Premises Liability Explained.

Empty entrance to a public bathroom

Injuries can occur in any number of ways. One common way people get injured—at work, at a friend’s home, at the store, while walking down the sidewalk—is by tripping and falling.

In law, “premises liability” is the legal theory that makes property owners responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their premises. The law requires all property owners to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition so that people entering the property will not get hurt.

Sounds simple enough.

But it's not.

Not only can the injuries sustained by the victim in a trip and fall (or “slip and fall”) case be devastating and long-lasting, these types of cases can be quite difficult to prove. This is why, if you have experienced a slip and fall, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Different Standards for Different Property Owners.

One of the things that makes slip and fall cases challenging is the fact that there are a number of elements that have to be proven in each case, and that those elements change depending on where the accident occurred.

In premises liability cases there are different legal standards that apply to different classes of property owners. The classes of property owners are merchants, publicly-owned property, and non-merchant privately owned property.

Depending on who owns the property, what must be proven in each case will be different.

So, for example, in Louisiana, the Merchant Liability Statute specifically defines who is a “merchant” under the law, and what a plaintiff (i.e., the injured person) must prove in order to prevail in a slip and fall case against a merchant.

Briefly, to win a slip and fall case against a merchant, the injured person must prove that:

  • a condition existed on the premises that created an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff that was foreseeable;
  • the merchant either created the condition or had actual or constructive notice of it;
  • the merchant failed to exercise reasonable care; and
  • plaintiff was harmed as a result.

For falls that occur on public sidewalks, the plaintiff must prove an entirely different set of elements. In addition, the injured person must prove that in tripping and falling, he did not breach his own duty of care as a pedestrian.

Pedestrians, while not required to look for hidden dangers, have the duty to exercise reasonable care when walking and to be aware of their surroundings. That means that they are expected to see (and go around or not trip over) any obvious obstacles. Which means, for example, that a pedestrian who slips and falls because he was texting or looking at his phone instead of where he was going, will be apportioned some fault for his injuries.

Because these cases can be challenging and complicated to prove, it is best to enlist the assistance of experienced and knowledgeable counsel.

Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney ToDay.   

At the Day Law Group, we are experienced, personal injury attorneys. We work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured, call us.  We offer free consultations, and in most cases, we don’t get paid unless you win. Contact us ToDay or call (225) 465-1232.

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