Millions of people are injured each year by slipping, tripping or otherwise falling due to a dangerous condition in a building or on a property. These incidents can happen inside or outside a building and are caused by hazards such as wet floors, decaying steps, faulty construction and other types of defects.
Michigan premises owners, including homeowners and building owners, owe a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition and to protect against an unreasonable harm caused by dangerous conditions on the land.
Depending on a visitor’s status in relation to the land owner at the time of the injury, the level of care owed will vary. For instance, business invitees, such as store patrons, are owed the highest level of care, while trespassers are owed little to no care. Licensees, such as social guests, are provided more protection than a trespasser but less than an invitee.
In general, the most common premises liability cases are:
Slip and fall incidents at business establishments, apartment communities and private homes by slippery substances such as water or ice; trip and fall incidents at business establishments or private homes caused by uneven floor surfaces, hidden trip hazards and defective sidewalks or flooring. Construction site accidents are also common and occur due to the negligence of general contractors or sub-contractors.
What Is “Notice” and Why is it Important?
For a building owner to be held liable for his negligence, he must have actual or constructive “notice” of the dangerous condition. This simply means the owner knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition before the accident happened. Establishing notice is critical in these cases and can mean the difference between winning or losing your case.