A Michigan premises liability lawyer sues landlords and property owners for injuries caused by defective conditions on a property. These defects, or hazards, exist on private property, public property, and at business locations.

These personal injury cases can result in large settlement payouts.  You can also recover lost wages and medical bills.

If you or a loved one was injured due to a defective condition, on another person’s property, you are likely to be wondering what legal recourse is available to you.

A Michigan premises liability lawyer is here to help. Get free legal advice from an experienced attorney at the law office of Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.

Choose The Buckfire Law Firm

Our premises liability lawyers have won the top awards in the legal profession.  These include the following listed in our attorney profiles:

  • U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firm
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • Top Michigan Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Super Lawyers

Our personal injury law firm has offices in Southfield, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Macomb County.  We represent clients throughout the entire State of Michigan.  This includes Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Port Huron, Monroe, Traverse City, and in Downriver Detroit.

We give a free consultation and represent our clients under our No Fee Promise.  This means there are no legal fees unless you win a settlement!

What is a Premises Liability Claim?

Premises liability is the legal theory  where the injury resulted from an unsafe or defective condition on someone else’s property.  It could be from a slip an fall, a defective step, or from any other dangerous condition.

Every landowner throughout Michigan has a legal duty to maintain their property in good condition. This is for the protection of guests and visitors lawfully on the property.

When the property is in disrepair and an injury occurs, property owner mays be legally liable in a premises liability claim.  Recoverable damages in liability cases includes compensation for personal injuries, medical bills, and associated expenses.  Many times, building code violations lead to serious injuries.

Is Premises Liability the Same as Negligence?

Premises liability is a type of negligence. Negligence means the failure of a person or business to use ordinary care for the safety of another person.

A common type of premises liability claim is a slip and fall.  These occur both indoors and outdoors, often due to ice and snow.

A premises liability claim asserts that a property owner failed to use reasonable care to make a property safe for a person lawfully on the property.

You cannot sue for an injury that occurs at your home, unless you are a renter.  Liability cases are filed when you are in injured on someone else’s property.

Common Types of Premises Liability Accidents

Of course, any number of personal injury accidents can arise on a person’s property. However, there are some common types of dangerous property accidents. These include:

  • Trip and fall incidents: due to raised concrete, broken pavement, defective carpet, and other trip hazards;
  • Wet and hazardous floors: slip and fall on wet floors caused by spills, leaks, and mopping by store and restaurant employees;
  • Slip and fall on ice and snow in parking lots and apartment complexes;
  • Elevator and escalator accidents: mechanical defects and poor maintenance cause these accidents;
  • Injuries from broken stairs: broken steps, deteriorated wood, and worn carpeting;
  • Bed bugs
  • Dram shop lawsuits: suing a vendor for overserving a patron and the resulting accident they caused
  • Daycare injuries suffered by a child
  • Electrical accidents causing electrocution injuries
  • Falls due to broken handrails: stairway rails pulling off the wall or simply not existing;
  • Injuries from falling merchandise: items falling off shelves at stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, and Walmart;
  • Fires and home explosions; from fire hazards, propane gas, and natural gas explosions;
  • Toxic and dangerous chemicals: causing injury from direct contact or inhaling of toxic fumes;
  • Falling ceilings and ceiling tiles: in commercial buildings, apartments, and rental homes;
  • Swimming pools: drowning deaths and a slip and fall on pool decks;
  • Inadequate building security: not providing proper security in hotels, buildings, and apartments.

When these circumstances arise, it is important  to determine who is at fault. A violation of a building code is evidence of negligence.

An experienced Michigan premises liability lawyer will investigate the conditions of a property and determine if a business owner is to blame.  We will  give you the best legal advice on how to file a case against the property owner.

Defective Premises Statistics

Unsafe property conditions are a major cause of serious injuries in the United States every year. Additionally, defective premises can lead to a fall-related death. There were over 17,000 deaths in 2017 from traumatic brain injuries caused by falls in the U.S. The graph below also shows that many falls also resulted in permanent brain damage and cognitive impairments.

What is the Michigan Premises Liability Law?

Michigan has specific statute stating a duty to use ordinary care to protect an invitee from risks of harm from a condition on the possessor’s premises. M Civ JI 19.03 states that a business or property owner can be held liable for damages if:

  • The risk of harm is unreasonable.
  • The possessor knows or in the exercise of ordinary care should know of the condition, and should realize that it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to an invitee.

