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Even if you aren’t injured in a slip and fall, you may suffer property damage. In the State of Michigan, you are entitled to compensation for both property damage and personal injury resulting from a property owner’s negligence.
But because Michigan is a state that recognizes the possibility of “shared fault,” these cases can be tricky. “Shared fault” means that, in a trial, the property owner and their attorney will have an opportunity to argue that you are at least partially at fault for what happened. Very frequently, they’ll argue that the danger was obvious or that they took “reasonable steps” to protect visitors (like posting signs or cones around the hazard). Depending on circumstances, a property owner might successfully argue that you share fault because you were someplace visitors aren’t allowed or expected (such as a machine room or back office), were wearing inappropriate footwear for the circumstances, or that you were distracted by your phone or otherwise not paying sufficient attention to keep yourself safe.
In a shared fault situation, even if the property holder is found to be primarily to blame, the court still reduces your compensation based on your share of responsibility. For example, if you slip on an icy sidewalk on the way to an interview, injure your knee, and drop your laptop, the court may determine that the property holder (or their insurance) only has to cover 50% of the replacement cost and medical bills, because your dress shoes weren’t appropriate to the weather conditions that day.
In some situations, Michigan’s “modified comparative negligence” statute can drastically decrease your total compensation: if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you are barred from receiving any “non-economic damages” (i.e., “compensation for pain and suffering”).