The Supreme Court of Michigan recently announced a major change in personal injury law which will benefit victims that are hurt on another person’s property. In the case, Kandil-Elsayed v. F&E Oil, Inc, 2023 WL 4845611 (Mich. July 28, 2023) the Michigan Supreme Court declared that the “open and obvious” defense in premises liability claims is now a question of fact for a jury to determine.
Previously, the phrase “open and obvious” was used to indicate that the dangerous condition that caused the injury was “open” and “obvious” to those around and was, therefore, the fault was placed on the victim for not being more careful. Previously the open and obvious doctrine was deemed to be a question of law which gave the trial court the power to decide whether the case could proceed to trial. The trial courts often ruled that the victim should have been aware of the dangerous condition, holding that the property owner owed no duty of care to the plaintiff and extinguishing the plaintiff’s claims prematurely.
The holding in Kandil-Elsayed v. F&E Oil, Inc, is a win for plaintiffs who have been seriously injured in a slip and fall incident caused by a negligent property owner. This ruling places the duty on the property owner to anticipate the harm that could result from a dangerous condition that they permitted to exist on their premises. The result of the Supreme Court’s ruling is that now the case may proceed to a jury who will decide whether the property owner breached their duty by failing to anticipate the harm and whether a victim may have contributed to their injuries.
If you have suffered a slip and fall injury, contact our office for a free consultation.