Our Michigan injury lawyers can help if you were injured from a dangerous condition that caused you to slip and fall or trip fall.
Fall injuries are common in both private and public places. Falls often result in very serious and even fatal injuries.
When a fall is the result of a dangerous or defective condition, the injured person can often sue for compensation for the injuries suffered in the fall. These types of cases are known as a premises liability lawsuit and slip and fall lawsuit.
Why You Should Choose the Buckfire Law Firm for Your Case
The Buckfire Law Firm has served Michigan residents and others injured in the state since 1969.
Our family-owned firm has assembled an award-winning team of lawyers and a great support staff that regularly wins amongst the top settlements in Michigan every year. We will do the same for you.
The respected Martindale-Hubbell service has given us an AV Rating, which is the highest possible rating for skill and integrity in the legal profession. We have also been named The Best Lawyers In America and Best Lawyers by U.S. News & World Report. Several attorneys have been named Super Lawyers.
When you choose us for your case, you will get:
- A team of experienced trial attorneys who specialize in slip and fall cases.
- A dedicated case manager who will work with you and assist the lawyers with your case.
- A firm with the resources and experience to fight the insurance company legal team.
- We have offices in Southfield, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Macomb County, and handle cases in all major cities and counties, including Monroe, Lansing, Saginaw, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids.
- Legal representation under our No-Fee Promise, which means we do not charge you any legal fees unless you get a settlement. We pay all of the case expenses and you will never be asked to give us any money while we work on your case. Our fee gets paid when you receive your check.
Common Places for Fall Injuries
A fall injury accident can happen anywhere, but the most common places outside the home for a fall injury include:
- Stores, malls, and shopping centers
- Hospitals, nursing homes, and medical buildings
- Homes and residences of family and friends
- Apartment and condominium complexes
- Restaurants and cafeterias
- Hotels and motels
- Movie theaters, stadiums, and concert venues
- Health clubs, gyms, and recreational centers
- Schools and colleges, including in gyms and auditoriums
- Airports, bus stations, and train stations
- Workplaces, like factories and manufacturing plants
Frequent Types of Slip and Fall Accidents
Our slip and fall lawyers have won significant settlements and jury verdicts in Michigan premises liability lawsuits.
The most common types of slip and fall injuries occur due to:
- Falls on ice and snow, including black ice at businesses, residences, hospitals, hotels, schools and apartment complexes in parking lots, on sidewalks, and indoors.
- Defective steps and broken stairways inside buildings and on exterior steps, including deteriorated wooden steps, crumbling cement steps, and broken stairs.
- Missing and broken handrails both inside and outside of a building.
- Water and other substances, like grease, on floors and aisles in stores, restaurants, airports, hospitals, and other businesses.
- Broken, uneven, & raised defective sidewalks on public and private property.
- Defective parking lots & potholes, including broken pavement, cracked cement, raised parking blocks, and other hazards.
- Floors in buildings, malls, and hotels that are too slippery due to excessive wax build-up and poor maintenance.
- Swimming pools and swimming pool decks that have excessive slippery tiles.
- Elevator & escalator accidents caused by mechanical defects and wet substances.
- Inadequate lighting and poor lighting make it difficult or impossible to see where you are walking or stepping and causing you to encounter a dangerous condition.
Statistics and Facts About Fall Injuries
According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of falls resulting in injuries is staggering. The fall statistics show that:
- One out of every five falls results in a broken bone or a head injury.
- Over 3 million people are treated in emergency rooms each year for fall injuries.
- More than 800,000 people are hospitalized every year due to injuries from a fall.
- Greater than 95% of all hip fractures are caused by falls.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
- The total medical costs paid for fall-related treatment was more than $ 50 billion in 2015 alone.
What are the Most Common Injuries from a Fall Accident?
Falls often result in very serious injuries, especially to the elderly population who are unable to protect themselves or catch their balance before striking the ground.
Common fall injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, closed head injuries, and concussions.
- Brain bleeds and subdural hematomas.
- Broken bones and fractures to the arms, wrists, hands, legs, ankles, and feet.
- Back and neck injuries, including spinal cord injuries, bulging discs, and herniated discs.
- Knee injuries resulting in a torn ACL, MCL, or torn meniscus.
- Shoulder injuries, like a torn rotator cuff.
- Nerve damage.
- Death directly caused by the fall for from other complications.
