Can You Get Slip and Fall Settlements in Michigan Without Surgery?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Securing a slip and fall settlement in Michigan can feel overwhelming, especially when your injuries haven’t led to surgery. You may question if not undergoing surgery impacts your claim’s validity.
However, the need for surgery isn’t the only measure of injury severity or entitlement to compensation. If you were hurt in an accident due to property owner negligence, our slip and fall attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will assess your damages and seek a slip and fall settlement in Michigan, even if you don’t need surgery.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident is when someone falls on another’s property because of unsafe conditions. Falls are among the top preventable injuries in the U.S., accounting for 20% of total deaths in 2021 and 33% of non-fatal injuries in 2020.
In Michigan, property owners can be held responsible for injuries on their property if they’re negligent. Common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Wet or slippery surfaces. Spills, cleaning residue, or weather like rain and ice can make surfaces dangerous. Stores, stairs, or sidewalks can become treacherous without warning signs or preventive measures.
- Uneven surfaces. Irregular floors, torn carpeting, or misaligned pavement can catch someone off guard. Even slight height differences or unexpected changes can become trip hazards.
- Cluttered floors or walkways. Objects left on paths, like store goods, tools, or household items, can block the way and trip people.
- Poor lighting. Inadequate lighting can hide potential hazards and make it challenging to navigate safely. Dark or poorly lit areas can hide obstacles, making it easier to trip.
- Defective stairs or handrails. Broken or unstable stairs are dangerous, especially if someone leans on them. A weak handrail can also cause someone to lose balance.
- Loose or missing floor tiles or boards. Loose tiles or floorboards can move or be uneven, causing someone to trip and fall.
- Weather-related conditions. Snow, ice, and rain can make outdoor paths slippery. Without proper treatment or maintenance, this can cause accidents.
Potential Settings Where Slip and Fall Accidents Occur
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, causing serious injury to victims. Under premises liability law, property owners and managers have a duty to be aware of dangerous conditions, take steps to fix them, and alert visitors of the danger.
Incidents can happen in the following locations:
- Retail spaces. Hazards like spills or poorly placed merchandise can cause falls in shopping malls, grocery stores, and small boutiques. When these establishments don’t address known risks, they can be held liable for injuries to shoppers and visitors.
- Private homes. Wet floors, cluttered pathways, or unsafe staircases in residences can be major accident locations. Homeowners may be responsible, especially if they’ve neglected obvious dangers or attractive nuisances, like swimming pools, that lead to injuries to visitors, especially minors.
- Apartment complexes. Common areas like hallways, staircases, or laundry rooms in apartment buildings often have slip and fall dangers. Property managers and owners have an obligation to maintain these spaces safely. They can be held responsible if tenants or guests get hurt if they don’t.
- Workplaces. Work environments, such as offices or construction sites, can have hazards like spills or uneven floors. Employers must ensure safety, or they can be held responsible for accidents.
- Public spaces. Places like parks, sidewalks, and public buildings can have dangers like uneven pavements or icy paths. Governments and municipalities in charge of these areas can be held accountable if visitors get hurt.
Type of Injuries in a Slip and Fall Accident
Slip and fall accidents can result in various injuries, from minor to life-altering. Many of these injuries don’t require surgery but are still considered medically serious and can significantly impact your quality of life. Possible injuries include:
- Soft tissue injuries. These injuries include sprains, strains, and damage to tendons, ligaments, and muscles. If not treated promptly, a minor injury can lead to chronic pain and long-term damage.
- Cuts and abrasions. Though sometimes superficial, these injuries can be painful and result in scars. The areas most affected are the hands, arms, legs, and face.
- Bone fractures. The force of a sudden fall can result in broken or fractured bones, with wrists, arms, hips, and ankles being especially vulnerable during slip and fall incidents.
- Head injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, like concussions, are serious and can impact your ability to concentrate and mood. Symptoms can range from headaches to lasting brain problems.
- Spinal cord and back injuries. The aftermath of a fall can be devastating, from herniated discs to fractured vertebrae or even severe spinal cord damage. These injuries may result in chronic pain, limited mobility, or, in extreme cases, paralysis.
- Shoulder injuries. Falling on a shoulder can lead to a brachial plexus injury, affecting the nerve network between the shoulder, arm, and hand, which might necessitate surgery.
- Hip fractures. Hip fractures, common in the elderly, can be life-changing. They often need surgery and a long recovery, affecting their ability to move and live independently. Even without surgery, hip fractures often jeopardize a victim’s mobility, impacting their work capacity and ability to do hobbies they enjoy. Over 95% of hip fractures are due to falls.
