How To File A Slip And Fall Claim In Michigan In 7 Steps

How To File A Slip And Fall Claim In Michigan

The first step to filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan is filing an incident report with the property owner as soon as you can after you’ve been injured. Filing an incident report is not required but it provides critical proof that your slip and fall actually occurred when you said it did. This is very important if the property owner tries to deny the accident ever happened. 

Once your accident is documented, the next step is determining the nature and extent of your injuries. 

Finally, if you are thinking about filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan, it is very important to hire a lawyer who can preserve critical evidence, such as surveillance videos and witnesses to your fall, before they disappear.  A lawyer can investigate the causes of your accident and hire key experts to help establish responsibility against the negligent property owner.  

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than three million people are treated annually for slip and fall injuries. The injuries resulting from such falls are serious and potentially fatal.

In order to preserve your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation and economic damages after you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is crucial that you understand how to file a claim.

7 steps to take to file a slip and fall claim in Michigan

  • File an incident report immediately
  • Gather evidence about what caused your slip and fall
  • Seek medical attention
  • Hire an attorney to file the lawsuit
  • File a notice to preserve evidence
  • File your Michigan slip and fall claim  
  • Conduct discovery to gather evidence from the property owner

Seeking medical treatment and notifying appropriate parties of your injury are important first steps in the process of filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan. In addition, it’s important to document the conditions that caused your slip and fall, as well as your injuries, get contact information from any witnesses, and preserve any evidence in your control, such as the clothing you were wearing when you were injured.

The most important next step to filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you preserve your rights and seek compensation. Once you’ve secured legal representation, your lawyer will begin a legal investigation into the causes of your accident.  He or she will begin the pre-lawsuit discovery process and will send preservation letters to the property owner that provides legal notice to preserve evidence. Many cases can be successfully and fairly resolved without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, but if settlement negotiations are not productive, or if there are additional parties or other complicating factors that make a lawsuit necessary, a personal injury lawsuit is then filed on your behalf.  

Here are more details about each of the steps in the process for filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan: 

File an incident report immediately

When filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan, the importance of this step cannot be overstated because if this step is missed it can negatively impact the outcome of your case. If, because of your injuries, you are unable to file an incident report immediately, at least try to do so as soon as possible or ask a friend or loved one to file an incident report on your behalf.  

If you leave the Michigan business, store or company where you fell without filing an incident report, the property owner, and later the insurance claims adjuster and defense attorney to the case, will use the absence of an incident report to dispute your claim. Often, they will insist your fall never occurred and your slip and fall and your injuries are “made up.” Talk to the property owner or manager immediately and file an incident report documenting the time and place of your fall, the cause and your injuries. Insist on getting a copy of your incident report before you leave the premises. 

Gather evidence about what caused your slip and fall

As quickly as possible after your fall, you need to take pictures or video of what the accident scene looks like at the time you fell. Your goal is to gather proof of the condition that caused your injuries. This could be a wet floor, broken or icy pavement, the spill of a clear liquid product, or damaged flooring or carpet. The key to filing a successful slip and fall claim in Michigan is to act fast before the property owner can alter or clean up the dangerous condition or eliminate it altogether.  

Additionally, it’s essential that you get the names and contact information of witnesses as well as their statements about where, when, and how your slip and fall accident occurred. 

Seek medical treatment

It is important to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. A prompt diagnosis and treatment plan is essential to helping you fully recover from your injuries. It is also important to document your injuries so you can receive full and fair compensation for them. This critical step in how to file a slip and fall claim provides proof linking your injuries and medical condition to the Michigan slip and fall accident you suffered. Be sure to document your injuries and be aware of any new symptoms that present in the days that follow. Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s recommendations and orders, and never miss medical appointments (without giving notice and rescheduling).

Hire an experienced Michigan attorney to file the slip and fall claim

The best slip and fall attorney to hire to file your lawsuit is the Michigan lawyer with the experience, specialized knowledge and skill to get you the best possible settlement for compensation and economic damages that reflects the true value of your claim. 

Look for an attorney with a track record of successful settlements and trial verdicts. Your attorney should have extensive experience litigating these types of cases. Also, it’s also important to know that your attorney’s specialized knowledge in the area of slip and fall law is valued by other lawyers, based on demand for your attorney to teach lawyers at legal conferences and seminars across the country. A Michigan lawyer with these credentials will know how to file a slip and fall claim to get you the best possible result.

Many personal injury lawyers claim they handle slip and fall cases. But you don’t want a “dabbler” in these cases. You want to find the best attorney for your slip and fall claim. That comes down to two important things that, fortunately, can be measured: the experience of your lawyer with these cases, and his or her settlement and trial results.  

Always try to go online to search for a good personal injury attorney and read reviews about them.  

When choosing the right Michigan slip and fall lawyer to file your claim it is important to schedule a free consultation. When you meet with the attorney, be prepared to ask key questions such as how long he or she has been handling slip and fall cases and whether he or she has a track record of success. Be prepared to share important information about your injury and your accident with the attorney. Finding the right attorney is crucial to the success of your case.

