Slip, Trip and Fall
Slip, Trip, and Fall Attorneys
Key Elements to Prove in a Slip and Fall Accident Claim
The key elements that must be proved in a slip-and-fall claim include:
Duty of Care
The first thing you need to prove in a slip and fall case is that you were on the property lawfully – either as an invitee (for a commercial purpose) or as a licensee (for a non-commercial purpose) and that the property owner in question owed you a duty of care.
Another critical element is to prove that the condition in question was the proximate or primary cause of the slip and fall accident.
The third key element in a slip and fall accident claim is to prove that the negligence of the property owner caused a physical injury.
Actual or Constructive Notice
The final and most important element to be proved in a slip and fall case is that the property owner had actual notice or constructive notice about the defective or dangerous condition that caused the accident. Actual notice means the property owner was aware of the condition in question. Constructive notice, on the other hand, means that the condition was present for a sufficiently long period of time that any reasonable person should have known about it.
Proving actual notice can be generally difficult in slip-and-fall cases, as no party at fault would voluntarily admit their own negligence. Unless you have surveillance camera footage or evidence of an accident caused by the same exact condition in the past, you may find it difficult to prove that the owner was aware of the condition.
Proving constructive notice, on the contrary, can be relatively easier, as you only need to prove that the amount of time the condition existed on the property was sufficient for any reasonable person to take notice of it.
Common Types of Slip and Fall Injuries
- Wrist and ankle sprains
- Ligament and tendon tears
- Broken bones (hip fractures in particular)
- Injuries to the neck and back
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Damages You Can Recover in a Michigan Slip and Fall Injury Claim
Depending on the severity of your fall injuries, you might be able to seek compensation for the following damages from the negligent property owner.
- Accident-related medical expenses
- Estimated cost of future medical treatment and care you might need
- Rehabilitation expenses (physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychotherapy)
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity (if your ability to work is affected due to a physical or cognitive disability)
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The successful slip and fall accident lawyers at The Lobb Law Firm have over 50 years of combined experience in handling personal injury cases – including fall accidents, slip and trip accidents, and other premises liability-related cases.
Our Michigan personal injury lawyers can accurately determine the extent of economic and non-economic damages you have suffered, maximize the value of your claim to the extent possible, and negotiate aggressively with the insurance company to get you the restitution you deserve. Request your free case evaluation with our Michigan slip and fall accident attorneys today.
Defenses Used by Negligent Parties in Slip and Fall Cases
The at-fault party might claim that they had no knowledge of the defective condition that caused the accident.
Open and Obvious
It’s by far the most common defense used by at-fault parties in slip-and-fall accidents. The at-fault party might argue that the defective condition in question was so out in the open and so obvious that any reasonably intelligent person could have noticed it and avoided it.
There are two circumstances under which the open and obvious defense cannot be used by a property owner. These include:
- If the condition in question was unreasonably dangerous, the owner of the property can be held liable, regardless of other factors. For example, a crater-sized hole in a parking lot might be open and obvious, but it still poses an unreasonable danger to everyone.
- If the condition in question was effectively unavoidable, the owner can be held liable. For example, if there is a dangerous condition in the common area of an apartment complex, the owner has a duty to fix it – no matter how open and obvious the condition might be. This is because the tenants – as well as other people who might visit the apartment from time to time – might have to access the common area and might not be able to avoid it altogether.
The at-fault party might claim that you were negligent in your own right and were partly at fault for the accident. While this defense does not absolve the at-fault party of their duty of care towards you, it can significantly reduce your settlement – thanks to Michigan’s comparative negligence laws, under which your compensation can be reduced in proportion to the extent to which you were at fault for the accident.
Outstanding and proven slip-and-fall lawyers can counter these defenses, establish the property owner’s negligence or another at-fault party’s liability, and make sure you are adequately compensated for your severe injuries and losses.
For instance, if the property owners claim that they had no idea that the defective condition existed on their property, your personal injury lawyer can prove that they had actual or constructive notice with the help of evidence like surveillance camera footage, statements from people who witnessed the accident, and incident reports filed at the property by injury victims in the past.
Similarly, if the negligent party tries to unfairly blame you for the accident, just so they can get away with paying a fraction of what you are actually owed, your slip and fall lawyer can prove their liability and the extent to which they were responsible for the accident and get you the fair settlement you deserve.