- Knee and leg injuries. Injuries can range from torn ligaments, like the ACL in the knee, to fractures in the leg bones due to falls. These may require assistive devices like crutches and months-long rehabilitation.
- Emotional and psychological trauma. Slip and fall accidents can result in emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, or PTSD. This mental toll can impact your quality of life, interfering with hobbies, work, and relationships.
Can You Get a Slip and Fall Settlement in Michigan Without Surgery?
The misconception that only surgeries lead to settlements can leave you questioning your rights. However, the depth of your suffering and the extent of damages are not solely defined by surgical interventions.
A slip and fall settlement in Michigan is designed to compensate you for damages incurred due to someone else’s negligence, addressing all medical costs, pain and suffering, inconvenience, and lost opportunities. Even if surgery isn’t part of your recovery, you may be eligible for a substantial settlement.
Medical Costs Beyond Surgery
Surgery is one possible expense. Your lawyer can also help you get compensation for other costs, such as:
- Doctor’s visits. After a slip and fall, you might require numerous consultations. From initial X-rays or MRI scans to diagnose fractures or soft tissue injuries to follow-up appointments ensuring proper healing, the costs can accumulate.
- Physical therapy. Rehabilitation is crucial for regaining lost function and mobility. Over weeks or months, you might engage in targeted exercises, electrotherapy, or even hydrotherapy sessions, each adding to the overall expense.
- Prescription medication. Your recovery could involve various drugs, such as opioids for pain management, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (like ibuprofen) for swelling, or even muscle relaxants. Consistent use, especially over extended periods, can incur a substantial cost.
- Assistive devices. Depending on the severity of your injury, you might require aids like crutches for a sprained ankle, braces for knee or back support, or even wheelchairs for more severe injuries. These devices, whether needed temporarily or permanently, can be costly.
- Future medical costs. Some slip and fall injuries, like herniated discs or chronic joint issues, can necessitate prolonged treatments such as periodic corticosteroid injections or future surgeries. The potential expenses from ongoing care or treatments should be taken into account.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
Not all injuries lead to surgeries, but many can still result in time off work. Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will factor the following into your slip and fall settlement in Michigan:
- Immediate lost wages. After a slip and fall, you might be unable to work for days, weeks, or even months, depending on the severity of your injuries. This could mean missing regular salaries, hourly wages, or freelance contracts.
- Reduced work hours. Even if you can return to work, your injuries might limit your number of work hours. For instance, you may move from full-time to part-time, impacting your monthly income.
- Missed career opportunities. Injuries can cause you to miss out on promotions, raises, or special projects, especially in competitive fields where prolonged absences can harm career progression.
- Loss of job benefits. In addition to your base salary, you could lose out on bonuses, stock options, or other perks if your injury prevents you from fulfilling specific job roles or requirements.
- Diminished earning capacity. Severe injuries might permanently alter your ability to perform your job or force you to switch careers. For example, a construction worker with a compromised limb might need to move to a less physically demanding role, often at reduced pay.
- Cost of retraining or education. You might need new training or further education if your injuries demand a career change. We can help you receive compensation for the cost of required courses, certifications, or degrees necessitated by your injuries.
- Future lost wages. Chronic injuries or complications can mean periodic absences from work in the future. Even if sporadic, these intermittent breaks can add up to lost earnings, for which you can receive compensation.
Non-Economic Considerations in Slip and Fall Settlements in Michigan:
In addition to tangible costs, you may suffer intangible damages, impacting your quality of life and mental well-being. Your legal team will include the following non-economic damages like pain and suffering in your settlement demand letter:
- Pain and suffering. Chronic pain or discomfort can be a daily reminder of the accident, affecting your mood, energy levels, and overall outlook.
- Emotional distress. A traumatic accident can leave lasting psychological scars. This could manifest as anxiety, bouts of depression, flashbacks, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), impacting daily functioning and mental well-being.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. Your enjoyment of life could be compromised after a severe injury. This means not just giving up hobbies or sports you love but also missing the simple pleasures — like taking a walk in the park, dancing, or playing with your kids. We can help you receive compensation for the loss of this emotional enjoyment.
- Loss of consortium. Injuries can strain personal relationships. It’s not just about physical intimacy; it’s also about the reduced ability to connect, support, or share moments with loved ones, leading to feelings of isolation or guilt.
- Loss of personal independence. Severe injuries like broken legs or spinal cord damage might make you reliant on others for daily tasks, from grocery shopping to personal care, leading to feelings of vulnerability or loss of autonomy.
