Michigan uses comparative negligence laws, which reduces an injury victim's compensation if the court finds that the victim contributed to their injuries. The reduction is proportional to the victim's contribution to the accident. In a slip-and-fall accident, the following are some of the factors a defendant can use to prove your contribution to your injuries.
Disregard to Warning Signs
Property owner typically put up warning signs to prevent injuries on their premises. A sign might warn you about renovations that are underway, elevators that are out of order or floors that are slippery. Visitors to such premises must take heed of such warnings and take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries.
If you ignore a slippery floor sign and get injured, the owner of the premises is not entirely responsible for your damages. Expect the court to reduce your damages proportionally to your contribution to the accident.
Disregard to Barriers
In addition to warnings, most property owners also use barriers to keep visitors away from danger. Visitors who go through such barriers should not expect full compensation should the dangers behind the barriers cause an accident.
For example, if a section of a floor is under renovations, the contractor may surround the area with a rope to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. If you lift the rope to cross the floor to the other side, then you are at least particularly liable for any injuries you may sustain due to the renovations.
Distractions are common causes of slip-and-fall accidents, and they come in various ways. A conversation with a friend, a phone call or text, or even a child can distract you. The moment something distracts you, you won't notice danger in your immediate environment and can easily get hurt. For example, you may fail to notice a loose floor tile that you would otherwise notice.
Some distractions are unavoidable, but a court may decide that you’re at least partially at fault for your injuries if you were distracted. Talk to your lawyer to learn what applies to your case.
Your shoes affect your risk of a slip-and-fall accident. Shoes with smooth or slippery soles and shoes with unusually high heels, for example, may be inappropriate for some situations. Pointed heels can lead to slip and fall accidents on uneven surfaces and smooth soles are dangerous on slippery surfaces. Thus, shoes can make the court decide you contributed to your accident.
You are more likely to fall when you run than when you walk. The danger increases even further when you run on a dangerous surface. For example, you can easily fall if you run on an icy surface or a cracked pavement. A reasonable person would slow down and walk on such surfaces. Thus, the defendant may use your run to prove your contribution to the accident.
Premises owners owe trespassers less duty of care than visitors with legitimate reasons to be on their properties. Consider an example where you park in an area with a no-parking sign and then slip and fall as you walk away from the car. Owner of the premises can claim that you trespassed on their property and your actions contributed to your damages.
Expect the defendant to do everything possible to maximize how much the court decides your actions contributed to the accident. The onus is on you to prove that the defendant's claims are wrong. Rothstein Law Group can help you prove your case so that you don't end up with unnecessarily low damages. Come to us with your slip-and-fall accident even if the liable party claims they don't owe you anything.