What is the Law in Michigan for Slip & Fall Cases?
Under Michigan law, the owner or possessor of property has a legal duty to make the premises reasonably safe for its guests and business invitees.
The business or property owner can be held liable for recoverable damages if a person is injured due to a dangerous condition on the premises.
In Michigan, the injury victim must prove several elements to win a slip and fall lawsuit. These cases, also known as premises liability, must prove that there was a defective or dangerous condition on the property or business location that caused both the fall and injuries suffered by the victim.
Who is Needed to Prove a Slip & Fall Lawsuit?
To prove and win a slip and fall case, the laws in Michigan require that the injured person provide proof of these five things:
- A dangerous condition existed on the property. This can be proven by witness testimony, photographs, videos, documents such as incident reports and repair records.
- The owner of the property knew or should have known of the condition before the fall. This can be proven by showing that there were previous complaints about the dangerous condition, by a history of previous falls at the same location, or by showing that the condition existed for such a length of time that it should have been known to the owner.
- The person was lawfully on the property either as a social guest or business invitee (not a trespasser).
- The property owner was negligent in the maintenance of the property or failed to repair the condition. Evidence such as repair records, photographs, and video can be used to prove negligent maintenance and repairs on the property.
- The person suffered an injury as a result of the dangerous condition. The injury must be one that was caused by the fall or aggravated by the fall. Medical records and doctor’s testimony are used to prove the cause of the injury.
Slip and Falls on Ice and Snow
Serious injuries are caused every winter due to slip and falls on ice and snow.
The law in Michigan has changed drastically over the last several years making these cases more difficult to win.
Although some law firms will not take these cases, the Buckfire Law Firm still accepts many icy condition injury clients. We have continued to have great success in winning great settlements for our clients in ice cases.
Many ice and snow fall injuries occur at apartment complexes or in business parking lots that were not plowed or salted after a storm.
Many times, the property owner should have salted even before the winter storm to prevent the buildup of ice and snow before the arrival of the storm. This is especially true in cases involving black ice in which the condition would not be seen upon casual inspection.
We often hire weather experts and meteorologists to testify on issues relating to these cases. These include when the storm started and stopped and how much time elapsed before the fall injury.
Experts can also testify regarding the effectiveness of salt at the temperatures that existed at the time of the incident. These factors are often the difference between winning and losing your case.
Are Slip and Fall Cases Hard to Win in Court?
Live every case, some cases are hard to win and others are very straightforward matters that the parties know in advance will likely settle.
Each case depends on the facts surrounding the fall and the maintenance of the area of the fall, as well as the conduct of the injured person prior to the incident.
Our attorneys will gather all of the evidence, including incident reports, photographs, and surveillance video to prove fault against the defendant.
We will also interview eyewitnesses, subpoena maintenance records, and perform a full investigation to prove negligence against the owner or possessor of the property. This allows us to win a high percentage of slip and fall cases in Michigan.
What are the Defenses in Slip and Fall Lawsuits?
There are many common defenses to slip and fall cases. One is arguing that the injured person was unlawfully on the property, called a trespasser, and therefore no legal duty was owed to the person.
Other defenses include that the condition was not unreasonably dangerous or that the owner did not know or have reason to know that the hazard existed prior to the fall incident.
The primary legal defense used in court today is that the hazard was open and obvious. This means that the condition was so bad or visible that the injured person should have seen and avoided the hazard.
Depending on the case, some courts can dismiss a case based upon this defense. However, there are exceptions to the open and obvious defense that can avoid dismissal and result in a settlement for the injury victim.
Michigan also has laws of comparative negligence. This means that the defendant can argue that any award to the injured person should be reduced based upon that person’s own negligence.
For example, if a person who knowingly walks on a wet floor in a store and falls, the defense lawyer argues the victim is 30% negligent for the fall.
If successfully argued, the defendant is obligated to pay its share of the damages, which would be 70% of the total amount. This type of dividing up the percentage of fault is determined by either a jury or judge presiding over the case.
How Much are Slip and Fall Settlement Amounts?
The Michigan laws provide for two separate types of compensation in a slip and fall lawsuit. These are divided into economic damages and non-economic damages, which are also known as personal injury damages.
Most cases include both types of damages being paid as part of the settlement.
Personal injury damages include compensation for your pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional injury, and disfiguring scars.
