Experienced Slip-&-Fall Attorneys in Michigan
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.
Slip-&-Fall Incidents in Michigan
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.
Common Slip-&-Fall Injuries
The most common types of slip-and-fall injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Spinal stenosis
- Slipped or herniated discs
- Hip fractures
- Shoulder dislocation or brachial plexus injury
Common Causes of Slip-&-Fall Accidents
There are many common causes of slip-and-fall accidents, including:
- Uneven flooring
- Poor lighting
- Wet floors
- Debris left on floor
- Imbalance while on escalator, elevator, tractor, or ladder
- Malfunctioning elevator
- Icy or snowy walkway
- Worn, warped or broken steps
- Broken handrails
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.
Slip-&-Fall Laws in Michigan
Two legal concepts it is important to understand in the context of slip-and-fall incidents are the statute of limitations and comparative negligence.
Michigan’s Statute of Limitations
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.
Michigan Comparative Negligence
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.
Proving Slip-&-Fall Claims
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.
Duty of Care
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.
How a Slip-&-Fall Attorney Can Help You
In addition to helping you prove negligence, a slip-and-fall attorney can also:
- Represent you in court: Although most claims can be settled, it’s best to consult with a lawyer who has litigation experience. A slip-and-fall lawyer with litigation experience can represent you in court if the insurance company and/or defendant refuse to provide a fair and reasonable settlement.
- Calculate damages: Depending on the percentage of fault, you may be able to recover economic (medical expenses, wage loss, etc.) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages.
- File slip-and-fall claims: An attorney will ensure that your claim is filed on time and that you have the proper documentation needed to file the claim.
- Provide legal advice: Personal injury laws can be quite complicated, especially because each state has their own legislation. If you’re not sure if you have a case, you need to speak with an attorney who has prior experience handling slip-and-fall cases. An experienced attorney will help you understand laws surrounding your situation and how to move forward with your case.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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.
Request a Free Case Evaluation With a Slip-&-Fall Lawyer Today
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.