Welcome to the Patrick Marutiak Podcast. I’d like to talk to you today about slip and fall cases. It is probably the biggest misconception there is in the law.
What you have to prove to recover damages in a slip and fall case in Michigan
People assume if you get hurt on someone else’s property you can sue them for your injuries. nothing could be further from the truth. In Michigan, in our state, in order to make a claim if you fall on someone else’s property, you have to prove not only was the landowner negligent but there was a latent or hidden defect.
No damages if the defect is open and obvious in Michigan
There are two words to remember concerning slip and falls: open and obvious. The law currently states if there is a defect on property that is open and obvious, even if the landowner was negligent, you cannot make a claim for damages. This can result in very egregious than unfair standards.
I’ll give you an example: There was one case where a blind lady was walking up some stairs and she fell because one of stairs was missing. They were doing construction on the stairs.
The court threw the case out because to a reasonable person, the fact that half the stair was missing should have been open and obvious- It didn’t even matter that she was blind – If a reasonable person could have seen that defect, there’s no case.
The exception to the open and obvious rule in Michigan
There’s one exception to this and that concerns landlords. If for example, you’re living in an apartment complex, you may be able to get around the open and obvious defense, but if you’re hurt on commercial property or someone else’s home, these cases are very difficult to make.
It is important, therefore, to contact a lawyer immediately after you get hurt. An investigation needs to be done right away to determine if there was a hidden or latent defect, and whether or not the open and obvious defense applies.
Contact an attorney immediately after getting hurt on a commercial property
One thing you should always know is, if you get hurt, you may be able to make a claim for medical bills. I would like to talk to you about medical payment coverage if you are hurt and someone else’s property.
Even if you cannot make a claim for damages, that is pain, suffering, wages and the like, you may be able to make a claim for what we call “med pay” or payment of medical bills.
What insurance typically pays for in slip and fall cases in Michigan
If you’re hurt on a commercial property or even someone’s home or private property, most any homeowners insurance or commercial insurance policy contains a “med pay” provision. What this means is they will pay your medical bills, regardless of who’s at fault – your fault, the homeowner’s fault, or nobody’s fault. They’ll still pay the medical bills.
Limits to “med pay” provisions in Michigan
Now the “med pay” has certain limits. Most homeowner policies only have a thousand dollar limit. Many commercial policies have more: some five, some ten. A good one would have twenty-five thousand. What this means is they’ll pay any of your co-pays and out of pocket expenses up to that limit, as long as you make the claim within a year of when you were hurt. Depending on how you were hurt, you may not be able to make a claim for your pain and suffering, but as long as there’s insurance coverage, you can always make a claim for medical bills.
Call me if you’re in the Owosso or Shiawassee County Region!
You want to talk to an attorney immediately. If you’re hurt on someone else’s property, even getting your medical bills could go a long way to help to make you whole. Give any questions on this. Always contact a lawyer. You can contact me at (989) 725-8118.