All it takes is one minor mistake—an uneven walkway, a loose step, or a wet floor—to cause a slip-and-fall accident. But, that small mistake can have a serious impact on your life.
If someone’s carelessness left you with a serious injury, medical bills you can’t afford, and worry about what to do next, our slip-and-fall attorneys at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys can help. Keep reading to learn more about slip-and-fall accidents or contact us today to request a free case evaluation.
In 2020, 131 work-related fatalities were reported in Michigan. This is a 20% decrease when compared to 2019, although the decrease in number could be connected to COVID-related shutdowns.
Of the fatal injuries in Michigan, 16.8% were caused by slip-and-fall accidents, which is on par with the national rate of 16.9%.
However, it’s important to note that not all accidents get reported to federal agencies. The above-mentioned 131 work-related fatalities were reported on the federal level. According to a 2022 MIOSHA report, hospitals reported 32 work-related fatalities in the state. Of those reported, slip-and-fall accidents caused eight fatalities.
Additionally, as of 2018, the most recent year of statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 29.4% of non-work-related slip-and-fall accidents among older adults resulted in injuries. This is 1.4% higher than the national average of 28%.
The truth is that any number of slip-and-fall accidents is too high. Even if a slip-and-fall accident doesn’t result in death, it could cause severe injuries that affect you for the rest of your life.
The most common types of slip-and-fall injuries include:
There are many common causes of slip-and-fall accidents, including:
In many cases, some of these situations may have been directly caused by someone’s negligence. No matter who you think was at fault, it’s always important to discuss details with an experienced slip-and-fall attorney. An attorney can help you understand if you have a case and how to move forward if you do.
Two legal concepts it is important to understand in the context of slip-and-fall incidents are the statute of limitations and comparative negligence.
In Michigan, any slip-and-fall accident claims must be filed within three years after the date of the incident. Just like any personal injury claim, the sooner you file, the better. A slip-and-fall attorney can help you understand how to file a slip-and-fall claim.
Under Michigan’s version of comparative negligence, even if you are partially at fault for a slip-and-fall accident, you may still recover damages. Under Michigan’s version of comparative negligence, a jury determines each parties’ percentage of fault, and any verdict is adjusted accordingly. For example, if the jury finds that you are 20% at fault for your accident, your verdict is reduced by that percentage and you will receive 80% of the verdict. In another example, if the jury awards you a verdict of $300,000, but finds that you were 20% at fault, then the defendant would be liable for $240,000 after deduction of the 20%, or $60,000.
However, if the court finds that you are 50% or more at fault for your slip-and-fall accident, you will not be able to recover non-economic damages at all. You could still recover economic damages, but at a lower amount. For example, if the court finds that you are 60% at fault for your injuries, the defendant only pays 40% of the economic damages awarded.
Before you can recover damages for a slip-and-fall claim, you must prove that the defendant (or their employee or agent) was negligent (in other words, owed you a duty of care and breached it) and that the defendant’s negligence was a cause of your damages. A proper defendant has possession and control of the premises where your injury occurred and the duty the defendant owes depends upon your status at the time of your injury.
The lowest duty of care would be owed to a trespasser. A trespasser is someone who enters a property without the owner’s permission (express or implied), for the trespasser’s own amusement or benefit. A premises possessor has a duty of care to trespassers insofar as they cannot legally place pitfalls or traps to deliberately injure trespassers (wilful and wanton misconduct), and once a premises possessor become aware of trespassers, it is their duty to exercise reasonable care and prevent the trespassers from getting injured. Child trespassers are owed a higher duty of care than adults
A higher duty of care is owed to a licensee (someone on the premises with permission, but not for commercial purposes, such as a social guest), A premises possessor has a duty to warn a licensee of hidden dangers the owner knows or has reason to know about (if the licenses does not know or have reason to know of such danger). The premises possessor does not owe a licensee a duty to inspect the premises to discover hidden dangers or an affirmative duty to make the premises safe. In other words, a licensee assumes the ordinary risks associated with their permitted entry onto another’s premises.
The highest duty of care is owed to an invitee (someone on the premises for commercial purposes, such as a customer), The defendant must exercise reasonable care to protect an invitee from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition on the land. Using reasonable care to protect invitees may include inspecting the premises, making any necessary repairs, or warning patrons of any known or foreseeable hazards. It does not extend, however, to conditions from which an unreasonable risk cannot be anticipated or to dangers so obvious that an invitee can be expected to discover the hazard.
Proving negligence isn’t easy—that’s why you need an experienced slip-and-fall attorney by your side.
