Premises liability is an area of law that holds property owners and occupiers responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors. In Michigan, the “open and obvious” doctrine is an important concept in premises liability law. This blog will discuss what the “open and obvious” doctrine is, how it affects premises liability cases in Michigan, and what you need to know if you have been injured on someone else’s property.
To start with, it is the law in Michigan that a premises possessor owes a duty to undertake reasonable efforts to make its premises reasonably safe for its invitees. Lugo v Ameritech Corp, 464 Mich 512, 526; 629 NW2d 384 (2001). As such, a premises possessor “owes a duty to an invitee to exercise reasonable care to protect the invitee from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition on the land.” Id. at 516, citing Bertrand v Alan Ford, Inc, 449 Mich 606, 609; 537 NW2d 185 (1995). A premises possessor is generally not required to protect an invitee from open and obvious dangers however. Riddle v. McLouth Steel Products, Corp., 440 Mich 85, 91; 485 N.W.2d 676 (1992).
WHAT IS THE “OPEN AND OBVIOUS” DOCTRINE?