Sarissa Montague Weighs in on Who Is at Fault for Slip and Falls on Icy West Michigan Streets and Sidewalks

Sarissa Montague

If you slip and fall on an icy street or sidewalk in West Michigan, who is at fault? Levine & Levine Attorney Sarissa Montague spoke with WWMT – Channel 3 in Kalamazoo, about who is responsible if someone slips and falls in a public place.

“I don’t know if the average person living in an apartment building, going to the grocery store, or walking down the street understands that if they fall and hurt themselves they will not be able to sue and collect,” Montague said during the interview, explaining per Michigan’s Open and Obvious Doctrine that if the ice is obvious, there’s no one to blame but yourself.

In Michigan, property owners have a responsibility to make sure that it’s safe for anyone who enters the premises. However, the doctrine eliminates the liability of the property if someone gets hurt and it’s found that the danger was obvious.

For example, if someone is in an icy parking lot and falls, a judge will consider the ice as an open and obvious danger meaning it was visible, which would protect the owner if someone were to sue, Montague explained.

Although there are exceptions to the law, Montague said this applies almost everywhere you go.

“Parking lots, sidewalks, streets, private business, and even inside the building,” she told WWMT.

Under Michigan law, anyone who owns land must take reasonable efforts to make it safe for people. This means that business owners must try to remove the dangers, but will not be held responsible if you get hurt.

“It’s unfortunate to anyone who does get hurt, especially if they were taking caution when they slipped and fell,” Montague said. “Be really careful because if you fall you will be the person responsible for your injuries.”

View Montague’s full interview with WWMT, here.

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