Slip And Fall At Apartment Complex In Michigan: Can I Sue?

Slip And Fall Apartment Complex: What You Need To Know

If you have been injured in a slip and fall at an apartment complex in Michigan, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering as well as other noneconomic and economic damages. If you are a tenant who was injured in your own apartment complex, you may also have a legal cause of action if your landlord breached the terms of your lease by causing your accident and injuries.

Your landlord has a common law duty to keep you safe from dangerous conditions in your apartment complex. If your landlord or the management company failed to take the necessary precautions to prevent your injuries, you can hire a slip and fall attorney to file a premises liability lawsuit on your behalf based on negligence.

After the change to Michigan’s premises liability laws in 2023, landlords and owners of apartment complexes can no longer escape liability for negligence for a slip and fall injury, and as a tenant you now have important new legal rights when property owners fail to use ordinary care to protect you as a tenant or a visitor. 

A landlord also has a statutory legal duty to tenants to keep the common areas in an apartment complex – such as the parking lot, walkways, stairs and sidewalks – “fit” for their intended use. This is a legal duty that your landlord owes to you as the tenant. It is also required to be a part of the terms of your lease. When a landlord fails to use ordinary care or is negligent, and this causes a slip and fall injury, he or she can be sued for compensatory damages.  

The stakes are high in slip and fall apartment complex cases. Often, time is of the essence. Landlords like to “dangle” a low Med-Pay amount that requires an injured tenant to sign release language that bars them from bringing a case for their injuries. Likewise, landlords often demand that tenants give recorded statements that are often used to try to allow the landlord to escape responsibility for the injuries they have caused.  Therefore, it is often critical that you talk to an experienced Michigan slip and fall lawyer to avoid these traps. Our attorneys are here to help you and your family. Call now for a no-cost, no obligation, free consultation.  

Common Causes Of Slip and Fall Accidents in Apartment Complexes

Snow and ice, including black ice, are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents in apartment complexes, but there are several others, including: 

  • Wet and slippery floors – This can occur due to a leak in the apartment common areas, or wet and slippery surfaces in the parking lot, sidewalks, or pool deck.
  • Uneven, broken, and ill-maintained steps and stairs – Broken banisters and railings, uneven or broken steps, and other issues can cause tenants to lose their footing and fall down the steps.
  • Insufficient lighting – Poorly and inadequately lit areas in an apartment building increase the risk of a fall and a serious injury.
  • Potholes and heavily damaged pavements – Potholes and cracked asphalt in driveways, parking lots, and walkways can lead to a trip and fall, especially at night.

Injuries Caused By Slips, Trips And Falls In An Apartment Complex

Slips, trips, and falls in an apartment complex can result in one or more of the following injuries: 

  • Death
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Skull fractures
  • Brain bleeds
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Fractured vertebrae
  • Broken bones
  • Injuries to the eyes, nose, teeth and jaw; and
  • Knee injuries (torn MCL or ACL)
  • Nerve damage
  • Mental trauma
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain 

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that falls are among the leading causes of preventable deaths and injuries, accounting for 20% of preventable injury-related deaths annually and 33% of preventable, non-fatal injuries. They are also the top cause of traumatic brain injuries.

According to the NSC, in 2021 – the most current year for which data is available – slip and falls resulted in approximately 45,000 preventable deaths and nearly 7.1 million preventable, non-fatal injuries. In addition, more than 3 million people 65 and older are treated in hospital emergency departments for slip and fall injuries every year, according to the CDC.

In Michigan, the Michigan Department of Community Health reports that falls are the second leading cause of fatal injuries, and the numbers have been rising for the last 11 years. In 2021 alone, there were 1,542 fall-related deaths in Michigan.

Are Landlords and Property Owners Liable?

In Michigan, landlords and property owners will be held liable for a slip and fall in an apartment complex when you can show that: (1) they had possession and control over the area on the property where your fall occurred, and (2) they failed to “exercise reasonable care” to protect you from a dangerous condition.

