Michigan is no stranger to snow and ice and all the dangers that come with them. While the potential for a Michigan auto accident should be on every motorist’s mind this time of year, slip-and-fall accidents are just as likely. If you have fallen because of someone else’s negligence in wintry conditions, it’s important to understand whether you have a personal injury case.
1. Figure out who’s liable for your slip and fall accident.
Did you fall on the sidewalk at your apartment building? Your landlord may be liable. Did you go down on black ice outside of a restaurant? The eatery could be on the hook. Did you hit your head on the sidewalk in front of your neighbor’s house? They could be at fault.
Slip and fall accidents on someone else’s property could get them tagged as negligent in their duty to keep their walkways, parking lots, entrances, and exits free of snow and ice. Your Michigan slip and fall lawyer can tell you for certain if you have a case.
2. You must prove that you couldn’t avoid the hazard.
Sometimes Michigan winter precipitation is so formidable even the most diligent person can’t stay ahead of it. Deliberately stepping on an obviously icy spot when there was a clear path around that area – also known as the “open and obvious” defense in Michigan wherein a landlord or business owner isn’t responsible for alerting you to clearly dangerous areas – won’t necessarily be considered a legit slip and fall accident in a Michigan court. It’s on the injured person to prove that there was no way for them to avoid the hazard that caused their slip and fall.
3. Most businesses work hard to clear their property and protect patrons and visitors.
Even if a slip and fall claim is false or exaggerated, a business can suffer greatly though they may not lose any case brought against them. Negative reviews by word of mouth or online can create a reputation of negligence and people won’t hesitate to apply that to all areas of a business.
Most businesses do their best to guard against wintry conditions, including removing snow, putting down salt, and providing sufficient lighting so walking isn’t full of hazards.
4. Slip and fall injuries can be severe.
Most of the time, a person’s slip and fall only damages their pride. Being embarrassed is a minor side effect compared to what could possible occur – a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, back sprain, contusions, and other bodily injuries. Get medical treatment as soon as possible after your fall, not only to make sure you’re OK but to document the injuries for insurance purposes and, potentially, a lawsuit.
What to Do After a Michigan Slip and Fall
Documenting any personal injury is critical to insurance claims you make or a case you may wish to bring against someone. Photos, medical reports, note-taking, witness statements – just like a car accident, gathering evidence from a slip-and-fall accident is important. It’s essential to report the incident too so it is on record and the potentially responsible party is aware of the situation.
If you have suffered a Michigan slip and fall because of wintry conditions and someone else’s negligence, contact Michigan personal injury attorney David C. Femminineo in Macomb County to schedule your consultation.