In Michigan, many slip and fall accidents occur due to snow and ice. In this case, you could be entitled to damages from the property owner. However, these claims are very difficult to file under state law. As a result, working with a Michigan lawyer can be crucial for your claim.
Cases based on weather conditions can be challenging in most instances. State court rulings have significantly limited the ability of injured parties to recover damages in cases involving winter weather conditions. Therefore, consulting a hardworking attorney could be essential in determining whether you have grounds for any legal claims as a result of your injuries.
Can I Sue for a Slip and Fall on Ice in Michigan?
Your ability to sue for compensation after a slip and fall on ice often depends on the location of the fall. For example, if your fall occurs on public property, like a sidewalk or school, you cannot pursue a claim. If it occurs at business, like a gas station or restaurant parking lot, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
Generally, the owners of both commercial and residential properties owe a legal duty to others to keep their property safe. If hazardous conditions exist and injuries occur, landowners could be liable for those injuries through a personal injury claim. However, the law is different for falls on ice and snow.
Settlement payouts in slip and fall cases include compensation for your pain and suffering, disability, medical expenses and lost wages. The injuries are often severe and require surgery, especially for bone fractures. As a result, the settlement amounts are often substantial.
Falls at Apartment Complexes and Rental Properties
Under Michigan Compiled Laws § 554.139, landlords are required to keep their properties in reasonable repair and maintain all common areas. Courts have determined that this statutory duty applies to cases involving the natural accumulation of ice and snow. Therefore, you may be able to sue the apartment complex for your fall.
However, liability is limited to falls that occur on porches, landings, and sidewalks throughout the complex. In general, you cannot sue for a fall in the parking lot except if you can prove that the condition was unavoidable at the time.
The Open and Obvious Defense
Michigan courts frequently dismiss many slip and fall lawsuits based upon the “open and obvious defense.” According to this legal defense, commercial and residential landowners are not liable if the hazard could be seen upon casual inspection. Basically, if you could see it and avoid it then there is no liability.
This defense does not always apply to falls on ice at an apartment complex. Our attorneys will carefully review your facts and determine if you can file a lawsuit.
Cases Involving “Black Ice”
Black ice—otherwise known as clear ice—is a small coating of ice often found on roads or walkways. In many fall cases, the injury victim was unable to see the ice even though carefully looking down before stepping on it. As such, the open and obvious defense often does limit the ability to bring cases for falls on black ice. We will advise you if you can pursue a black ice case.
What to do After a Slip and Fall on Ice?
If possible, you should immediately take photographs and video of the icy condition that caused you to fall. This is best way to prove that a hazard existed and was not cleared away by the property owner. If you wait too long, the ice will melt or the snow will be cleared by maintenance people and you won’t have the proof needed to win your case.
You should also report your fall to the business owner or apartment complex management office. A written report is the best way to document the incident. Make sure to get the name of the person who took your report. Also, ask for a copy of the incident report or even take a photograph of it in case the insurance company later claims that no report was filed.
Get Help from a Michigan Slip and Fall on Ice and Snow Attorney
State law has restricted slip and spill cases based on weather conditions to a large degree. Nonetheless, you still have legal options if you suffer injuries under these circumstances. After slipping on ice, you should consult a lawyer to assess your situation and explore all options available to you.
Working with experienced legal counsel can remove some of the stress that you are experiencing as a result of your injuries. We can help you.
We charge no legal fees unless you receive a settlement check. To get started, call today to schedule your free, no-obligation case review.
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Southfield, MI 48034
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Detroit, MI 48226
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Detroit, MI 48226
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Ann Arbor, MI 48104
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Shelby Township, MI 48316
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