Sometimes a misplaced step is all it takes to provoke serious injury. In the event it occurs on someone else’s property, inside a business, or on a public sidewalk, who is responsible? More importantly, who should have to foot the bill?
Here in Louisiana, those questions get asked all the time in what we generally refer to as slip and fall cases—insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits in which an individual has suffered injury from a fall that may have been prevented.
Slip and Fall Cases in Louisiana
In Gretna, Louisiana a man named Bryan Dowell recently filled a suit against Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. and AFC Enterprises Inc. for a slip and fall that happened inside a Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.
According to the plaintiff, the owner of the popular fried chicken franchise is responsible for injuries suffered by Dowell, who claims he slipped on a soapy floor near the bathroom. The floor did not have any warning signs displayed, and Dowell is accusing the owner of negligence for failing to keep the restaurant free of hazardous conditions, and failing to properly inspect the restaurant for potential hazards.
Proving Negligence and Liability
To win a personal injury case involving a slip and fall, the plaintiff must be able to prove that another person (usually a business owner or employee) was responsible for the fall in one of two ways:
- Did the property owner fail to recognize or remedy the hazard in a reasonable amount of time? For example, he or she might have allowed a dangerous pothole to remain in the parking lot for six months.
- Did the owner, employee, or another party, actually cause the accident in the first place? For example: an employee might knowingly leave a hazardous obstacle in the way of patrons.
Typically, one of these theories must be proven if you are to pursue a slip and fall case in Louisiana successfully.
To prove negligence, the plaintiff will have to prove one or several conditions.
- Demonstrating that the dangerous condition existed long enough for the defendant to reasonably remedy the problem;
- The property owner didn’t have policies in place to ensure hazards were regularly avoided; or
- The hazard or dangerous condition could have been made less dangerous.
Louisiana Contributory Fault Rules
As is the case with auto accidents, the property owner in a slip and fall case might try to argue that the plaintiff is totally, or partially, responsible for the accident. This is important to note because not all states have the same legal codes pertaining to how restitution for personal injury cases can be awarded.
This kind of legal argument is known as comparative fault, or comparative negligence. Louisiana’s comparative fault rule reduces an injured person’s damages by the amount equal to the share of fault assigned to that person.
In other words, if the property owner can prove the injured party was in some way responsible for the slip, any awarded damages will be based on the percentage the property owner was at fault. If a court determines the injured party was 50 percent responsible for the fall, the injured party will only be able to collect 50 percent of the total award.
Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Choosing an experienced personal injury lawyer can make a huge difference with regard to your settlement. While you focus on recovering from the slip and fall, we take care of the claim and manage the complicated legal process from start to finish.
If you have questions about slip and fall cases, or a personal injury claim, we at the Monroe Law Office of J. Antonio Tramontana, want to hear from you.
For a free case review, please fill out the form to the left, or call me directly at 318-340-1515.