Under Michigan’s law if you are visiting someone’s home or going to the store or the gas station and you slip or trip and fall on a hazardous area on the floor you may be entitled to monetary compensation to cover your pain and suffering, medical expenses and wage lost. When we talk about a hazard it could be as simple as a substance on the floor such as a liquid or something structural on the floor such as a grate that was uneven causing you to trip.
Now under Michigan Law, to be honest with you, these claims are quite difficult. The reason being is that land owners or possessors of land, have a defense available to them called: Open and Obvious. The law says that if a defect such as a hazard, you know, like a liquid or structural defect is in the open and is obvious to you, your claim, unfortunately, will be dismissed from Michigan Courts.
For example, if you go to a supermarket, and you slip on a grape, let’s say it’s a red grape or a green grape on a white floor. The courts would probably hold that this defect or hazard on the floor is in the open, and it is obvious, and therefore, you have no claim. Take the same situation. If you go to a grocery store and you slip on clear water, on a clear floor, the courts would probably hold that even though this defect or hazard was in the open it was not obvious, and therefore you can proceed with your claim.
So, looking at whether a defect is open and obvious is crucial to you having a successful lawsuit. There are two exceptions to the open and obvious defense, and 1 is, if you are a tenant of an apartment complex, the landlord does not have this defense available to them, because they have a statutory or a legal obligation to keep your premises fit for their intended purposes.
The other exception to this open and obvious rule is if you trip on a sidewalk or a road that is controlled by a governmental entity such as a city, a county or the state. These governmental entities do not have this open and obvious defense available to them. If you have any questions on this type of law or any other claims for personal injury, you may contact me at (248) 290-5600 for a free consultation.