Properties in Louisiana must be maintained for safety. The levels of safety vary as it depends on who the property owner or lessee is and who the injured party is. When defective conditions that were previously known cause an accident and someone is injured, there's a good chance the injured party can recover compensation.
At The Law Office of David F. Rutledge, our premises liability attorney in Acadiana handles these types of difficult cases. If you have been injured while on the property of another, whether it is a grocery store or another large business, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us at 337-CALLRUT (255-5788) to schedule a Free Consultation.
What Constitutes Defective Property Conditions in Louisiana?
Merchants (business owners) must maintain their premises in a way that permits safe use and prevents defective or dangerous property conditions. If a merchant owner or store fail to meet their duty of care to customers or invitees on their property, they could face liability for accidents and damages from unsafe conditions.
Under the theory of premises liability, the cause of the accident and the classification of the individual on the property are typically the crucial factors. If a person is a visitor, such as a guest or customer (often referred to as an invitee), they are often afforded increased protections as compared to a trespasser, who is not permitted on the property.
Visitors generally enjoy the protection from defective conditions on a property that a property owner knows or should have known about. However, one potential complication in a premises liability case involves conditions that might be open and obvious to a reasonable person.
Examples of Defective Property Conditions in Acadiana
When an individual visits a public or private property in Louisiana, they can reasonably expect the property to be safe for use and free from defective property conditions. If a defective property condition exists on the premises, a property owner might be subject to liability for any accidents caused by the defect.
Some common examples of defective property conditions that might cause injuries include:
- Icy or slippery floors
- Cluttered aisles
- Cracked or chipped flooring
- Broken stairs
- Loose or damaged carpet
- Broken or missing railings
- Uneven sidewalks at entrances
- Poor lighting conditions
- Defective equipment
Generally, a premises liability claim could be filed for injuries from any number of defective property conditions. However, it is important to remember that the injured party must establish that the property owner knew or should have known about a defective property condition and did nothing to correct the condition.
Open and Obvious Defects and Comparative Negligence in Acadiana
Although a property owner owes a duty to make premises reasonably safe for use by individuals, said duty is not absolute. One of the commonly used defenses in a premises liability case is that the defective property condition that caused an injury was open and obvious.
An open and obvious defect is one that an average person would discover on the property with normal or casual inspection of the property. This generally means that the defect would have been easily discovered by a reasonable person in the same circumstances.
Do You Need a Premise Liability Attorney in Louisiana?
If you were injured on the property of another, you might be eligible for compensation. Premise liability claims are much more difficult to handle than auto accident claims. Why?
Partly because when one is injured in an automobile accident, everyone exchanges insurance information or such vital information is found on the accident report, also known as the crash report. However, when one is injured on a merchant or owner's property, the merchant or business owner doesn't have to exchange their insurance information with the injured party. Moreover, there is not going to be a crash report filed by the police with the vital insurance information when it comes to a premise liability claim. That makes filing a premise liability claim and prosecuting it much harder because the injured person won't know which insurance company to contact. That is why gathering as much evidence at the scene as possible (such as photographs, names of witnesses, name of any employees you talked to, getting a copy of the incident report from the business if they take one) is important. It is also why it is extremely important to have an experience attorney working on your behalf.
Premise liability claims are also much harder to recover (obtain damages) than auto accident claims. Why?
Because the laws regarding auto accident liability (who is at fault) and premise liability (who is at fault) are different. This means, for an injured person to recover damages they have to prove different things when it's a premise liability claim vs an auto accident claim. As you probably already guessed, the things you have to prove under a premise liability claim are much harder than under an auto accident claim.
For instance, just because you are injured on someone else's property doesn't mean that property owner is liable to you for your damages. As mentioned above, you still have to prove things such as but not limited to:
1. The thing that caused you to fall or get injured was a defect that was unreasonable dangerous, and
2. That the Merchant or Business owner knew or should have known about that unreasonably dangerous defect and did not fix it, and
3. The unreasonably dangerous defect was not open and obvious to you.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer in Acadiana Today
Don't try to file a premise liability lawsuit on your own. At The Law Office of David F. Rutledge, Rut will fight for the outcome you deserve. Visit our results page to see results from other premise liability claims Rut has obtained on behalf of our clients. Fill out our online contact form or call us at 337-CALLRUT (255-5788) to schedule a Free Consultation.