dangers are noticeable to an average person “upon casual inspection.” Unfortunately for victims, most hazardous conditions meet this criteria. (clickondetroit)
The letter of the law is as follows.
In a civil action, a municipal corporation that has a duty to maintain a sidewalk under subsection (1) may assert, in addition to any other defense available to it, any defense available under the common law with respect to a premises liability claim, including, but not limited to, a defense that the condition was open and obvious. (mi.gov)
It does seem like the law is on "their" side if you slip and fall. Michigan, snow and ice aplenty all the time, open and obvious.
However, there is an expectation that property owners have to keep certain areas safe, clear, and clean. And they have a measured amount of time to do so.
That's with respect to sidewalks.
Parking lots are...different.
Another interesting aspect of Michigan law is that, unlike sidewalks, parking lots are not intended for pedestrians. Therefore, landlords are not usually liable when a person slips and falls on the way to or from a car in a parking lot. (clickondetroit)
The main takeaway here, be careful. Watch where you're going. Stay on the cleared and maintained walkways. If you go somewhere, it looks dangerous or slick, and you can obviously see that you shouldn't go walking on it, don't.
Use your common sense and be aware. The law isn't necessarily on your side if you don't pay attention.
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