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Understanding Slip and Falls on Private Property

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Understanding Slip and Falls on Private Property

You may be able to recover pain and suffering compensation as well as money damages after you were injured in a slip and fall accident on private property. A property owner who fails to make premises safe from dangerous conditions can be held legally liable for the injuries and damages that result from their negligence, whether an injury occurs on private property or not.  

The attorneys at Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyers are ready to help you get full compensation for your injuries regardless of where your accident occurred. Our nationally recognized team of attorneys who specialize exclusively in slip and fall cases fight for our clients in Michigan and all over the country. If the private property where you were injured is located outside Michigan, we will join forces with the best lawyers in your state to either represent you with co-counsel or we can connect you with a top slip and fall lawyer close to you who we know has the experience to help you. Our role is to get you the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.    

Definition of Private Property

Private property in Michigan refers to land or buildings owned by individuals or businesses. If you suffer a personal injury as a result of a dangerous condition on another person’s property, then the case falls under premises liability laws of the state in which your accident occurred.

Private property can include businesses, grocery stores, big-box stores, malls, gyms, health clubs and restaurants – as well as parking lots at any of these locations. 

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents on Private Property

Common causes of a slip and fall on private property in Michigan include:

  • Snow and ice accumulation
  • Cracked pavement
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Wet floors 
  • Loose or missing handrails
  • Torn or loose carpeting 
  • Foreign objects in your path 

Types of Private Properties

There is no legal distinction between commercial and residential property in Michigan for purposes of the state’s premises liability laws. Common examples of private property include:

  • Retail stores
  • Shopping malls
  • Grocery stores 
  • Factories 
  • Restaurants 
  • Office buildings 
  • Single-family homes
  • Condos/townhomes
  • Farms

Determining Liability in Private Property Slip and Fall Accidents

There are three major issues that come into play when determining a private property owner’s liability for slip and fall accidents and injuries on their premises. These issues are:

  1. Establishing that the property owner had possession and control over the property where the dangerous condition that caused your slip and fall accident is located
  2. Establishing whether you are a customer of the property owner, a social guest of the owner, or whether you are a “trespasser” – because your “status” will determine what duty of care if any the property owner owes to you.
  3. Whether the property owner breached his or her duty of care to you, such as if you’re an invitee and the owner failed to protect you from dangerous conditions on the property by making the premises safe 

Proving Negligence

To prove negligence for a slip and fall on private property in Michigan, you must show that the property owner owed you a duty of care, that the property owner breached that duty (e.g., the property owner failed to make the premises safe for people like you who were invited onto the property to do business with the owner), that the property owner’s breach of his or her duty caused your accident and your injuries and damages.  

One of the benefits of working with an experienced slip and fall attorney is that he or she will help you seek and recover the full compensation that you are legally entitled to. Without an attorney, you could leave the money you are owed on the table.

Private Property Owner's Duty of Care

The duty of care that a private property owner owes to a slip and fall victim depends on whether the victim’s legal “status” is that of an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser. The private property owner’s duty of care for an invitee is different from the duty of care for a licensee or for a trespasser.

Here is information about the different legal statuses of slip and fall victims:

  • Invitee – An invitee is a person whom the property owner has invited onto the property for the owner’s “commercial benefit” or for the purpose of “business dealings” with the owner. (M Civ JI 19.01)  In its 2000 decision in Stitt v. Holland, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that a slip and fall victim’s “invitee” status “must be founded on a commercial purpose for visiting the owner’s premises.”
  • Licensee – A licensee is a person whom the property owner has invited onto the property “for any purpose other than a business or commercial one.” (M Civ JI 19.01) A social guest is an example of a licensee.
  • Trespasser – A trespasser is a person who enters on another person’s property without the owner’s invitation or consent and for the trespasser’s own purposes. (M Civ JI 19.01)

Here is information about the different duties of care that a private property owner may owe to a slip and fall victim:

  • Duty of care owed to invitees – A property owner has “a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect an invitee from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition of the land.” (M Civ JI 19.03) This means that a property owner must “make the premises safe” – as required by the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in Stitt v. Holland – by: (1) inspecting the premises, (2) making necessary repairs, and (3) warn invitees about known dangers and discovered hazards.
  • Duty of care owed to licensees – A property owner has a duty to warn licensees of dangers known to the property owner but that are unknown to the licensee. that the licensee is not likely to discover on his or her own. (M Civ JI 19.06) In its 2000 decision in Stitt v. Holland, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that a property owner “owes no duty of inspection or affirmative care to make the premises safe for the licensee’s visit.”
  • Duty of care owed to trespassers – Generally, a property owner owes no duty of care to a trespasser except that a property owner must refrain from injuring a trespasser by willful and wanton misconduct. (M Civ JI 19.07; MCL 554.583(2)(a))

Legal Rights and Compensation for Slip and Fall Victims

Slip and fall victims have legal rights to seek compensation and money damages from the negligent property owner who caused their accident and their resulting injuries.