- Cognitive changes. Head injuries or trauma can lead to subtle or pronounced changes in memory, attention span, or decision-making skills, altering your sense of self. This can impact your earning capacity and relationships, allowing us to seek compensation in your settlement.
How Do You Prove a Slip and Fall Case Without Surgery?
Proving a slip and fall case without surgical intervention requires showcasing the negligence of the responsible party and your consequential damages. Slip and Fall Attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will prove your claim by focusing on the four major elements of a slip and fall claim:
- Duty of care. The property owner had a responsibility to maintain a safe environment.
- Breach of duty. The owner failed to uphold that responsibility, leading to unsafe conditions.
- Causation. The unsafe conditions directly resulted in the injury.
- Damages. The victim suffered actual injuries or losses due to the accident.
To do this, we will gather evidence such as:
- Comprehensive medical documentation. We will use detailed medical records to substantiate your injuries, from initial assessments to diagnostic tests like X-rays and MRIs. We will also use physical therapy logs and medical bills to show the costs of the injury.
Eileen Kroll, a registered nurse and partner attorney at our law firm, will use her background to review these records, connecting your injuries to the accident and capturing your damages.
- Witness testimonies. Witness accounts serve as independent validations of what transpired. We can speak with witnesses, including bystanders, employees, or other patrons, to corroborate your claim and highlight the hazardous conditions that contributed to the accident.
- Photographic and video evidence. Capturing the scene of the incident offers a snapshot of the conditions at the time. We can help you gather photos or surveillance footage that show hazards like spilled liquids, uneven surfaces, or missing warning signs. Taking these photos immediately after the accident is crucial, especially if the property owner attempts to remedy or obscure the hazard.
- Incident reports. If you fall in a store or public place, there’s usually a procedure to record it. These reports, created by management or security personnel, can provide an account of the accident, injuries, and conditions. We can obtain this evidence to establish liability.
- Expert testimonies. We can enlist the help of safety experts to discuss how property owners violated property standard regulations or maintained unsafe premises. We will also consult with medical professionals to demonstrate the potential long-term consequences of your injuries to understand your maximum medical improvement.
- Daily logs or journals. We can use daily logs or journals that show your daily struggles post-accident and give a voice to the non-tangible aspects of your experience. This could encompass physical pain, emotional distress, or difficulties in carrying out day-to-day activities.
- Previous complaints or reports. Establishing a pattern can be detrimental to a property owner’s defense. If there have been past incidents, complaints, or even near-misses related to the same hazard, we can use them to show a pattern of neglect and a disregard for visitor safety.
Seek a Fair Settlement With Help From Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.
Whether you were hurt in a trip and fall or a slip and fall accident, you deserve financial compensation for your injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. Our experienced attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. have the legal skill and knowledge to represent your interests in a slip and fall claim.
We can help you receive a settlement that covers the full extent of your injuries. Contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., for a free consultation for your slip and fall settlement in Michigan.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at (1-866-779-7331) and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
What is Michigan’s comparative negligence rule in slip and fall cases?
The modified comparative negligence rule applies to personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents in Michigan. Under this rule, if a victim is partially at fault for their injuries, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault. However, if a victim is found to be more than 50% at fault, they may be barred from recovering any damages.
How long do I have to file a slip and fall lawsuit in Michigan?
Michigan law provides a statute of limitations for slip and fall cases. Generally, victims have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file within this time frame, you might lose your right to seek compensation.
What if the slip and fall occurred on government property?
Slip and fall claims against government entities, whether city, county, or state, have specific procedures and tighter deadlines. In Michigan, you typically have 120 days to file a written notice of your claim. Given the complexities involved in cases against government bodies, consult an attorney as soon as possible.
How do insurance companies determine the value of my claim?
Insurance companies assess various factors when valuing your claim. This can include the severity and nature of your injuries, the total medical expenses, any lost wages, and the potential liability of their policyholder.
How long does resolving a slip and fall case in Michigan take?
The duration varies based on the case’s complexities, the willingness of parties to negotiate, and the court’s schedule. While some cases might settle in months, others, especially those that proceed to trial, can take several years.
What if my injuries from the slip and fall accident don’t show up immediately?
It’s common for some injuries, like soft tissue injuries, to manifest days or even weeks after the accident. This delay underscores the importance of seeking medical attention immediately after a fall, even if you feel fine. A medical professional can identify and document any potential injuries, which can be crucial for any future claim.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.