In addition to helping you prove negligence, a slip-and-fall attorney can also:
Lastly, there’s no financial risk to consulting with an attorney. Most firms, like Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, offer free case evaluations. Additionally, Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys offers contingency fee agreements, which means that the attorney charges no fee and instead works for a percentage (typically one-third in personal injury cases) of any recovery.
At Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, we understand how complex slip-and-fall incidents can be. In our FAQs below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions surrounding slip-and-fall incidents.
It is difficult to calculate damages related to slip-and-fall accidents as every situation is unique. For a better understanding of how much you could recover, we recommend scheduling a free case evaluation with one of our slip-and-fall attorneys.
Personal injury damages, including damages related to slip-and-fall incidents, can be split into two major categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include lost wages, medical expenses, rehabilitation, and other expenses (travel, medical equipment, etc.) related to the injury.
Non-economic damages are harder to calculate as they have no set monetary value. Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, and general decline in quality of life.
Additionally, because Michigan has comparative negligence, your percentage of fault also directly affects how much you could recover. If your percentage of fault is more than 50%, you will not be able to recover any non-economic damages and the amount of economic damages you could recover will be reduced.
It’s best to file a slip-and-fall claim with help from an experienced attorney.
To file a slip-and-fall claim, or any personal injury claim, you’ll need as much information about your incident as possible, including when and where it happened, if there were any witnesses, and the conditions of the location where the injury occurred. If the accident happened while you were at your employment, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim and potentially fill out an accident report with your employer..
After you file an incident report with your employer or property owner, you will also need to provide a copy of that report when you file a claim, along with photos of the location and your injury. You will also need to provide invoices and insurance claims for all medical-related expenses as well as proof of wage loss.
After the foregoing information is collected regarding your accident, and it’s been determined that you have a solid case, a demand letter will be sent to the opposing party. If the opposing party chooses to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement, that will be the end of the matter and the case will not go to court. If they don’t, then a lawsuit is filed in court.
You have three years after your slip-and-fall incident to file a claim, but you should generally file your claim as soon after the incident as possible.
No. There are no current caps or limits to how much a person can win in a slip-and-fall lawsuit.
1. Try to collect as much information as possible during the incident. If there are witnesses, be sure to ask for contact information. Take photos of the location and your injury if possible too.
2. Contact local authorities to file a report.
3. If at work, notify your employer.
4. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
5. Schedule a free case evaluation with a slip-and-fall attorney.
Slip-and-fall cases are premises liability cases, which means that the liable party is the person or entity with possession and control of the premises at the time of your accident, such as a property management company, residential property owner or lessee, or commercial property owner or lessee.
If the incident happens on a public road, the municipality or department of transportation could be at fault. The best way to determine liability in a slip-and-fall case is to consult with an attorney. Multiple factors determine liability, and there are some situations where there may even be shared liability.
If negligence can be proven, most property owners and property management companies can be sued. However, slip-and-fall claims can become challenging when government entities are involved, particularly due to governmental immunity. Governmental immunity prevents litigants from proceedings against government entities except in certain limited circumstances, and the rule varies from state to state. In Michigan, government entities could be found liable under the following exceptions:
– When public highways are not repaired or maintained, so much so that they are not considered “reasonably safe” or “convenient for public travel”
– If a government employee was negligent while operating a government-owned vehicle
– If defects are found in public buildings and it can be proved that a government agency was involved in this and that the building was open to the public
– Medical negligence, unless the hospital is owned by the Michigan Department of Community Health or Department of Corrections
– If defects are found in drain, sewer, or storm systems and it can be proven that that defect directly resulted in an injury
If you are found partially at fault, you may still be able to recover damages. There are certain situations in which you could be found partially at fault for your slip-and-fall incident, such as ignoring signage regarding flooring conditions. Your determined percentage of fault will ultimately determine how much you are allowed to recover in damages.
Yes. Although many cases can be settled, and it is possible to file a slip-and-fall claim on your own, it’s best to be prepared for any situation. You are best served by having an attorney to assist with negotiating the best settlement possible or to navigate the court system. If you’re going up against insurance companies and commercial property owners, they will do whatever it takes to prove that a) you’re the at-fault party or b) you don’t have enough evidence to prove that your injury was caused by their negligence.
Have you or someone you know been injured in a slip-and-fall incident? Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, formerly known as Giroux Trial Attorneys, is ready to help. Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys is a personal injury law firm that’s not afraid to fight for clients. Since our founding, we’ve handled over 120 cases in Michigan and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
Fill out our online form today today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our slip-and-fall attorneys.
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