Do you know what to do after a slip and fall accident in Michigan? Experienced lawyers, drawing on decades of experience, have created a list of the 7 most important steps after an injury has occurred.
You will see that many of these tips for what to do after a slip and fall accident in Michigan are extremely time- sensitive. If you have any questions, or if you have questions about your own legal rights to recover compensation and money damages for your medical bills or lost wages if you’ve been injured, call us for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.
What to do after a slip and fall accident in Michigan
- Identify where and how you fell
- Explain why the hazard wasn’t seen
- Comply with notice requirements
- File an incident report immediately
- Expect to still be blamed
- Document and preserve the scene
- Talk to a lawyer before the adjuster
Identify where and how you fell
After a slip and fall accident in Michigan you will need to identify the exact location of your fall and exactly what it was that caused you to fall. This is one of the most important things for you to do if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall to have a successful recovery. Premises liability victims, which includes trip and fall and slip and fall victims, must be able to identify both the exact location of the fall and the cause of the fall in order to hold a premises owners or maintenance personnel successfully responsible.
This requires a slip and fall victim to be able to identify what caused the event to occur. Your lawyer will need this to show what the premises owner or the property maintenance personnel did wrong, or what they failed to do, that caused the Michigan slip and fall accident or trip and fall accident to occur. Remember, simply having a fall on a property that is owned by another person or a business is not enough to trigger compensation for your slip and fall injuries if you can’t show what they did wrong.
An experienced premises liability attorney can help you to identify what the property owner did wrong (or chose not to do). For example, there are often important safety code violations that business and property owners choose to ignore that a lawyer can quickly identify but that most ordinary people would never know about.
Time matters. Identifying the location and cause of your fall must be done as soon as possible. If you are too hurt or if you are hospitalized and cannot do this right away, make sure to at least call an experienced slip and fall attorney who can visit the scene, send investigators and photographers out right away, and who can track down store surveillance video and eyewitnesses. A lawyer can also put the premises owner on notice.
Explain why the hazard wasn’t seen
In order to hold the property owner or manager successfully accountable for a hidden hazardous condition on property after a slip and fall accident in Michigan, you will need to be able to explain why a reasonable person in your position could not have seen and avoided the dangerous condition that caused this event to occur.
Remember no one stares at the floor when they are walking in a store or a parking lot. You can be paying careful attention and still not see something such as a pothole filled with water, or clear liquid that is camouflaged by the floor.
Comply with notice requirements
In Michigan, you must comply with specific statutory notice requirements which will apply if you were injured in a slip and fall accident on governmental property, or your lawsuit will be dismissed.
If your fall involves, for example, a government building or a municipal sidewalk, there are notice requirements in most states that require you to report your accident in a very specific way and within a very specific period of time. Failure to comply can completely absolve the property owner, no matter how negligent that property owner was or how badly you are now hurt. These are specific statutory notice requirements that state legislatures throughout the country have enacted. A free, no obligation consultation with an experienced slip and fall attorney can prevent a critical mistake that would otherwise deny you fair compensation for your injuries from a negligent governmental entity or property owner.
The notice requirements that could hurt your slip and fall accident case in Michigan, for example, include:
- 60-day notice of intent to sue for a slip and fall that occurs on a county road as a result of “a defective county road, bridge, or culvert under the jurisdiction of the board of county road commissioners.” (MCL 224.21(3))
- 120-day notice of intent to sue for a slip and fall that occurs as a result of a defective highway. (MCL 691.1404(1))
- 120-day notice of intent to sue for slip and fall that occurs as a result of “any dangerous or defective public building.” (MCL 691.1406)
- 6-month notice of intent to sue the State of Michigan for your slip and fall. (MCL 600.6431(1) and (4))
File an incident report immediately after a slip and fall accident in Michigan
In Michigan, make sure to file a timely incident report to prevent the property owner or manager from later denying that your slip and fall accident occurred. This verifies that your slip and fall did in fact occur and that it occurred on their premises.
Expect to still be blamed
Expect the property owner and/or manager to blame you for your injuries to try to get your case dismissed. Even though they know your injuries are their fault, they may still try to accuse you of: (1) not paying attention; (2) not looking where you’re walking; and/or (3) seeing or knowing in advance that the dangerous condition was present.
In Michigan, blaming the slip and fall accident victim is an extremely common strategy for premises owners, maintenance personnel, and the insurance companies who insure these premises.
The best way to fight back and protect yourself is to have an experienced Michigan slip and fall accident lawyer who has the specialized skill to stop the “blame game” and who knows the safety experts and human factors experts who can also help you to identify important safety violations and explain why a dangerous hazard was not seen.
Document and preserve the scene
In Michigan, hire a lawyer or investigator, or ask a friend to document the scene of your slip and fall accident as soon as possible. This may involve: (1) taking timely photos of the condition that caused you to slip or trip before the condition is altered, cleaned up or eliminated; (2) taking video of your accident scene; (3) identifying and getting statements from any and all witnesses; and/or (4) filing a preservation demand with the store or company or governmental agency to preserve (i.e., not destroy) any surveillance or video footage of your accident.
An experienced lawyer can make sure all of these actions are taken promptly, properly, and effectively.
It is very important that the scene of any trip and fall or slip and fall accident in Michigan be documented right away to show the hazard that caused a fall. If the scene and the hazard are not documented, and then the scene later changes, it can make proving what the premises owner did wrong or what the maintenance personnel did wrong much more difficult. Properly documenting the scene should also include showing the cause of the fall from the fall victim’s standing height? Was the hazard that caused the fall concealed or very difficult to see? Was the danger effectively hidden because it blended into its surroundings, such as clear liquid on a floor. Often the dangerous defect is not at all easy to see from standing height. Or it is hidden in darkness or in poor lighting or there is a distraction. Documenting the scene of a fall shows the specific reason for why someone was not able to see the hazard that caused the fall.
Talk to a lawyer before the adjuster
In Michigan, make sure to talk to a slip and fall accident lawyer before you give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. Signing a release or a waiver of liability without first talking it over with an experienced lawyer could result in your lawsuit being dismissed.
In Michigan, often an insurance company defending the property owner will attempt to contact you after you’ve reported your accident or filled out an incident report. A claims adjuster will ask to take a recorded statement from you. Sadly, but not surprisingly, these insurance company adjusters often do not have your best interests in mind. They work for the insurance company and their job is to pay as little as possible, even when the business they insure did something wrong. Asking for an early recorded statement, especially before you have hired a lawyer, is an attempt to show that the property owner is not at fault – even when they very clearly are at fault. Many insurance companies will also attempt to get a victim who does not yet have an attorney to sign a waiver of liability, taking away your right to sue for your injuries. Signing a release or signing a waiver can eliminate your right to recover financial compensation for your injuries.
Questions about what to do after a slip and fall accident in Michigan? Call Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyers now for help
The stakes are high for you and your family if you’ve been seriously injured as a result of a slip and fall accident in Michigan. We 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 slip and fall 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 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.