To win a case, the evidence must show both of these elements. These are usually questions for a jury to decide at a trial if the case does not settle out of court.

State law classifies plaintiffs based upon the reason they were on the property. Essentially, a person is either a trespasser, licensee, or invitee when they are on someone else’s land.

Invitees are owed the highest duty of care by law. An invitee is someone who who enters land open to the public or for a commercial purpose. For these visitors, a landowner must inspect their property for hidden dangers in order to avoid injury to their customers or clients.

A licensee, under state law, is essentially a social guest. For a licensee, there is no obligation for a landowner to inspect their property in order to warn a licensee of hidden dangers—unless the property owner is aware of a precarious, hazardous, or dangerous condition.

A trespasser is someone who is not legally on the property. This would include a person not invited onto a private property. Or, a person on the property for an unlawful purpose. Under the law, the premises owner generally does not owe a legal duty to a trespasser. This is a defense to negligence by property owners in a premises liability case.

Our premises liability attorneys will determine if you are entitled to a settlement after being injured on someone else’s property. Call us for free legal advice now!

How Do I Sue for a Dangerous Condition?

To file a lawsuit, you must show that you were lawfully on the property and were injured due to a dangerous condition. Our attorneys will get incident reports, photographs, and surveillance video to prove your case. We will also try to locate witnesses to support your story.

You should be aware that simply because you were injured does not mean you can sue the property owner. Many people are injured or reasons that cannot be blamed due to a hazardous condition. Or, there may be no evidence that the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition.

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a legal defense in premises liability lawsuits. Opposing attorneys frequently argue the injured person was totally or partially at fault. For example, the person might be intoxicated or simply not paying attention to conditions on the property before a slip and fall.

A jury decides if a person was comparatively negligent and if so, what percentage of the total amount So, if a jury finds the plaintiff 25% at fault for a slip and fall incident, the defendant must pay 75% of the total jury verdict award.

How Much are Settlement Amounts?

The settlement is different for every case. There is no “average” compensation amount. The amount of the settlement depends on the strength of liability, any comparative negligence, and the damages suffered by the victim.

Recoverable damages include settlement compensation payouts for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and disability.  Additional compensation is paid for medical bills, lost income and other financial losses.

Our premises liability attorneys will help you get the maximum possible settlement. Call us now for your free consultation!

Examples of Michigan Premises Liability Jury Verdicts & Settlements

  • $4,140,000 settlement for the wrongful death of a 33-year-old man who fell due to a defective guard railing at his building that collapsed when he leaned on it and fell to his death.
  • $2,305,000 jury verdict against a Flint apartment complex for a tenant who fell when the handrail on the staircase detached causing her to suffer serious injuries.
  • $1,000,000 settlement for a child who suffered a head injury when a box fell on her from a high shelf in a big box retail store.
  • $950,000 wrongful death settlement for the family of a child that died from a defective mini-cord blind in her apartment unit.
  • $750,000 settlement for a man who fell through unsecured particle board in an attic and suffered serious orthopedic injuries requiring surgery.
  • $600,000 slip and fall settlement for a woman who sued her apartment complex for failing to clear away ice or salt the sidewalk in front of her building.

Premises Liability Case Study

A truck driver traveled to Michigan to make a delivery at a loading dock. After delivering the goods, he walked down a set of old wooden steps. The steps collapsed and he fell to the ground.

The steps had rotted and deteriorated wood. The truck driver was smart and took photos because the steps were later thrown away. He suffered a permanent disability spinal cord injury. He also had large medical bills.

A premises liability lawsuit was filed against the business owner. The property owner denied knowing the stairs were in disrepair. We hired several liability experts to prove the condition should have been discovered upon reasonable inspection and then repaired. The case settled for $1.35 million.

What is the Time Limit to File a Claim?

In Michigan, the statute of limitations is a three-year deadline for most premises liability claims.  You must file a lawsuit against the property owners before the three year anniversary of the incident or your case will be barred forever.  There are very few exceptions to this rule.

It is important to contact our premises liability attorneys as soon as possible to start your case.

Call a Michigan Premises Liability Lawyer

If you were injured on another person’s property, you do have legal options. Contact our premises liability attorneys for  your free consultation.

We charge no legal fees unless you get a settlement. And, we pay all of the costs so there is no risk whatsoever!

Call us now so we can start our investigation. We are friendly and eager to help you.

Michigan Premises Liability References and Resources

- David E.
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