Slip and Fall Injuries: What must you prove?

Slip and falls are a leading cause of injury today in the United States. If an individual slips and falls in a public place and suffers an injury due to the fall, he may have legal rights. Slip and fall cases hinge upon whether the owner of the property had constructive notice. In other words, the condition must have existed long enough for the owner to reasonably know about the dangerous condition and to take precautions to prevent injury.

Louisiana’s slip and fall statute establishes a burden of proof which governs slip and fall claims against merchants. Under the statute, a merchant includes any individual selling anything in a fixed place. The plaintiff bears the burden of proving that the merchant knew about the unreasonable condition and that the merchant failed to take reasonable precautions in preventing the occurrence. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm and the risk was reasonably foreseeable to the merchant. Furthermore, in order for the plaintiff to recover, the merchant must have either created the risk or had constructive notice of the risk.

In determining whether the merchant took reasonable precautions, the absence of a cleanup procedure or safety policy is insufficient to prove a lack of reasonable care on the part of the merchant. Still, it is wise for merchants to have a policy for its employees to report spills and to clean up spills as quickly as possible because the existence of a policy may assist a merchant in defending itself in litigation. It is also important to note that Louisiana’s slip and fall statute does not apply to trespassers.

If you have been injured after a slip and fall accident, you may have legal rights. For further questions, contact Broussard, David & Moroux at 888-337-2323(toll free) or 337-233-2323 (local).

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