Factual Considerations in Louisiana Premises Accident Cases

December 10, 2020 Accident

Factual Considerations in Louisiana Premises Accident Cases

Under Louisiana law, property owners can be held legally responsible for an injury caused by a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property. Property owners have a duty to keep their property free of such hazards and to ensure the safety of visitors, guests and even trespassers (to an extent). This duty also applies to those who rent or hold property, like a merchant or property lessee. If you or loved ones have been injured because of a hazardous condition related to real property, you are entitled to sue under Louisiana law. Premises liability law is complex and you will need to hire experienced personal injury attorneys like those at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. You have a RIGHT to recover money damages if you have been the innocent victim of a hazardous or dangerous condition.

Here are a few of the factual considerations that your trusted Louisiana personal injury attorneys will investigate while handling your case:

What is the status of the person who was injured?

Under Louisiana law, the level of care that is owed by a property owner is different depending on whether the person injured is invited, is allowed to be on the property or is a trespasser. As one might expect, the highest level of care must be given to invited guests, like a customer at a retail store or guests invited to a home. For example, by law, a store owner is required to “… exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe condition.” See La. Revised Stat. § 9:2800.6.

How long had the hazardous condition existed?

In general, a property owner is legally liable for hazardous conditions that are known. One factor that helps prove knowledge is how long the hazardous condition existed. The longer the condition existed, the more likely the property owner knew of the condition or should have known about the risk. Foreseeability is also an issue with respect to liability. Again, one fact issue that can help prove that the risk of harm was foreseeable is how long the hazardous condition existed.

Was the risk unreasonable?

In general, the more hazardous the condition, the greater the level of duty that a property owner has.

Did the property owner conduct checks for hazards?

 Another fact issue that can help prove knowledge and foreseeability is whether the property owner conducted any sort of checks for hazardous conditions. For example, a store owner should conduct checks for aisle obstructions and hazards on a regular basis. Property owners in Louisiana are not allowed to be “willfully blind” about hazardous conditions.

Were warnings posted or caution signs set out?

 One aspect of a property owner’s duty of care is to post warnings or put out caution signs/cones once a hazardous condition is known. Failure to warn of the potential risk of injury is a violation of a property owner’s duty. For example, if water has pooled in an aisle next to a malfunctioning dairy case in a grocery store, “caution” cones or other warnings should be set out immediately and in close proximity to the hazard.

Did the property owner take steps to fix a hazardous condition and when?

Once a hazard or dangerous condition becomes known, property owners have a duty to begin remediating the condition. Among the fact questions to be explored in a premises liability personal injury case is what steps were taken, when were the remedial steps taken and were those steps effective?

Number of hazardous conditions in the past?  

Yet another fact question that bears on knowledge and foreseeability is whether hazardous conditions have occurred in the past or have been frequent with respect to the property or the specific condition that caused injury.

Maintenance, lighting and other property conditions  

Many other fact questions bear on the issue of foreseeability, including matters like regular maintenance of equipment, aisles, and walkways. If maintenance and repairs are done often, then the foreseeability of harm is reduced. Lighting is another fact question. The more well-lit an area, the lower the foreseeable risk of harm, particularly if the area is accessible during the night.

Mansfield Melancon Attorneys can Help: Call Today

If you have been the victim of an accident on someone else’s property, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record of success handling many types of Louisiana personal injury cases, including, but not limited to, car accidents, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability accidents, and cases involving nursing care facility abuse/neglect. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.