The value of this claim is based largely upon the type of injury caused in the fall and the type of medical treatment needed for the condition. The medical records and your testimony will provide the best understanding of how the incident affected your life.
Economic damages are easier to calculate. We will get all of your medical bills, co-pays, and copies of insurance payments and present those to the insurance company for payment.
If you were disabled from work due to your injuries after a fall, you are entitled to your lost wages for time missed from work.
Claims are also made for loss of income and earnings going into the future if you are unable to return to work or will earn less in the future due to the injuries suffered from the fall accident.
In cases involving a death, we will file a wrongful death lawsuit for the surviving family members. These claims include the pain and suffering endured by the decedent from the time of the fall until death, the loss of society and companionship by surviving family members, loss of income and support, and funeral and burial expenses.
Is there an Average Settlement Amount for a Slip and Fall Injury?
It may be possible to calculate an average settlement amount, but it would not provide a real basis for determining the amount of your case.
The compensation payout amounts are based upon the particular facts of each case because the liability, injuries, medical care, and economic losses are never the same in any two matters. While a settlement calculator would be helpful, unfortunately, it does not exist.
What are Examples of Michigan Slip and Fall Settlements and Verdicts?
Below is a list of recent jury verdicts and out of court settlements in slip and fall lawsuits.
- $4,140,000 settlement when a tenant in an apartment building fell to his death died when a guardrail broke and caused him to fall three stories onto a concrete landing.
- $2,305,000 jury verdict against a Flint apartment complex for a tenant injured when a broken handrail caused her to fall down a flight of stairs. She suffered from a broken ankle and required multiple surgeries for the condition.
- $1,175,000 settlement for a fall on dangerous and poorly maintained wooden steps in Pontiac. Our client suffered a spinal cord injury which left him permanently disabled from work.
- $1,500,000 fall injury settlement. The victim fell through a hole in a second-story floor while restoring a property and became complete paraplegic.
- $1,425,000 jury verdict in Detroit for a woman who suffered a brain injury due to a fall on a wet and freshly mopped floor in a fast-food restaurant. The employee failed to put out the
- $1,250,000 premises liability settlement. A resident of a Michigan condominium complex sustained severe injuries after falling on a ramp at her time-share condominium.
- $1,100,000 judgment against a Detroit building owner for the estate of a painter who fell through a rotted and deteriorated roof and suffered fatal injuries.
- $450,000 settlement for a woman who fell on a defective sidewalk suffered multiple fractures.
- $250,000 settlement for an injury from a defective doorway entrance in Macomb County.
- $195,000 settlement for a man who slipped and fell on a wet floor in a hospital and suffered a fractured hip.
- $150,000 settlement for a woman who tripped over a raised steel anchor on a parking lot block and suffered a broken right arm.
Do Most Cases go to Trial or Settle Out of Court?
The majority of personal injury cases do not go to trial. In fact, less than 5% of all cases have a trial by a judge or jury.
Most cases result in out of court settlements that occur at mediation or through settlement discussions with the insurance company either before or after a lawsuit is filed.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Michigan Slip and Fall Lawsuits?
The general slip and fall statute of limitations is three years in the state of Michigan.
This is a strict deadline and means that you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the incident. If you miss this deadline, your case will be barred forever and you will not receive compensation.
For fall injuries that occur on governmental property, like defective sidewalks or at government buildings, a plaintiff is required to provide a written notice to the governmental agency within 120 days of the incident. Then notice must specify the exact location and nature of the defect, the injuries sustained, and any known witnesses.
The failure to provide this written notice will bar your claims.
Get the Best Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyers
The lawyer that you choose for your case is the difference between winning a great settlement or nothing at all.
Our award-winning law firm has been winning the top personal injury settlements and verdicts in Michigan for over fifty years and we can do the same for you today.
It’s easy to get started on your case. Just call us today and speak with our team of legal experts. We will listen to your story and let you know how we can help you.
- 29000 Inkster Road
Southfield, MI 48034
- Phone: (248) 595-7544
- 19 Clifford St.
Suite 805 Merchants Row
Detroit, MI 48226
- Phone: (313) 992-8281
- 1001 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
- Phone: (313) 777-8482
- 343 S. Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
- Phone: (734) 888-3003
- 51424 Van Dyke Ave
Shelby Township, MI 48316
- Phone: (586) 250-2626