Man slips and falls outside sidewalk of a shop

Can I Sue a Business if I Was Hurt on Their Property? 

Arthur W. Landry and Jeanne Andry Landry, Attorneys at Law, LLC  July 3, 2024

Understanding your legal rights is fundamental when you've been injured on someone else's property, particularly on business premises. Whether it’s a slip and fall at a grocery store, a trip on uneven flooring in a restaurant, or a hazardous obstacle in a hotel, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against the business for negligent maintenance or unsafe conditions.

Attorneys Arthur Landry and Jeanne Andry Landry understand how pressing these situations can be, which is why they're here to provide compassionate legal guidance. The firm proudly serves clients in New Orleans, Louisiana, and throughout Metairie, Mandeville, Slidell, and Chalmette.  

Premises Liability in Louisiana 

In Louisiana, premises liability laws dictate the circumstances under which a property owner, including a business, can be held responsible for injuries sustained on their property.  

Louisiana follows a comparative fault system, meaning that the injured party's compensation may be reduced based on their level of fault in the incident. Here are some specific considerations for premises liability in Louisiana: 

  1. Statutory duty of care: Louisiana law requires property owners to exercise reasonable care in keeping their premises free from hazardous conditions.  

  1. Merchant liability statute: Louisiana has specific statutes governing accidents occurring in commercial establishments. Under RS 9:2800.6, you must prove that the merchant created the hazard, knew about it, or should have known about it through reasonable diligence. 

  1. Notice and opportunity to correct: The injured party must demonstrate that the business had actual or constructive notice of the hazardous condition and had a reasonable opportunity to correct it before the injury occurred. 

  1. Comparative fault: Under Louisiana’s comparative fault rule, if you are partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. 

  1. Filing deadlines: In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is one year from the date of the injury. This means you must file a lawsuit within this timeframe to seek compensation. 

Understanding these regulations is crucial for effectively navigating a premises liability claim in Louisiana. Consulting with an experienced attorney can further aid in understanding your rights and determining the best course of action for your situation. 

What Constitutes Negligence? 

Negligence refers to a failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would in similar circumstances, leading to harm or injury to another. It involves actions or omissions that fall below the standard of care expected, and it can manifest in various ways. Here are some common examples that can reinforce your claim: 

  • Failure to maintain premises: This includes not fixing issues like broken flooring, loose railings, or malfunctioning lights. 

  • Inadequate security: Failing to provide sufficient security measures, leading to injuries caused by criminal activities. 

  • Lack of proper signage: Not warning customers about wet floors, construction areas, or other hazards. 

Comparative Negligence in Louisiana 

As mentioned earlier, Louisiana, the legal principle of comparative negligence can significantly impact the compensation you receive after an injury. This rule means that if you are found to be partially at fault for your own injuries, your compensation will be adjusted according to your degree of fault.  

For example, if you are deemed to be 30% responsible for the accident, your total compensation will be reduced by 30%. 

The courts will also evaluate whether you exercised reasonable care to protect yourself from harm. Even if a hazard was present, the court will examine the steps you took to ensure your own safety.  

Speak with a reliable personal injury that can analyze your case and determine your options.  

Steps to Take If You Are Hurt on Business Property

If you've been injured on business property, taking prompt actions not only ensures your well-being but also strengthens your potential claim: 

  1. Seek medical attention: Immediate medical care is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that your injuries are properly treated, which can prevent further complications. Secondly, medical records serve as vital documentation of your injuries, providing an objective account that can support your claim. 

  1. Report the incident: Inform the business manager or owner of the accident as soon as possible. Ensure that they document the incident in their records. Request a copy of the incident report for your own records. 

  1. Gather evidence: Collect as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. Take clear, detailed photos of the area where the incident occurred, your injuries, and any hazards that contributed to your fall, such as wet floors, broken stairs, or poor lighting.  

  1. Collect witness information: Witnesses can provide a third-party account of the incident, which can be invaluable. Obtain the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of anyone who saw the accident.  

  1. Document everything: Keep a detailed record of everything related to the incident. This includes medical bills, transportation costs to and from medical appointments, lost wages if you had to miss work, and any other expenses directly related to the injury.  

  1. Consult an attorney: Consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in premises liability. They can provide valuable guidance and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the claims process. 

Taking these thorough steps can significantly strengthen your claim and increase your chances of obtaining a fair settlement or judgment. 

Legal Process for Filing a Claim

Navigating a personal injury claim against a business involves several steps: 

  • Consult with an attorney: A personal injury attorney can provide a thorough evaluation of your case. 

  • Investigation: Your attorney will gather evidence, including surveillance footage, maintenance records, and witness statements. 

  • Filing the claim: Your attorney will file a formal claim outlining the injuries, evidence, and requested compensation. 

  • Negotiation: Often, claims are settled through negotiations with the business's insurance company.  

  • Litigation: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to court. 

Potential Compensation

If your claim is successful, there are several types of damages you might recover. Here’s a closer look at each: 

  • Medical expenses: This covers all medical treatments related to your injury, including hospital stays, surgeries, prescription medications, physical therapy, and any future medical care that may be needed as a result of the injury. Keeping detailed records of all medical bills and treatments is crucial for substantiating your claim. 

  • Lost wages: This compensation covers the income you have lost due to your inability to work during the recovery period. It can also include future lost earnings if the injury impacts your ability to work long-term or results in a diminished earning capacity. Documenting your employment history, salary details, and work absences is important for calculating lost wages accurately. 

  • Pain and suffering: These damages compensate for ongoing physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury. This can extend to mental anguish, anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. The calculation of pain and suffering damages is often subjective and may require testimonies from medical professionals, as well as psychological evaluations to support the claim. 

  • Property damage: This includes the repair or replacement costs for any belongings that were damaged or destroyed during the incident. This can range from personal property like electronics and jewelry to larger items like vehicles. Providing receipts, repair estimates, and photos of the damaged property can help validate these claims. 

By understanding these categories and meticulously documenting all related expenses and impacts, you can strengthen your claim and ensure you receive the full compensation you are entitled to. 

Why You Need Legal Representation 

Personal injury law can be tough, especially against a business, it requires professional legal expertise. A seasoned personal injury attorney will analyze your situation and provide legal help where needed.  

Contact Arthur W. Landry and Jeanne Andry Landry, Attorneys at Law, LLC for a comprehensive consultation to discuss your potential claims and the next steps in securing the compensation you deserve.