Michigan’s snowy winters, especially in areas such as Grand Rapids and the state capital, Lansing, are often impressive. When snow falls, businesses have risk management concerns of slip and fall accidents on their property. Can a Michigan business be sued for slip and fall accidents on ice? The answer’s a bit complicated but in the end, relatively clear. While we’re not lawyers, here’s what we dug up to help you:
Liability Increases During the Winter
A business that knowingly and negligently disregards its duty to keep its walkways, parking lots and entrances free of snow and ice increases its liability risks. An army of personal injury attorneys in Michigan eagerly await the start of winter, and they can’t wait to file lawsuits, no matter how frivolous they might seem. Fortunately for the average Michigan business when it comes to slip and fall injuries:
- Over the last several years, it’s become increasingly difficult to press slip and fall injury claims against Michigan businesses because of snow and ice on their premises.
- A January 2013 article posted on the Insurance Journal website reports that Michigan courts are using a tough recent standard, set by the state Supreme Court, to rule against numerous slip and fall injury claimants.
- Detroit’s local CBS affiliate, in a December 2012 online piece, also notes that slip and fall injury claimants must prove they had absolutely no other way to avoid the hazard to press their lawsuits.
- As a consequence, CBS reported wintertime slip-and-fall injury lawsuits have declined from 20 percent of business to 2 percent for some Michigan personal injury attorneys.
Should a Business Risk a Slip and Fall Lawsuit, Though?
While Michigan businesses can often beat wintertime slip and fall lawsuits, the bigger question is if the business should take such a risk at all. Consider:
- Slips and falls due to wintry conditions can quickly spread negative feelings about your business, both by word-of-mouth and over the internet. It costs your business goodwill, and that hurts.
- A business is also being ethical and smart to keep its premises free of snow and ice. Doing so helps increase customer safety.
- “The NSC says that approximately 25,000 people are victims of slip and fall accidents every day, costing businesses $3.5 million dollars every hour, 365 days a year. With the average cost to defend slip-and-fall lawsuits running $50,000 (as reported by the National Floor Safety Institute), developing and implementing a plan to reduce slip and fall claims against your business can dramatically improve your bottom line. The first step is to realize that you can’t protect yourself from false slip and fall claims without proof of due diligence.”
So who can help you in proof of due diligence and risk management in Michigan?
Sneller Snow Systems can. As Michigan’s only ISO 9001/SN 9001 certified snow and ice management company, we have endured and passed a rigorous audit process, which ensures that we adhere to the ANSI accepted snow industry standards, and maintain the appropriate records surrounding each snow event. This helps you to build a solid defense against a potential slip and fall claim.
For the best high-quality commercial snow removal in Grand Rapids MI and Lansing, contact us at Sneller Snow Systems today. We have ISO 9001 certified snow removal systems in place to keep your business open and visitors safe.