As festive lights brighten up Michigan’s streets and shopping malls buzz with holiday shoppers, a less noticeable yet significant danger waits underfoot – slippery sidewalks. Winter in Michigan often brings with it icy walkways and snow-covered sidewalks, setting the stage for potential slip and fall accidents. For those injured in such incidents, important questions arise. In this blog post, you’ll learn more about who can be held liable for a slip and fall accident on a slippery sidewalk.

Understanding Slip and Fall Accidents in Michigan

Slip and fall accidents, which are a prevalent issue during Michigan’s harsh winters, fall under premises liability law. This law places a duty on property owners to ensure their premises are safe. This responsibility becomes particularly crucial during the holiday season, with the increased likelihood of ice and snow accumulation creating hazardous conditions for unsuspecting pedestrians.

Common causes of slip and fall accidents during the holidays in Michigan include:

  • ice and snow accumulation, particularly black ice, which is often invisible and treacherous
  • poor lighting in areas like shopping mall parking lots and walkways, obscuring visibility
  • neglected maintenance of public spaces, resulting in uncleared snow and unsalted sidewalks

In Michigan, property owners and managers are legally obliged to prevent slip and fall incidents by maintaining their premises. This includes performing routine checks, the timely removal of snow and ice from sidewalks and walkways, and ensuring the overall safety of those who visit their premises. Failing in these duties can lead to the responsible party’s liability for any resulting injuries.

Identifying Liable Parties for Slip and Fall Accidents on a Slippery Sidewalk

Determining liability for a slip and fall accident on a slippery sidewalk can be complicated, as several parties might be responsible. In these cases, it is crucial to understand who can be held accountable:

  1. Property Owners and Businesses: If the sidewalk is adjacent to a privately-owned property, like a store, restaurant, or residential building, the property owner may be responsible for its maintenance. In such cases, if the owner fails to keep the sidewalk clear of ice and snow, they can be held liable for accidents.
  2. Municipalities or Local Governments: In certain situations, the city or local government may be responsible for maintaining public sidewalks. However, liability laws for governmental entities can be more complicated due to governmental immunity provisions. These cases are governed by the Michigan Governmental Tort Liability Act, and often involve specific legal procedures and shorter timelines for filing a claim.
  3. Property Management Companies: For commercial properties or residential complexes, management companies might be tasked with maintaining the sidewalks. Their failure to adhere to safety standards can make them liable for any resulting accidents.
  4. Contractors or Snow Removal Companies: Sometimes, property owners delegate the responsibility of snow and ice removal to third-party contractors. If an accident occurs due to the contractor’s negligence in properly clearing the sidewalk, they could be held liable.

Each of these parties has a duty to ensure sidewalks are safe for pedestrians, especially during the high-risk winter months. Proving liability often requires demonstrating that the responsible party knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to take appropriate actions to mitigate the risk.

Understanding Compensation for Slip and Fall Injuries

Victims of slip and fall accidents in Michigan may be entitled to various forms of compensation, reflecting the physical, emotional, and financial toll of their injuries. This compensation typically covers:

  • Medical Expenses: The cost of immediate medical treatment, ongoing care, rehabilitation, and any future medical needs related to the injury.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for the time missed from work during recovery including lost earning capacity if the injury affects your ability to work in the future.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury.
  • Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for injuries that lead to long-term disability or affect your ability to enjoy life as before.
  • Legal Costs: Compensation for the costs associated with hiring an attorney and pursuing the legal claim.

It is important to note that each slip and fall case is unique, and the type and amount of compensation will vary based on the specifics of the case. An experienced slip and fall lawyer in Michigan can help assess the full extent of your damages and work to secure the maximum compensation possible.

How Fieger Law Can Help You

In slip and fall cases, time is of the essence. The conditions of a slippery sidewalk can change rapidly, and evidence can be fleeting. It is crucial for victims to consult with a slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. By hiring an experienced slip and fall lawyer, accident victims gain an ally who can help in promptly investigating the accident, identifying the liable parties, and ensuring that their rights are protected.

At Fieger Law, we specialize in personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents. With over 70 years of experience, our skilled Michigan personal injury lawyers have a proven track record of winning substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of those injured due to someone else’s negligence.

Contact a Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyer at Fieger Law

If you or a loved one is injured in a slip and fall accident, whether due to a slippery sidewalk or any other unforeseen hazard, our team stands ready to assist you. Our no-win, no-fee policy ensures our unwavering commitment to securing the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact Fieger Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let our experienced slip and fall accident lawyers champion your cause.