Former Johnny Carson announcer, Ed McMahon, of “Heeeeere’s Johnny” fame, has been in the news quite a bit, lately. First, he called attention to the home foreclosure crisis in our country by announcing that his multi-million dollar mansion in California was being foreclosed upon. One reason why he has fallen upon hard times is that he was injured in a fall, broke his neck, and had to undergo multiple surgeries in an attempt to correct serious physical problems caused by the fall.
More recently, it was announced that Mr. McMahon is pursuing a medical malpractice and premises liability lawsuit against those he holds responsible for his condition. This Lawsuit Finance Blog has provided several posts on the issue of medical malpractice; today, I want to focus on the slip & fall or premises liability (as slips & falls or trips & falls are referred to in the legal profession) aspect of the case.
In Michigan, the headquarters of Lawsuit Financial Corporation and the State where my law practice has been for over 31 years, premises liability law has taken an ugly turn to the benefit of the premises owner or lease holder (insurance company’s insured) and against the victim (the injured party). Michigan is an extreme example where pro-business and pro-insurance handpicked judges invent new laws or interpret old ones to the detriment of innocent victims of negligence, but this phenomenon is on the rise in other states, as well. Michigan is a “comparative negligence” State. This means that if both sides are negligent, the tryer of fact and/or law, must grant plaintiff an award (if appropriate under the circumstances), attach percentages to each party’s fault and, an reduce the award by the at fault percentage attributable to the plaintiff. Sounds fair, right?
Over the last fifteen years or so, after the appointment of numerous pro-business judges, the standard of “open & obvious” has reared its ugly head, not as a comparative negligence standard (as it should be) but as an absolute defense to liability.. One ‘theme” used by these pro-business jurists to deny plaintiffs’ justice, is that a fall is unlikely to cause serious injury.
It is pure fiction that people do not sustain serious injuries from falls. Mr. McMahon’s injuries are prime examples of the absurdity of this premise. The fact is that falls are the leading cause of injury deaths to our older population. Falls are also the leading cause of treated injuries in hospital emergency rooms. In 2004, for example, 14,900 people 65 and older died from injuries related to unintentional falls; about 1.8 million people 65 and older were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries from falls, and more than 433,000 of these patients were hospitalized. These rates have risen, significantly, over the past decade.
A large percentage of fall victims suffer minor to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures or head trauma; such injuries can increase the risk of early death. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. It is clear that serious injury and death frequently result from falls to the ground, regardless of cause or distance. You may remember that famous diet doctor, Robert Atkins, died as the result of a fall in 2003.
I am calling upon Michigan residents to take action against this injustice. Contact your state representatives and ask them to sponsor a bill to make premises liability law fair in Michigan. Every other area of the law is subject to the application of the comparative negligence standard except Premises Liability. Ask your State Representative to apply straight comparative negligence to Premises Liability litigation.
Lawsuit Financial Corporation is one of the country’s leading law suit funding companies. We provide non-recourse cash advances in Premises Liability/Slip & Fall cases and all other Personal Injury cases. Call us, toll free, at 1-877-377-SUIT (7848) or visit us on the web at www.lawsuitfinancial.com.