Michigan Slip And Fall Accident Attorney
Most of us have fallen at some point in our lives, whether due to our clumsiness or because of some hazard—like a poorly placed object or slippery floor. While most falls are minor and may result in a simple bump or bruise, sometimes, they can result in life-changing injuries. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), injuries sustained in accidental falls account for approximately 8.9 million ER visits each year. When these accidents occur because of the negligence of a property owner or some other neglectful party, victims may eligible for compensation for their injuries with the help of one of our Michigan slip and fall accident lawyers. If you or a loved one has had an accident in Southfield, please visit our Southfield slip and fall accident page for more information.
Common Causes of Detroit Trip and Fall Accidents
There are many reasons that a trip and fall accident may occur, some of which may implicate negligence on the part of the party liable for the accident. Some of the most common causes of trip and fall accidents include the following:
- Debris on floors
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Uneven stairs
- Inadequate lighting
- Cracked pavement
- Uneven flooring
- Torn carpet
- Lack of handrails
- Holes in flooring
- Poorly placed fixtures
- Unmarked step-downs
Not all trip and fall accidents are caused by negligence, and it is essential to have a slip and fall attorney review the facts of your case to determine whether you have a claim. Other issues that may be relevant to your case include: whether you fell on commercial or private property, whether the condition was caused by a natural process if you contributed to the accident, as well as others.
What Accidents Constitute As A Slip And Fall?
The answer to this question is both complicated and simple at the same time. Simply, any slip and fall, resulting in an injury that occurred on someone else’s property because of negligence are considered a valid slip and fall claim. To be more precise, for a slip and fall to be a valid personal injury claim, the fall must have occurred because of an unsafe condition or hazard. Slipping and falling over your own feet out of clumsiness will be a hard case to prove.
Likewise, not only must there have been a hazard present, but the landowner or manager must have also caused the unsafe condition or allowed it to persist. This second point is necessary for your ‘accident to count as a slip and fall because of the legal idea known as duty of care. Briefly, this precedent states that landowners have a reasonable duty to keep invited occupants safe on their property. When an owner does not take steps to make their property reasonably safe, they have acted negligently and the slip and fall claim moves closer toward valid.
However, with the wide use of cameras, nearly every slip and fall on commercial property is recorded on camera. This can be crucial in making or breaking a slip and fall claim. If the video shows that the hazard was there for a decent length of time before the incident, there is a good chance the property manager knew or should have known about the danger. As soon as a landowner or manager knows of a hazard, they have a duty to either remedy the situation or at least alert people nearby. This is why you will often see “CAUTION” signs or cones in stores.
Is My Injury Severe Enough To Need A Slip And Fall Lawyer?
Pursuing any type of personal injury case, but especially a slip and fall case can be a hassle. Because of this, it’s worth considering how serious your injuries are before deciding to go through with a slip and fall claim. Attempting to seek damages from the property owner’s insurance company will almost be time-consuming, stressful, and costly.
Before making a slip and fall claim, consider whether the injury you received is worth the trouble. If you only incurred a few bruises or a scraped knee, it’s probably not worth pursuing. However, if you hit your head, tore something in your back, or broke a bone, then your injury is severe enough to consider pursuing.
Slip and fall accidents are not easy cases. But that doesn’t mean you should let someone get away with negligence while you foot the bill. If you think your case qualifies as a slip and fall, or just aren’t sure, contact the experienced Michigan slip and fall lawyers at Haque Legal. We offer a FREE consultation where we can answer your questions and clear up these complicated issues.
What If The Property Owner Claims They Aren’t Liable?
It’s common for a property owner (or more likely their insurance company or attorney) to argue that your fall was either entirely your fault or partially your fault, especially in Michigan, because there are comparative fault laws.
