Shreveport Slip and Fall Illustrates Law’s Approach to Liability

If you have slipped and fallen in a Louisiana store, you may not realize you are not alone. What’s more, you might not understand that you may have the legal rights to make a claim against the store for the incident. Just recently a lawsuit was filed in western Louisiana by a customer of a store who injured herself on the premise. These types of cases are classically known as “slip and fall” case. The victim in this case, Leona Jordan, was shopping at Walmart when she slipped on water that had accumulated on the floor and fell. Jordan was injured and hurt her hip, back, knee, and leg.

These types of accidents are far from rare. In fact, earlier this month Ellen Hickman injured herself at a Louisiana Dollar General store. She slipped and fell on a small plastic toy. As a result of the accident, she hurt her lower back, back of her head, ankle, and right leg.

If you have had a similar experience, you should know that Louisiana has laws in place to protect you.

A Merchant’s Duty to Customers on Premises
Under the law in place in Louisiana, a merchant or store owner owes a duty to all people who are on their premises. This duty requires the merchant “to exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe condition.” La. R.S. 9:2800.6(A). This means that if you enter a store, the store owner has a duty to act with reasonable care to ensure that the aisles and floors are clear from hazards. If the store owner breaches this duty, you may be able to sue.

What a Victim Must Prove to Establish a Claim Against a Merchant
If you have slipped and fallen in a store, you must establish three basic elements to impose liability on the store owner. These elements are required under Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2800.6(B).

First, you must show that the condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm to you and that risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable. Second, you must be able to show that the merchant either created or had actual or constructive notice of the condition which caused the damage, prior to the occurrence. For example, if a merchant was notified about the dangerous condition by another customer prior to your accident, the merchant had notice. A merchant would have “constructive notice” if you could prove that the condition existed for such a long period of time that the merchant should have known about it had he exercised reasonable care. For example, you can likely establish “constructive notice” if you slip on milk in the milk aisle of a grocery store if the spilled milk was lying on the floor for several hours. Lastly, you must be able to show that the merchant failed to exercise reasonable care. This element would be established if you could show that the manager was notified about the hazard, but failed to have someone clean it up. This would be a failure to exercise reasonable care, as a “reasonable” merchant would clean up a slippery substance on the floor that may cause harm to customers.

As you can see the judiciary has a system of laws in place to prevent claims from being made too loosely while at the same time making sure that if someone has been injured that their rights are protected. Should you be involved in a similar incident, it is important to recognize your legal rights while at the same time hiring an attorney that can represent you in a court of law. In the case of a slip and fall there might also be evidence and documentation that must be preserved in order to successfully litigate.

If you have been a victim of a store owner’s negligence and hurt yourself as a result, get help now. Contact the attorneys at the Berniard Law Firm at 1-866-574-8005.