Slip & Fall
Injured? You May Need a Michigan Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
Let our slip and fall accident attorney team thoroughly research and document the parameters of your slip and fall accident lawsuit. If you’ve been injured in a Michigan slip and fall accident, a Cochran, Foley & Associates slip and fall accident lawyer may be able to deliver justice.
If you believe you are a victim, let a Michigan slip and fall accident attorney from Cochran, Foley & Associates fight for your rights. Click here for a free consultation or call 800-322-5543 and ask for Terry Cochran or Lynn Foley to help you with your slip and fall accident lawsuit.
Older Americans and Children are Especially Vulnerable to Harm From ‘Slip & Fall’ Accidents
‘Slip & Fall’ is an injury claim based on a fall that occurs on someone else’s property, is caused by that property owner’s negligence, and requires a Michigan slip and fall accident lawyer. A Slip & Fall occurs, according to our Michigan slip and fall accident lawyer team, not because the victim was not paying attention and stumbled, but because another person’s negligence lead to the fall.
Our own slip and fall accident attorney team’s research revealed that thousands of people are injured every year because of hidden hazards on property or because of flagrant dangerous conditions that property owners fail to correct. Falls are one of the most common sources of injuries in the United States.
Among the hidden hazards or flagrant dangerous conditions that can produce a valid Slip & Fall claim are:
- Ice or snow on sidewalks
- Poor lighting
- Defective flooring
- Clear ice
- Standing water puddles
- Improperly secured floor mats
- Unsafe stairways or steps
- Hidden drop offs or holes
“Slip and fall cases fall under a broader category known as “premises liability,” explains Terry Cochran, senior partner in Cochran, Foley & Associates, PC, a leader in personal liability litigation. “Under the premises liability area of law, property owners and businesses have a duty to provide a safe environment and if they fail to do so, and someone is injured as a result, they may be held liable for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.”
“But you must prove that the property owner knew or should have know about the hazard and that he had a reasonable amount of time to correct the hazard but failed to do so,” says Cochran. “In the case of an overnight winter storm, the property owner may not be liable if a reasonable amount of time to clear the walkway had not passed.”
Slip & Fall laws have undergone several significant changes in Michigan. State Supreme Court and Michigan Appellate Court rulings in recent years have resulted in restrictions being placed on the ability of victims to seek justice.
So if you have suffered been injured by a fall on someone else’s property contact Cochran, Foley & Associates, PC, for a free consultation to determine if the injury is the result of another person’s negligence. Our attorneys will investigate the accident site and obtain the medical records and testimony needed to prove negligence, cause, and specific harm.
Elements of a Slip & Fall Claim
To be successful in making a Slip & Fall claim the victim must have a demonstrable injury. The injury does not have to be serious to file a claim but an injury normally has to be serious to win a judgment. If the injury is mild, make sure you consult with legal consul about the chances of litigating successfully.
To prove a claim, the victim must prove that the dangerous condition on the property was directly responsible for the fall and subsequent injury. As an example, a storeowner may have failed to remove snow from the sidewalk but to establish the owner was at fault it must be shown the snow caused the fall. The successful claimant also will be able to demonstrate that the injury suffered was caused by the specific Slip & Fall incident.
To prove a property owner negligent in Michigan to win a Slip & Fall claim requires:
- Showing that the property owner should have had knowledge of the dangerous condition
- Showing the property owner had the chance to correct the problem causing the fall or give warning of the problem.
- Showing that the property owner negligently failed to give warning or correct the problem.
- Sometimes a property owner can escape responsibility by asserting an “open and obvious doctrine” defense. This defense is based on whether the existence of the hazard was openly visible and seen by the victim before the fall.
Generally the law does not require a property owner to remove ice or snow that accumulates outside the building as a result of weather. But if an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow occurs, than the owner can be liable. And if a snow removal service is employed, the owner can be held liable if negligence can be proved. So many issues are involved with a slip and fall on an icy walkway that an attorney should be hired to review the facts.
“There is no precise formula that can be used to determine when the property owner is responsible if you slip or trip,” says Cochran. “Each case turns on whether the property owner acted carefully so that slipping was unlikely to happen and whether you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the condition that caused your fall. That’s why you must seek the advice of an attorney who can make that determination for you.”
A Guest or Intruder?
Another important issue in a Slip & Fall case is whether the victim was “invited” by the property owner to enter the premises. A business customer is understood to be invited by the owner and therefore must be given a high duty of care. The landowner must inspect his business site for defects periodically to identify and eliminate any risks to customers.
A business owner is expected to take reasonably prompt action to remove defects, eliminate hazards, or post warnings about the existence of a hazard or defect. Failure to do so can constitute negligence.
A property owner has a lesser duty to a licensee. A licensee is someone with limited permission to enter the property, such as a meter reader, mail carrier, newspaper carrier, social guest, firefighter or police officer.
A property owner has a limited duty of care owed to a trespasser. There are obligations, however, if the trespasser is a child or if the property owner set a trap for a trespasser.
The doctrine of “comparative negligence” often applies in slip and fall cases, and that generates another set of issues to be explored by legal counsel. The comparative negligence standard looks at whether the victim had a legitimate reason to be at the place where the hazard existed, if a careful person could have observed and avoided the hazard, if any warnings existed, and if the victim was distracted.
Cochran & Foley will make sure you obtain necessary and timely medical consultation and will help you preserve the valuable evidence about what caused the injury. Cochran & Foley also will make sure the lawsuit is filed on time, which is very important. For instance, if you fall on a sidewalk owned by a municipality then you might have less than 90 days to file a claim.
If you believe you are a slip and fall victim, let Cochran, Foley & Associates fight for your rights. Click here for a free consultation or call 800-322-5543 and ask for Terry Cochran or Lynn Foley.
Cochran and Foley will provide a free consultation, either on the telephone, over the Internet, in person and sometimes at your home or in the hospital room. You will be charged a contingency fee, which means that the attorney will only be paid a fee if a recovery is made. “The purpose of the contingency fee agreement is to provide access to justice, says Cochran. “It would be totally unfair if an injured person was unable to seek compensation because he or she couldn’t afford an attorney.”
The Law Offices of Cochran, Foley & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.