(248) 286-8100

In Light of COVID-19, We Are Still Open | Click Here For More Info

Go Back

Grand Rapids Premises Liability Lawyers

Call Us 24/7 for a Free Consultation

Premises liability commonly plays a part in personal injury cases where unsafe property causes an accident. Negligence is a prominent factor and needs to be proven. The circumstances under which the injured party is on the premises are also key. It matters whether the owner invited the person, they are there for business purposes, or possibly trespassing.

Permitted visitors have a reasonable expectation of being warned if there are unreasonable risks, but trespassers do not. Negligence of safety by the plaintiff reduces potential damages that can be recovered. The team at Goodman Acker want to help you learn about the various scenarios of premises liability and how to prevent and handle such situations.

What Situations Can Lead to Premises Liability Cases?

Wet floor sign in empty cafeteria
Image via Flickr by r.nial.bradshaw

Negligence by the property owner or tenant can lead to a number of common premises liability lawsuit situations, including:

  • Slip and fall accidents due to ice or unsafe surfaces.
  • Animal or dog bites or other animal-related injuries.
  • Unsafe property conditions.
  • Neglected maintenance of the property.
  • Neglected security of the premises.
  • Children on-site because children require a higher degree of protection.
  • Retailer liability for customers and contractors on site.
  • Restaurant liability for customers or contractors on the premises.

Liability generally falls on the tenant for leased properties since the tenant is expected to ensure the property is safe. Many landlords require tenants to carry renter’s insurance with property and liability coverage at specified dollar amount minimums. Landlords are potentially liable if they hide dangerous conditions when a tenant moves in or perform unsafe repairs for a tenant while the property is occupied.

How Do You Protect Your Rights?

Property owners and tenants are expected to keep properties in a reasonably safe condition for people who enter and provide warning of potential danger. Injured people who are authorized to be on the property have a reasonable expectation of safety. If negligence is proven, a specific type of personal injury case for recovery is available to compensate for injuries. There are three categories of people at a property:

  • Invitees are invited to a property for commercial properties, like customers at a store.
  • Licensees, or social guests, are also invited by the property owner or occupant.
  • Trespassers have a limited expectation of safety, but property owners may be liable if they set traps or take other actions to harm trespassers intentionally. In cases where trespassers could be expected, warning signs of danger help shield property owners from liability. Potential child trespassers can be an exception to the limited expectation of safety guidance. This exception is why pools generally must have locked gates, for example.

People who are injured while they are an authorized visitor to a residential or commercial property may have a premises liability case. Fault on both sides, the property owner or occupant and of the injured party, must be analyzed to show who is at fault and to what degree. While property owners and occupants are expected to provide a safe environment, visitors are expected to take reasonable precautions to keep themselves safe as well.

What are Limiting Factors to Premises Liability?

Guests who are partially or fully responsible for an accident may not be able to recover damages even if there’s a hazard in the property. Guests not using reasonable care to protect themselves from an accident may reduce or forfeit a recovery due to an increase of fault on their part. Laws vary based on how the percentage at fault affects the potential recovery or even the ability to get a recovery at all.

How do Michigan Laws Apply?

Michigan laws acknowledge that the plaintiff’s negligence proportionally reduces recovery of damages, known as comparative negligence. This legal concept recognizes when someone fails to take the expected steps to keep themselves safe. In Michigan, the reward is proportionally reduced against the plaintiff’s negligence, even if it exceeds 50 percent. For non-economic damages, negligence that exceeds 50 percent prevents any recovery.

Plaintiffs must prove several elements in a case where the defendant’s negligence led to injury:

  • Duty: the defendant had a duty to provide a safe environment.
  • Breach of duty: the defendant didn’t provide a safe environment.
  • Cause in fact: if it weren’t for this failure, no injury would have occurred.
  • Proximate cause: this failure, in particular, caused the injury.
  • Damages: the plaintiff was injured and experienced a loss.

Time is another limitation in premises liability cases. State laws have a statute of limitations that covers various types of claims. The civil statute of limitations in Michigan allows up to three years from the time of injury to file a personal injury case. Claims made after the deadline are typically subject to be summarily dismissed. As with many laws, a handful of exceptions do exist to this three-year period.

What Compensation Is Available for Premises Liability Cases?

Injured parties are able to recover compensation for premises liability cases in the same way compensation is available for other accident claims. Depending on the circumstances, injured people can seek compensation for a number of areas, including:

  • Medical bills and related care.
  • Assistive devices and technology for daily living tasks.
  • Lost wages and earning potential.
  • Lost benefits and unpaid expenses.
  • Pain and loss of quality of life.
  • Emotional suffering including anxiety, stress, and psychological issues.

Knowing the extent of injuries as soon as possible after the accident helps attorneys determine appropriate settlements to compensate for future medical and support needs.

How Do I Get Help With a Premises Liability Case?

A person who is injured on a property, whether it’s a private residence or a public property, can be entitled to an award to compensate for injuries. Property owners and occupants are expected to provide a reasonably safe environment, as well as warnings of any potential dangers on site. A person can sustain severe injuries that result in long-term medical care as well as the loss of income and quality of life.

Contact Goodman Acker for a Free Consultation

Premises liability claims require proof of negligence on the side of the property owner or occupant. If you or a family member are injured due to property negligence, the attorneys at Goodman Aker P.C. can help you recover the compensation you deserve and guide you through the process.

Call (248) 286-8100 or use our form to reach our premises liability attorneys in Grand Rapids and schedule a free consultation.