If the defendant argues that they are not at fault at all, then negligence and liability will be examined by your attorney and challenged within the court. More likely, however, is that the defendant will claim that you are partially responsible for your injuries. This is a common tactic when the defendant knows that they are at fault, but wants to lessen the amount they will have to pay. If this tactic is successful, the amount you are deemed to be liable for is directly correlated to the amount of compensation you will receive.
Some examples a defendant may use to claim that you are partially responsible for your fall are:
- You weren’t watching where you were going (for example, while texting)
- You were wearing inappropriate or unsafe footwear
- You were in an unauthorized area of the store or property
- You didn’t heed a posted warning sign
- You should have noticed the hazard and avoided it
Some of these examples may sound silly or trivial, but insurance companies and defense attorneys will go to great lengths to reduce their liability.
Under Michigan’s comparative negligence law, any damages awarded will be reduced according to the percentage that the injured was responsible for the accident. If a jury finds that you were 10% responsible for your fall, then you will only be entitled to 90% of the damages. Therefore, if they award $10,000, you will only receive $9,000. This direct percentage comparison is where the comparative negligence comes from. Even if your case doesn’t go to court, it’s likely that the negotiating attorney will use the same principle to reduce the agreed-upon settlement amount.
Injuries Caused by a Slip Trip and Fall
Sprains and Fractures – Although most sprains and fractures are not serious injuries, some of these afflictions can cause significant damage. When any bone is broken or muscles are torn, there can be permanent damage that may affect the patient for a long time. When a person loses feeling or control of a body part, or when a fracture causes infection or other complications, the results can be severe.
Shoulder Injuries – The nature of a slip and fall injury creates severe consequences for a victim’s shoulder. When a person falls, they naturally move their arm to catch their body; it’s an involuntary reaction. This may save the body from particular harm, but it can be brutal on the arm and shoulder. This jolt can cause a shoulder dislocation, tear of the muscle, or fracture to the bones in that area. Further, one may cause damage to their brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves that control your hands, arms, and shoulders. The damaging of these nerves can cause life-long injuries, affecting the way the hand and arm function. If you’ve ever tried to live your life without one arm (perhaps while living with a cast or sling), you know how difficult and draining this can be.
Hip Fractures – According to the CDC, more than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. If a person slips and falls and fractures their hip, especially if they’re older, things can get devastating, fast. These injuries can cause victims to be bedridden for long periods, which is terrible news for the elderly. According to the University of Michigan, elderly adults can lose 20% of their muscle mass for every week they’re in bed; recovering from hip surgery can take months. A fracture can be a much bigger deal than some assume. One out of five hip fracture patients die within a year of their injury; this tragedy is an effect of being bedridden more than from the fracture itself.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries – When a person falls, often their footing comes out from under them, causing a “head-over-heals” type motion. Once the body comes in contact with the hard floor or steps, the back can be severely injured. After all, the spine and accompanying nerves are delicate and cannot tolerate such force. Disc herniation, spinal fractures, and nerve damage, all possible results of a slip and fall, can be severely painful and debilitating conditions that will likely cause the victim problems for a lifetime. If you experienced this type of injury in Southfield, please reach out to our spinal cord injury lawyers in Southfield to review your case.
Brain Injuries – Traumatic brain injury is one of the most severe types of injuries a person can endure. According to the CDC, a majority of TBIs are caused by slip and fall injuries. As mentioned earlier, the ‘head over heels’ type motion that happens when you slip can easily create the conditions for a victim to land on their head. These injuries are almost guaranteed to change a person’s life. When someone suffers a head injury from a slip and fall, they’re often left with no choice but to seek compensation to help them with what is sure to be extensive hospital bills and missed work. Thankfully, our Southfield brain injury attorneys are equipped to handle this as well.
Contact a Michigan Slip and Fall Attorney Today
Slip and fall accidents can result in significant medical expenses and lost income, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. These and other losses may be compensable by filing a Michigan personal injury claim. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Detroit trip and fall lawyers, call our office today at (248-996-9954). If you would like to send our office an email, please fill out the contact form available on the right side of this page.