Lake Charles Slip & Fall Attorneys - Lake Charles LA Trip & Fall Attorneys
What is Louisiana Premises Liability and how can being injured in a Lake Charles Slip & Fall accident affect you?
In layman's terms, a "slip and fall" or "trip and fall" means getting hurt on someone else's property, usually because of some negligence in maintaining or constructing the property or something on it. Legally, these types of injuries are part of a broad body of law known as Premises Liability. Other frequent types of premises liability cases involve accidents such as boxes falling off of a store shelf because they were overstocked [often seen happen at Wal-Mart stores], or a dangerous condition on land, such as an abandoned playground left open to children or the public without an adequate warning. These types of accidents occur because of the negligence of Lake Charles landowners and store-owners across Southwestern Louisiana. Lake Charles is also home to many unique premises dangers that are especially likely to occur here. Such dangers include (1) Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials [N.O.R.M.]; blighted homes and properties, cracked sidewalks, breaking balconies, and the like. If you have been injured in a Lake Charles Slip & Fall accident, contact an experienced Louisiana premises liability or Lake Charles slip and fall injury lawyer on this site for a free initial injury case evaluation.
Why Should You Obtain a Lake Charles Slip & Fall Attorney?
Lake Charles personal injury lawyers cover slip and fall cases; these cases are based in the legal issue of negligence. Hiring a knowledgeable Lake Charles slip and fall personal injury attorney to get fair compensation in a Lake Charles premises liability case is important because this area of law is constantly changing. A well-qualified and experienced Calcasieu Parish or Lake Charles premises liability lawyer will be able to assist you in this difficult area of law and will know how best to navigate the legal system to your advantage.
Construction Accident Attorneys Serving Lake Charles
Louisiana premises liability personal injury lawyers also handle construction accidents. When an injury occurs at a construction site, there is usually some type of Louisiana Workers Compensation coverage available. However, if you or a loved one were injured on the job, there may still be a potential "third party" claim against someone other than your employer. This area of the law has been the subject of much tort reform in the last decade and it is highly advisable to seek competent legal information from the construction accident or construction injury attorneys on this page to know all of your available legal rights.
How Long Do You Have To Contact a Lake Charles Slip & Fall Attorney?
In Louisiana, a "Period of Prescription" sets a deadline for filing personal injury actions, such as premises liability claims, and you should contact a Lake Charles premises liability lawyer well before the deadline. Under the Period of Prescription, often called a statute of limitations in other states, you must pursue your cause of action before the time limit has expired or else you will most likely be legally barred from seeking recovery for your injuries. In premises liability cases, regardless of whether the victim is an "invitee," "licensee," or "trespasser" on the property (see discussion below), Louisiana's prescriptive period provides that all premises liability claims must be brought within one (1) year. Similarly, under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, premises liability claims brought by children must be made within one year. This is because Louisiana Civil Code Section 3492 provides a one year prescriptive period for tort claims:
"Art. 3492. Delictual actions
Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year. This prescription commences to run from the day injury or damage is sustained. It does not run against minors or interdicts in actions involving permanent disability and brought pursuant to the Louisiana Products Liability Act or state law governing product liability actions in effect at the time of the injury or damage."
Contact a Lake Charles premises liability attorney immediately to make sure your personal injury claim is filed before time runs out!
Lake Charles Premises Liability Law - The Basics
When someone slips and falls on the land of another and suffers a personal injury, they may be entitled to monetary compensation if a dangerous or preventable condition is to blame. Lake Charles, LA landowners, store owners, local governments, the Federal Government, and other individuals responsible for maintaining a premises may have a duty to make that place safe, particularly if they invite customers in for business or if there is an "attractive nuisance" on the property that may lure children onto the land. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a slip and fall accident or another accident caused by a dangerous condition on land, a Louisiana premises liability attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
The owner or custodian of a thing is answerable for damage occasioned by its ruin, vice, or defect, only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of the ruin, vice, or defect which caused the damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.
As noted, premises liability actions are based in negligence, or legal fault. The injury must be "caused" by a "condition" upon the land (or building or item located upon the land) at issue. Not every injury on someone else's land is legally the land owner's fault. To be liable for negligence under Louisiana law, the party charged must have failed to meet the duty of care they owe to someone else under the law. Under Louisiana Civil Code Art. 2317.1, a Louisiana land-owner is responsible for injuries caused by his land when there was an unreasonable risk of harm due to a defect. The "defect must be of such a nature as to constitute a dangerous condition which would reasonably be expected to cause injury to a prudent person using ordinary care under the circumstances." The owner must have known of the defect. If the defect is one that the owner should have discovered by doing a minimal inspection of their land, then the owner can also be liable. See the next section for an explanation of the duties owed to different types of visitors under Louisiana law.
The level of care and warning that a Louisiana property owner owes people who enter his property changes due to why they are entering.
