Michigan’s Open and Obvious Danger Doctrine protects property owners from any civil liability regarding injuries sustained by defects on their property if that defect could or should have been seen. The grey area lies in what could or should have been seen, and is very difficult to prove when going up against big businesses by yourself. So how do you protect yourself if you or a loved one is injured? It is to your benefit to hire an attorney who is experienced in these types of claims. At Goodman Acker, we have years of experience bringing claims against property owners for slip/trip and fall accidents, and winning despite the Open and Obvious Doctrine.
One particular case we are handling that has earned some publicity is a trip and fall claim in Northville, Michigan. Our client was walking on the sidewalk near the rear end of the Marquis Theatre, and exit to Comerica Bank, in downtown Northville when she tripped and fell on a 1 foot ledge. Her injuries included a laceration to the face and nose, and severe mouth/dental issues that she still is receiving treatment for. She had to be transported to Providence Park Hospital following the fall.
According to the police report for our client’s incident, this is not the first trip and fall that has occurred on this ledge. Several other incidents have been reported – so much that the Northville Police Department had Northville’s Department of Public Works (DPW) investigate the ledge.
The DPW agreed that the ledge was a trip and fall hazard, but is not city property. The responsibility then lies on owner of that sidewalk. Both business owners of the Marquis Theatre and Comerica Bank are aware of the issue, yet have failed to take any action. Comerica Bank put in the ledge, however there is a dispute between both businesses about who owns the sidewalk. While these two business are quarreling over ownership, the public is being exposed.
Our team at Goodman Acker is in the process of obtaining medical records for our client and investigating the true owner of the property on her behalf. We will be pursuing pain and suffering damages, as well as holding the business accountable for their negligence so that the sidewalk will get fixed and no one else will get hurt.
Despite the Open and Obvious rule often protecting big business, we believe this ledge is not “open” or “obvious” due to the multiple incidents that have occurred on the sidewalk.
We were recently interviewed by Andrew Isom at Channel 7 WXYZ Detroit about this claim. You can watch the full interview here:
Our team of Detroit premises liability attorneys at Goodman Acker, P.C. make it our job to hold corporations liable for their negligence to keeping patrons safe. We understand that you should not have to pay for mounting medical bills or lost wages if your injury could have been prevented.
To discuss your own trip and fall case, or other personal injury case, reach out to our team at (248) 286-8100.