Premises liability is the area of the law that protects lawful visitors from injuries due to a landlord’s negligence. If you were at a restaurant and slipped on a wet floor, or you were shopping and were struck by falling merchandise, you could be eligible for full personal injury compensation that covers your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. However, premises liability cases are not easy to prove, and insurance companies for property and business owners are determined to pay as little as possible for such claims. Fortunately, Goforth & Lilley is ready to help. Drawing on more than 75 years of combined experience, our personal injury attorneys investigate and evaluate your case thoroughly, then aggressively pursue the maximum possible compensation.
A slip and fall onto a hard surface is a potentially disastrous accident that could result in concussion or traumatic brain injury, broken bones, torn ligaments, or spinal injury. Other accidents involving hidden hazards on property can also cause debilitating pain for an extended period of time. But what are the circumstances under which a property owner might be liable for the victim’s injuries?
One example comes from Louisiana’s Merchant Liability Statute, codified in La. RS 9:2800.6, which requires the victim to prove three vital elements:
So, if you were shopping at a supermarket and slipped on a wet spot caused by a shattered jar of mayonnaise, you would first have to prove that the wet spot constituted an unreasonably unsafe condition. This wouldn’t be terribly difficult, but the next two points are where many cases get bogged down. Did the merchant (or an employee) create the spill or know about the spill? If neither the merchant nor any employee knew the spill was there, you must prove constructive knowledge, meaning the merchant “should have known” about the spill. Generally, you’d have to prove that the spill existed for a long enough time that a reasonable merchant would have found the spill in the normal course of business, which naturally includes guarding against situations just like this. Finally, you must prove that the merchant was unreasonable in responding to the hazard that the spill presented. This requires a fact-specific inquiry that examines the response. Did the merchant provide a prompt warning about the spill, such as an orange cone? Was the warning adequate but the victim somehow missed it?
As you can tell from this example, slip and fall cases require an exhaustive examination of the facts and the construction of a compelling narrative that proves liability. For this reason, you should only trust your case to an experienced attorney with a record of success in cases like yours.
Louisiana law has slightly different statutory requirements for establishing premises liability against different types of landlords, such as merchants, private property owners and government entities. Victims also have a duty to be alert to visible hazards. If you’re texting while walking and step into a pothole, you’re going to have a tough time suing the city.
Still, with an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, you can obtain fair compensation for a variety of premises liability accidents resulting from:
A slip and fall can put you out of work for an extended period, leaving you with no income as your medical bills pile up. An attorney at our firm can help you obtain the full, fair compensation you deserve. But you can also help yourself by documenting the condition that caused your accident. Cellphone camera photos taken immediately are invaluable in building your case. You should also collect contact information for any witnesses and prepare a written account of any other factor, such as weather conditions or lighting, that may have been relevant to your accident.
Goforth & Lilley is a reputable Lafayette law firm with a solid record of success in slip and fall cases. To learn how we can assist with your premises liability case, schedule a free consultation and case evaluation. Call us today at 337-446-4239 or contact our office online.
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