The compensation and money damages that can be recovered in a slip and fall lawsuit will compensate or reimburse you for:

  • Pain and suffering: This includes your physical pain and suffering, your mental anguish, fright and shock that you experience, the denial and loss of your social pleasures and enjoyments, and the embarrassment, humiliation and mortification you feel. (M Civ JI 50.02)
  • Medical expenses: This covers your bills for all your medical care and treatment, such as your emergency room visit, your hospitalization, your doctor appointments, diagnostic tests, procedures, surgeries, rehabilitation, attendant care and transportation costs for traveling to and from your medical appointments.
  • Lost income: If you had to miss work due to your injuries, you can file for lost wages. Depending on your injuries and your medical prognosis, you may also be able to file a claim for future wages that you might have earned had your fall injuries not disabled you from working. 

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim

The statute of limitations for a slip and fall accident is three years from the date of your private property accident to file for damages. If the victim is a minor at the time of the accident and the statute of limitations will expire before he or she turns 18, then the victim will have 1 year from his or her 18th birthday to file suit. Failure to file within the statute of limitations will cut off your legal right to sue and you will be forever barred from holding the negligent property owner accountable. 

Hiring a Slip and Fall Attorney in Michigan

Suffering an injury from a slip and fall accident on private property can be devastating. To ensure you get the justice and compensation you deserve, it’s critical to hire an attorney who specializes exclusively in slip and fall premises liability cases. 

Our accomplished lawyers intimately understand the nuances of relevant laws, they have deep knowledge of local court systems, and they leverage their expertise from past cases to build the strongest possible arguments on your behalf. Our experienced slip and fall attorneys take on the heavy lifting so you can focus on recovery, providing invaluable guidance and advocating tirelessly to maximize your chances of a successful outcome. Most importantly, our team can offer peace of mind that your case is in exceptionally capable hands.

Injured in a slip and fall on private property? Call now!

We never take a fee unless you win. No matter where your slip and fall on private property occurs, we can help. For cases that occur outside of Michigan, our nationally recognized attorneys who specialize exclusively in slip and fall litigation will co-counsel with the best premises liability lawyers throughout the country. We can also help connect you with a truly experienced slip and fall lawyer who shares the same high professional and ethical standards that we do. 

Call us now [text] for a free, no-cost, no-obligation, consultation with one of our experienced slip and fall lawyers after your slip and fall on private property. We will answer all of your questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation and to money damages to help you with medical bills and lost wages and earnings.

There is no cost or obligation for this free consultation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.

Frequently Asked Questions About Slip and Falls on Private Property

Here we address the questions that people most frequently ask. We hope our answers are helpful to you and your family. However, if you still have additional questions or questions we have not answered, we hope you will reach out to us. You can call us anytime for a free consultation.

Can you sue if you fall on private property?

Michigan’s law allows you to sue for your injuries suffered in a slip and fall accident on private property. You may be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering as well as money damages to pay your medical bills and to support your family while you’re off work due to your injuries.

I fell and got hurt on someone's private property. Do I have a case?

You may have a case if you prove the property owner was negligent. To show that the property owner’s negligence caused your injuries, you will need to show that he or she breached his or her duty to protect customers like you from dangerous conditions on the property.

How can I prove the property owner was negligent in my slip and fall case?

You must show that the property owner failed to exercise reasonable care to protect customers like you from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition on the property and, thus, the property owner failed to make the premises safe for customers like you. 

What should I do if the private property owner denies responsibility for my fall?

You should contact one of the experienced attorneys at Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyers. Our lawyers specialize exclusively in handling slip and fall cases. We will fight to get you full compensation from the negligent property owner and to win the best possible settlement in your case. 

Get a Free Consultation With A Slip and Fall Lawyer Now

To speak with an experienced attorney about your case, call us now or fill out our contact form for a free consultation. There is absolutely no cost or obligation. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can answer all your legal questions about Michigan’s slip and fall law and explain how we can make the law work for you.

 

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