When someone goes to Kroger or the Sam's Club to buy groceries, they have legally been 'invited' on the property for business purposes. The customer is considered a "business invitee," and the grocery store owes them a specific duty of care. The law differentiates between an unwanted person, like a trespasser, entering upon land and an invited guest or business invitee. Not surprisingly, Louisiana landowners owe a lower level of care to trespassers than to people invited for business. There is an intermediate level of care owed to visitors known as licensees, who are usually guests entering the land for reasons other than business. Social guests such as friends are frequent slip and fall injury victims in Lake Charles premises liability cases involving licensees. Another complexity in the law relates to minors. Sometimes, children are owed a higher level of care than adults. Clearly, it can be difficult to determine which group an injured person fits into and how they should be treated under the law. This is one of the many reasons why you need a Lake Charles personal injury attorney to help you navigate Louisiana's premises liability laws. A summary of the levels of care in Louisiana follows:
- Invitee: An invitee is a person whom the property owner expressly or impliedly invites onto the property. The landowner owes this category of persons the highest duty of care, including taking all reasonable precautions to ensure his or her safety;
- Licensee: A licensee is a person who enters the property for their own reasons, but with the owner's consent. The owner has to warn a licensee about hidden dangers, but does not necessarily need to fix the dangers;
- Trespasser: A trespasser is a person who has no right to enter property. An owner generally has no duty to maintain his property or post warnings to protect adult trespassers. However, if the owner knows that people are likely to enter the land, an injured trespasser may be able to recover.
A Lake Charles trip and fall lawyer will next need to prove that the person being sued had control of the premises. For instance, even though the Cowboy Stadium is owned by a certain company, anyone who was injured renovating it might be able to sue a contractor who was in control of the building at the time of their injury. Alternatively, an abandoned house might be in control of Lake Charles Housing Authority, not the original owner. To show control in Louisiana, it must be proved that:
The thing which caused damage was in the defendant's custody and control
The thing had a vice or defect which created an unreasonable risk of harm
The injuries were caused by a defect
Defendant knew or should have known of unreasonable risk of harm, and
Damage could have been prevented by exercise of reasonable care, which defendant failed to exercise.
These are very hard things to prove legally and the person who owned the property will probably argue against you on each and every point. You may even need experts to help prove some of the points. This is just one of the many reasons why you should contact an experienced Lake Charles slip and fall attorney to help you get the recovery you deserve.
Finally, a Louisiana slip and fall case can be complicated by factors such as whether the situation leading to the injury is considered an activity or a condition, and whether it is a defect of the land (a hole) or a defect on the land (a pile of wet cigarette butts on a ramp).
Criminal Acts of Rape, Assault and Murder - Is the Land Owner or Occupier Liable?
While most premises liability cases are based in negligence, there are sometimes cases where a property owner is found financially responsible for a crime occurring on the property. The crimes that a property owner can be held responsible for can be anything from a mugging in a parking lot to a rape in a stairwell. In these cases, the legal issue turns upon whether the action that gave rise to the victim's injury was foreseeable and whether reasonable steps or warnings could have been taken to prevent injuries from such activities on their property. In order to recover, an injured person has to prove that the property owner could and should have taken steps to prevent the injury.
"A business proprietor owes to his patrons the duty to provide a reasonably safe place. Harris v. Pizza Hut of La., Inc., 455 So.2d 1364, 1369 (La.1984). Although he is not the insurer of his patrons or guests, the proprietor owes them a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect them in both their person and their property. De Hart v. Travelers Ins. Co., 10 So.2d 597, 598 (La.App.Orl.Cir.1942); Borne v. Bourg, 327 So.2d 607, 610 (La.App. 4th Cir.1976); Anderson v. Clements, 284 So. 2d 341, 344 (La.App. 4th Cir.1973). This general duty to protect extends to harm from insult, annoyance, and danger. Anderson at 344." - Toups v. Hawkins, 518 So. 2d 1077(La. App. 5 Cir. 1987).
These issues can be very difficult for you to prove and can require experts and witnesses as well. Research needs to be done about what the property owner knew, as well as what they should have known from sources like police reports and crime statistics. Every case is different. Just because there is one type of crime in an area doesn't mean that the owner is responsible for preventing another type of crime, even if it may seem obvious to you. For example, just because car break-ins are common in the area, does not necessarily mean that a property owner should take steps from preventing other types of crimes, such as muggings and rapes in the same parking lot. Despite these difficulties, a qualified Lake Charles premises liability lawyer will help you prove all the elements of your case.
Helpful Resources for Lake Charles Residents
Lake Charles Courts
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
Calcasieu 14th Judicial District Court
Lake Charles Emergency Services Contact Information
Lake Charles Police Department
Lake Charles Fire Department
Louisiana State Police (Highway Patrol)
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
Lake Charles Emergency Management
Hospitals in the greater Lake Charles area:
Christus Health Southwestern Lousiana
Dubuis Hospital of Lake Charles
Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
W. O. Moss Regional Medical Center
Women & Children's Hospital
Iowa Health Center
Cornerstone Hospital of Southwest Louisiana
West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital
For more information on Louisiana personal injury law, see
Find a Lake Charles Slip and Fall Lawyer, a Lake Charles Personal Injury Lawyer, or a Lake Charles Premises Liability Lawyer now!
Serving clients throughout Southwestern Louisiana, including Carlyss, Holmwood, Iowa, Lake Charles, Moss Bluff, Port of Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake, and other communities in Calcasieu Parish.
All of the qualified Lake Charles premises liability attorneys listed at the top of this page have experience dealing with "slip and fall" accidents as well as other types of premises liability lawsuits. These lawyers will zealously pursue your claim. To find a Lake Charles Premises Liability lawyer, simply look at the box in the top-left corner of this page. The lawyers listed there are licensed, experienced slip - and - fall attorneys.