When the landlord’s or the property owner’s failure to protect you from an unreasonable risk of harm from a hazardous condition in the apartment complex, they have breached their legal duty to you.

Based on their breach of duty and the injuries that the breach caused you to suffer, they may be held legally liable to compensate you for pain and suffering, your medical bills, lost income because you can’t work, and other economic damages after a slip and fall accident at an apartment complex.

Changes In Slip And Fall Law In Michigan

For nearly twenty years in Michigan, property owners could escape responsibility for slip and fall injuries. That is no longer the case.

In 2023, this changed.  The Michigan Supreme Court issued two opinions (Kandil-Elsayed v. F&E Oil and Pinsky v. Kroger of Michigan) requiring property owners to take reasonable care to protect invitees, i.e., customers and people doing business with the owners, against “the hazards of the natural accumulation of ice and snow on the property.”

There are several factors courts will consider in determining whether a property owner breached this duty, including:

  • What measures did the property owner take to keep invitees safe? 
  • Were the measures reasonable?
  • How long after the accumulation of snow and ice did the property owner take measures to reduce the hazardous condition?
  • Was it a reasonable amount of time?
  • What time did it start snowing?
  • Had the snow stopped at the time of the victim’s slip and fall?

Can you sue your landlord for breach of contract?

In Michigan, you may be able to sue your landlord for breach of contract for your slip and fall in a common area of your apartment complex if your landlord failed to keep that area “fit” for its intended use. Under MCL 554.139(1)(a), this is a duty your landlord owes to you as a tenant as a term of your lease.

Failure to keep the common areas in your apartment complex fit for their intended use is a breach of both your landlord’s statutory duty and their lease with you. Because a lease is a contract, failure to maintain the fitness of the apartment complexes common areas is a breach of contract.

Unlike a common law premises liability claim which is based on negligence and allows a slip and fall victim to recover pain and suffering compensation and other noneconomic and economic damages, recovery on a claim brought under MCL 554.139(1)(a) is exclusively limited to the remedies permitted for breach of contract, such as compensatory damages which may include expectation or consequential damages. 

A claim for breach of contract as a result of a slip and fall at an apartment complex can only be brought by a tenant of the complex. Non-tenants are not owed a duty under the statute.

Critical Steps To Take For Filing A Claim After A Slip And Fall Injury At An Apartment Complex

After a slip and fall injury at your apartment complex, you should talk to an experienced lawyer right away. In the meantime, there are important steps you need to take to ensure a successful claim. Following these steps allows you to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more. These steps include:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Gather witness contact information.
  • Talk to an experienced slip and fall lawyer about your legal rights and what possible traps, such as signing early release language, you must avoid to have a successful claim.
  • Document the scene (take photos, videos, etc.) or have someone do so immediately on your behalf.
  • Report your fall to the property owner, file a report, and get a copy.

To learn more, here are the 7 steps on what to do after a slip and fall accident. 

Should I Hire A Lawyer?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall in an apartment complex, you should discuss your case with an experienced slip and fall lawyer who has the specialized knowledge to help you protect your legal rights and recover the compensation and economic damages you’re entitled to.

Hiring a lawyer as soon as possible will ensure your legal team has the opportunity to gather time-sensitive evidence, such as surveillance footage, reports, witness statements, and more. 

Your lawyer will conduct an investigation into how the negligent property owner and landlord allowed a dangerous condition to exist on their property that posed a risk to you and others. Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyers is the only law firm in the entire state of Michigan that specializes exclusively in helping people who have suffered slip and fall injuries in apartment complexes. Hiring a lawyer who understands this complex area of law is critical to helping you to recover the compensation and money damages you deserve.

Injured in a slip and fall accident at an apartment complex? Call an experienced lawyer now!

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of a slip and fall accident at an apartment complex in Michigan or anywhere in the U.S., our lawyers can help. The attorneys at Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyers will fight to get the best possible legal settlement for you and your family.

No matter what state your slip and fall accident at a apartment complex occurred in, we can be there for you. 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.