File a notice to preserve evidence

A notice to preserve evidence – which is sometimes called a spoliation letter – is sent to the property owner or manager, requiring them to preserve any and all evidence related to your slip and fall on their property. In other words, your notice will prevent or otherwise stop the property owner or manager from destroying the evidence you will need to prove your claim – i.e., the evidence that proves their negligence. This part of the process for filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan will normally be handled by your experienced slip and fall lawyer. 

In slip and fall cases, the notice to preserve may request the preservation of various types of evidence, including:

  • Incident reports: If the property owner or person in charge of the property created an incident report, the notice may request the preservation of this document.
  • Witness statements: If there were witnesses, the notice may request that their statements be preserved, either in written or recorded form.
  • Video surveillance footage: If the property has surveillance or other cameras, the notice may request that any relevant footage be preserved.
  • Photos and/or videos: When filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan, if there is any visual evidence, whether taken by the injured party, witnesses, or the property owner, the notice may request that such evidence be preserved.
  • Maintenance records: If the injury was caused by a hazardous condition, the notice may request the preservation of maintenance records to establish whether the property owner or someone else in charge was aware of the dangerous condition.
  • Employment Files: The employment files that the property owner keeps about its employees will help to identify which employees were on duty and in the area at the time of your slip and fall, as well as their duties, and any involvement and/or disciplinary actions that have been taken against them for previous slip and fall injuries due to dangerous conditions on the premises.
  • Inspection records, safety protocols and meetings: This information will show how often – if at all – the premises where your fall occurred have been inspected for safety purposes. The information will also include details about the property owner’s rules and regulations for keeping the premises safe and its efforts to conduct safety meetings with employees to keep them informed and up-to-date. 

Sending a notice to preserve evidence is a precautionary step in the process of filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan to ensure that all relevant evidence is maintained for the duration of the lawsuit. Failing to preserve evidence could seriously harm your chances to win the case. Notices to preserve evidence are typically time-sensitive, so they need to be sent expeditiously. Your attorney can guide you in this area.

File your slip and fall claim

When it’s time to file your Michigan case, one of the most important steps in the process for how to file a slip and fall claim is to know when and where to file it. Depending on the nature of your slip and fall case, there are certain time limitations to be aware of. There is the statute of limitations, which in Michigan is 3 years from the date of your slip and fall accident. But there are also “notice of intent to sue” requirements which mean that if you’re going to sue a city, county or state governmental agency, then you need to tell them within a certain, specified period of time – otherwise, you will be blocked from suing even if there is still time left before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Finally, determining “venue,” i.e., the county circuit court in which your case must or should be filed, can be a complicated decision with serious consequences, such as being assigned to a judge who tends to rule more leniently in favor of property owners. 

Conduct discovery to gather evidence from the property owner

“Discovery” is an important part of the process for filing a slip and fall claim that occurs after a lawsuit has been filed but before the trial. The purpose of discovery is to allow both parties to gather information from each other and from third parties to ensure that everyone is aware of the facts and evidence that are important to your case. There are several methods used in discovery, including:

  • Interrogatories: Interrogatories are written questions you might send to another party which must be answered in writing and under oath. They are designed to gather basic details and other information.
  • Requests for Production of Documents: This request asks the opposing party to provide relevant documents, including accident reports, maintenance records, witness statements, photos and videos, and more (any of the things you might include in a notice to preserve evidence).
  • Requests for Admissions: These are statements sent to the opposing party, requesting them to admit or deny certain facts under oath. This can help streamline the issues to be tried by eliminating matters about which there is no real dispute.
  • Subpoenas: A subpoena is a legal document ordering someone to appear in court or to produce specific documents.
  • Depositions: A deposition provides your attorney with an opportunity to ask the other party and witnesses questions face-to-face and record the responses. They help the attorneys assess what witnesses might say in court and how they will present themselves.
  • Physical or Mental Examinations: Sometimes a party might request that the other party undergo a physical or mental examination to verify the extent and nature of any claimed injuries.

Discovery can be a lengthy and complex part of the process for filing a slip and fall claim in Michigan, often taking several months to complete. The information gathered during discovery is used to build your case, negotiate settlements, and prepare for trial. It also encourages settlements by making the property owners and managers realize you are aware of and in possession of evidence that shows how their negligence caused your injuries. 

Injured in a slip and fall accident and need help filing your claim? Call an experienced lawyer now!

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of a slip and fall accident in Michigan and you need help filing your claim our lawyers can help. The attorneys at Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyers are here to help you and your family fight to get the best possible legal settlement for you and your family. Call now for a no-cost, no obligation, free consultation with one of our experienced slip and fall lawyers to discuss your legal rights under the law to pain and suffering compensation and to money damages to help you and your family pay your medical bills and make up for the wages you’ve lost because your injuries have disabled you from working. To speak with us about your injury, call us now, or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.