Navigating Slip and Fall Cases: Michigan’s Changing Legal Landscape

In Michigan, as in many states, slip and fall accidents are a common occurrence, often resulting in injuries ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures. These incidents can happen anywhere – from icy sidewalks outside businesses to poorly maintained floors within establishments. With the potential for significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences, understanding the latest developments in personal injury law regarding slip and fall cases is crucial for both victims and property owners.

One significant legal concept is known as “comparative negligence,” which has implications for both plaintiffs and defendants in slip and fall claims.

Under Michigan law, comparative negligence allows for the allocation of fault between parties involved in an accident. In slip and fall cases, this means that if a plaintiff is found partially responsible for their injuries due to contributory negligence, their compensation may be reduced proportionally. An injured party found to be more than 50% responsible for his or her injuries will be barred from recovery under Michigan Law. This legal principle underscores the need for thorough investigation and documentation to establish liability and mitigate potential liability for plaintiffs.

Recent legal developments in Michigan have brought about noteworthy changes in how slip and fall cases are handled, emphasizing the importance of premises liability and the duty of care owed by property owners to visitors. For instance, until recently, the legal doctrine of “open and obvious” played a significant role in slip and fall cases in Michigan. This doctrine has been used by property owners as a defense to avoid liability for injuries sustained by visitors on their premises when the danger giving rise to the injury was “open and obvious” to a reasonable person, such as the presence of ice during a heavy snowstorm. The doctrine held that property owners were not responsible for warning or protecting visitors from such dangers, with some exceptions. If a judge held a danger to be “open and obvious,” then often injury cases were dismissed before even coming before a jury at trial.

However, the Michigan Supreme Court recently overturned this doctrine in the case of Kandil-Elsayed v F & E Oil, Inc and Pinsky v Kroger of Michigan. The Court ruled that even when dangers are open and obvious, premises owners will still need to exercise reasonable care to warn and/or protect visitors from unreasonable risk of harm. This means that more injury claims will proceed to trial and thus make it to a jury. This is good news for injured victims seeking restitution for injuries in the State of Michigan.

For slip and fall victims, seeking legal guidance from experienced attorneys is paramount in pursuing fair compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An attorney knowledgeable in Michigan’s personal injury laws can assess the circumstances of the accident, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, litigate the case in court to secure the best possible outcome for the plaintiff. Contact us today to discuss your case!