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The Legalities of Slip and Fall Accidents in Louisiana: What Victims Need to Know

Posted in Slip & Fall Accidents on September 4, 2023

A customer at a Bourbon Street hot spot has initiated a lawsuit after a slip and fall accident. The legal action, filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, alleges she suffered severe injuries after slipping on an unknown substance while visiting The Beach on Bourbon. The defendant is charged with multiple failures, including not safeguarding against hazardous conditions, improper property management, and not alerting patrons to potential risks. The victim is seeking unspecified damages for various reasons, including physical pain, emotional distress, medical costs, and loss of future earnings.

Slip and fall accidents can happen unexpectedly and leave victims with more than just physical injuries. In Louisiana, these incidents often involve intricate legal elements, making it challenging for victims to understand their rights and options. While many might think a slip and fall is a straightforward matter, Louisiana law adds layers of complexity. For instance, premises liability and comparative fault are two legal concepts that play a significant role in determining the outcome of a case. Additionally, the state’s unique laws, influenced by both civil and common law traditions, can impact how a slip and fall claim proceeds. 

Initial Steps: Vital Actions Following a Slip and Fall Incident

After experiencing a slip and fall accident, immediate actions can significantly impact any future legal proceedings. First, it’s important to document the scene. Taking photos or videos can serve as valuable evidence later on. If there are witnesses, gathering their contact information can also be beneficial. Second, medical attention should be sought right away, even if injuries seem minor. Medical records can provide an objective account of injuries sustained, which may prove useful in establishing a claim. Third, it’s advisable to report the incident to the property owner or manager and obtain a copy of the report, if possible. Lastly, keeping a detailed account of events, medical treatments, and any communication with involved parties can offer a comprehensive view of the incident’s aftermath. 

Louisiana Premises Liability Law: A Brief Overview

In Louisiana, premises liability law governs situations where someone gets injured on another person’s property, including slip and fall accidents. One key aspect is the duty of care owed by property owners. Simply put, owners must maintain a safe environment for visitors. However, the level of care varies depending on the visitor’s status: invitee, licensee, or trespasser. For invitees and licensees, such as customers in a store, owners are generally expected to fix hazards or at least warn of them. For trespassers, the duty is less stringent; owners should not intentionally create hazards.

Another noteworthy point is Louisiana’s adoption of comparative fault. In a slip and fall case, both the property owner and injured party’s actions are examined. If the injured party is found partially at fault, any compensation awarded will be reduced by the percentage of their fault. 

Importance of Evidence: Collecting and Preserving Crucial Information

In the aftermath of a slip and fall accident, collecting and preserving evidence can make a significant difference when seeking justice or compensation. Photographic or video evidence of the accident scene can provide a visual account of conditions that may have contributed to the fall. It’s also beneficial to collect contact information from any witnesses who can later provide statements supporting the victim’s account.

Medical records serve as another form of important evidence. Prompt medical attention not only ensures proper treatment but also provides an official record of injuries sustained. These documents can later substantiate claims about the severity of injuries and their impact on quality of life.

Keeping a personal journal detailing the incident, subsequent medical treatments, and any communication with involved parties can also be helpful. A well-documented account can offer a comprehensive view of events, aiding in the understanding of one’s rights and options under Louisiana law.

Importance of Evidence: Collecting and Preserving Information

In the realm of slip and fall accidents, evidence serves as the backbone of any legal claim. Photographs or videos of the accident scene can capture conditions like wet floors or uneven surfaces, providing a visual narrative of what led to the incident. Witness accounts also carry weight; hence, collecting contact details of those who saw the event can be advantageous.

Medical records are another pillar in building a strong case. Immediate medical attention not only addresses injuries but also creates an official record, which can be pivotal in establishing the severity and cause of injuries.

Maintaining a personal journal chronicles the incident, medical treatments, and any interactions with property owners or managers can offer a comprehensive perspective. By diligently collecting and preserving such information, individuals arm themselves with the tools needed to understand their legal standing within Louisiana’s complex slip and fall laws.

Statute of Limitations: Time Constraints for Filing a Claim

In Louisiana, time plays a significant role in slip and fall cases due to the statute of limitations. Generally, victims have one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Missing this deadline often means forfeiting the right to seek any form of legal remedy or compensation. While a year may seem like ample time, the process of gathering evidence, obtaining medical records, and understanding the legal landscape can be time-consuming.

Exceptions to the one-year rule are rare but do exist. For example, minors typically have until their 19th birthday to file a claim. However, relying on exceptions can be risky, and not guaranteed to apply in every situation.

Comparative Fault in Louisiana: How It Affects Your Case

Slip and Falls Injuries

In Louisiana, the concept of comparative fault can significantly impact the outcome of a slip and fall case. Under this legal principle, both the victim and the property owner’s actions are scrutinized to determine their respective levels of responsibility for the accident. For example, if a court finds a victim 20% at fault for not noticing a warning sign, any compensation awarded would be reduced by percentage.

Comparative fault adds a layer of complexity to slip and fall cases, as it requires a nuanced understanding of how actions or inactions contributed to the incident. It also underscores the importance of gathering comprehensive evidence to minimize one’s degree of fault.

If you have suffered a slip and fall injury, contact us or call (504) 500-5000 today for a free consultation.