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What should you know about the legal side of a slip-and-fall injury?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2023 | Personal Injury

Slip-and-fall accidents are often caused by wet or slippery surfaces, uneven flooring, loose carpets, poor lighting, cluttered walkways and other hazards. Property owners have a duty of care to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn visitors of any known hazards that are present.

Injuries from slip-and-fall accidents can range from minor bruises and sprains to more severe injuries such as fractures, head trauma or spinal cord injuries. Understanding a bit about the laws concerning these accidents and injuries may help victims decide what to do in informed ways.

Legal status

The property owner’s duty of care varies depending on the injured party’s legal status. Generally, property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees and a minimal duty to trespassers. This means that you have a higher level of protection if you’re injured while visiting somewhere you’re invited than you would if you were sneaking onto someone’s property after you were told to leave.

Documentation of the incident

It is essential to document the accident scene, injuries and any relevant details to support a potential legal claim. You may include photographs, witness statements and medical records. These can come in handy if you choose to seek compensation, but it’s not always possible to get them right at the time of the incident. Opting to seek compensation quickly enables you to attempt to preserve as much evidence as possible, which is important if you couldn’t get it right away.

Statute of limitations

In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of a slip-and-fall accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. The clock starts at the time of the accident for almost all cases. If the injuries weren’t immediately noticeable, you may have longer to file, but this isn’t a sure thing.

Comparative fault for compensation

Louisiana follows the pure comparative fault rule, meaning that even if an injured party is partially at fault for the accident, they can still recover compensation. However, the amount of compensation will be reduced in proportion to their share of fault. Compensation for slip-and fall-accidents can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Notice requirement

If the slip-and-fall accident occurred on government-owned property, you may be required to file a notice of claim with the appropriate government entity. Typically, you have to do this within 180 days of the accident, so you won’t have long to consider whether you want to take action or not.

As a result, if you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall scenario, it is important to clarify your legal options quickly. Speaking with an experienced legal professional can help to provide clarity if you have questions.