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The 'Open & Obvious' Rule

Under traditional rules, there would be no duty owed, and therefore no liability for injuries caused by open & obvious hazards.  Under traditional rules, an open and obvious hazard is one “readily observable upon casual inspection”.

However, in recent years, there has been a great expansion, by Michigan’s appellate courts, of this “open & obvious” concept, frankly, far beyond anything truly open or obvious. Indeed, in one case, a pothole in a parking lot was ruled as “open and obvious” to a blind man with a cane!

Recently, snow-covered ice, and so-called “black ice” have been held to be open and obvious hazards, for which no recovery can be made.  While efforts are now being undertaken to restore precedent and sanity to this area of the law, we must now deal in this currently strict environment.

There is no substitute for the analysis an experienced attorney can bring to a review and analysis of your case. Call Jon Frank today.

Overcoming the 'Open and Obvious' Rule

To get around the current “open and obvious” rules, you must be able to show that the location of the fall was effectively unavoidable, or that it was “unreasonably dangerous.”

The scope of these exceptions to the "Open & Obvious" Rule have been narrowed in recent years, again by our agenda-driven appellate courts, with the idea of leaving YOU without compensation for injuries caused by a property owner’s negligence.

"Open & Obvious", duty and liability will be determined a on a case-by-case basis, that we will have to discuss when you call.

These rules have been cynically established to present confusing traps for the unwary, and you should consult with an attorney to help you navigate the claim to a quick and valuable monetary settlement. Call Jon Frank today.

Active Negligence – Avoiding "Open & Obvious"

Because of increasing restrictions on injured people’s rights, you can already see that the good lawyers who still do this kind of work (and many no longer do), must be creative and aggressive in representing the person injured on another’s property.

By successfully characterizing an injury as arising out of the “active” negligence of a property owner, I can take a case out from under the claws of the "Open & Obvious" rule.

A recent example of “active negligence” involved a gentleman I represented, who was run over by a pallet jack, while making a delivery, in the course of his job.

The Defendant in that case, tried to convince the court that my client’s accident happened because he was in a location where he openly and obviously should not have been; in other words, they tried to shoe-horn this case, into one where the "Open & Obvious" rule would bail them out. I argued to the judge that after all the word-twisting was done, my client was not hurt by being in a prohibited area; his injury resulted from being struck by a pallet jack. I won that argument, and got a very substantial six-figure settlement for my client.

Do you need to show that an accident wasn't an 'open & obvious" situation?

We can make sure you are knowledgeable in all facets of 'open & obvious'

Learn more about Michigan Slip and Fall Laws & Protections.

Increasingly, Michigan courts are holding that "snow & ice happen" during Michigan's winters. As a result, they have held that such conditions are open and obvious to the point, where there is no liability for an accident caused by snow and ice.
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Should you rely on your personal injury lawyer to refer you to the doctors you need to present a winning case? Yes and no; no and yes. Let me explain.
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