Premises Liability Laws in Michigan

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Premises Liability Laws in Michigan

Premises liability laws in Michigan revolve around the legal duty of care property owners owe their visitors. When that duty of care is violated, causing someone injury, that person can potentially hold the premises owner liable for losses like medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Understanding these laws can help you stand up for your rights if you are ever hurt on a property. If you are seeking legal representation in a premises liability case in Michigan, call Christenson Law today at 248-900-9000 for a free consultation.

What Is Premises Liability and How Do Parties Prove It in Michigan?

There’s a reason you see yellow signs warning you after someone mops the floor at your local Target. Property owners must keep their premises safe for visitors by warning them of potential danger or fixing it. This is the duty of care underpinning Michigan’s premises liability laws.

If you get hurt on someone’s property, you could seek compensation from the property owner if they violated their duty of care. In fact, a case against a property owner for injury involves four key points:

  1. Duty of care: You were on the property legally, and the premises owner had an obligation to reasonably maintain the property.
  2. Violation of duty of care: The duty of care violation directly caused you to suffer an injury, such as if you slipped on a spill and broke your arm.
  3. Causation: The duty of care violation directly caused you to suffer an injury because of an unsafe, such as if you slipped on a spill and broke your arm.
  4. Damages: You should recover compensatory damages because you suffered hurt after a duty of care violation.

You can see how each point builds on the previous one. A Michigan premises liability lawyer, like the knowledgeable attorneys at our law firm, can use evidence to stitch together these four points into a cohesive narrative.

If a Michigan property owner or business owner is responsible for your injuries because of an unreasonable risk or condition on a property, we will hold them accountable.

What Qualifies as a Violation of Duty of Care?

An important part of premises liability is that a property owner doesn’t necessarily need to know about a risk to be responsible for it. For example, they can’t say they didn’t see a big puddle on the floor and therefore aren’t liable. If they had ample opportunity to learn about a hazard, they could still be negligent for not addressing it.

Who Is Owed a Duty of Care Under Premises Liability Laws in Michigan?

According to Michigan law, a property can have three types of visitors:

  • Invitees: Patrons of a business, for example
  • Licensees: A friend visiting someone’s home
  • Trespassers: Someone on a property illegally

Invitees generally file premises liability claims or suits. These people visit a property for commercial reasons, like buying a product or enlisting a service. Property owners should take precautions to prevent risks, address existing ones, and warn visitors of potential hazards or unsafe conditions.

Licensees are invited to a property for social reasons. Think of friends, family, or neighbors. They’re there for themselves, not a service. Premises owners in Michigan must warn licensees of hazards like watching their step on a dark staircase.

Trespassers, of course, are not allowed on a property. Property owners do not have a duty of care to them when they are on the premises illegally. Children are an exception because they likely did not know they were trespassing.

What If the Risk Was an Obvious Condition in a Michigan Premises Liability Case?

An example might be a large pothole or icy sidewalk. Some property owners claim that they are not liable for injuries because these risks should have been apparent. The idea is that anyone would notice and take care, so the property owner doesn’t have a duty to fix or warn about obvious hazards.

While this is sometimes used as an argument, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled it isn’t enough to clear a property owner of responsibility. In Kandil-Elsayed v. F & E Oil, Inc., the court ruled on a case where a woman slipped on ice at a gas station. Although the ice was obvious, the woman argued that it was unavoidable, so the property owner breached their duty of care to maintain safe premises.

This means property owners have a duty to warn about or mitigate certain risks, even if they are obvious dangers. If a clear but unavoidable hazard hurts you, you can still pursue a case against the property owner under the premises liability laws in Michigan.

How Does That Affect Potential Damages in Michigan Premises Liability Cases?

In cases involving obvious risks, your damages could be reduced. Although the property owner did owe you a duty of care, the fact that the hazard was obvious could mean you bear some responsibility for your injuries.

For some victims, this can feel unfair or unreflective of what they actually experienced. If that rings true for you, a Michigan premises liability lawyer can fight for appropriate damages so that you aren’t assigned unnecessary blame.

What Legal Options Are Available for a Premises Liability Case in Michigan?

You can always discuss your premises liability lawsuit with a Michigan personal injury attorney to determine your legal options. Each case is unique, so you should receive help that addresses your situation’s circumstances. Furthermore, a premises liability lawyer can make sure you know your rights throughout the process.

Typically, you have two paths for compensation:

  • Insurance claim
  • Personal injury lawsuits

Property owners have insurance for cases just like this. You can file a claim for compensation up to the policy limits. However, insurers could try to convince you to settle for far less than the limit, even if your injuries warrant the full amount. A Michigan slip and fall lawyer can represent you in negotiations to help avoid this.

In some cases, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive damages. This option is available only if you file within the statute of limitations, which is typically three years, per Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.5805. Our attorneys can handle the court documents and continue negotiation to possibly settle out of court. If that doesn’t happen, we can develop a strategy for trial.

What Are Your Options for Fair Compensation in a Michigan Premises Liability Case?

If you were hurt in a premises liability case in Michigan, the law allows you to recover the economic and non-economic costs related to your injury and recovery. That includes:

  • Medical expenses, including emergency medical care
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Psychological consequences
  • Lost income
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Impaired quality of life

Our Lawyers Know Michigan’s Premises Liability Laws – We Can Represent You

Christensen Law’s attorneys handle cases just like yours and have advocated for victims since 1991. We are current on Michigan’s law regarding hazardous conditions and will apply our knowledge and passion to your fight for justice.

We also will cover the cost of litigation for your case up front and without any payment from you. We will recover our fees only if you win your case, so there’s no risk. Our attorneys aren’t afraid to take your premises liability case to court, and our case results prove it. Call 248-900-9000 now for a free consultation.