Outdoor Slip and Fall Accidents

Outdoor slip and fall cases

Woman walks on icy streetProperty owners – and occupiers like business tenants or landlords who have the duty of maintenance – are often found liable for slip and fall accidents because they bear some control over the property.

With control comes responsibility – responsibility to keep the property in a safe condition and to warn those legally on the property of hazards that could cause harm. These obligations extend to the outdoor properties and property owners or occupiers may be liable for injuries that take place in the parking lot or some other outdoor area.

When a Louisiana property owner fails to keep property in a safe condition and it leads to injury, attorney Bart Bernard fights for fair compensation.

Types of outdoor slip and fall cases

There is no way to count the number of situations in which someone could suffer an outdoor slip and fall injury but personal injury lawyers see certain hazards over and over again.

Unsafe parking lots

Owners of parking lots must make sure the lots are well-maintained and kept in a safe condition. Poor design can lead to dangerous sloping that is difficult for pedestrians to traverse, unnatural water and ice accumulation. Poor maintenance policies can let cracks, sunken patches, and oil deposits remain unrepaired and just waiting to cause an injury. Owners should repair cracks and other defects, and monitor for other dangerous conditions.

Poor outdoor lighting

Lack of adequate outdoor lighting in parking lots, along curbs, and in outdoor stairwells can lead to slip, trip, or fall accidents. A property owner’s duty to maintain the premises extends beyond the building interior to these potential exterior hazards.

Defects on public sidewalks

The responsibility to maintain sidewalks usually falls on cities and municipalities. The burden may shift to a business abutting the sidewalk if it has sole control of the walkway or if a feature of the business or its property causes a hazard on the sidewalk such as by discharging water in a hazardous puddle.The sidewalk should be kept in reasonably safe condition. The owner is not typically liable for injuries caused by natural accumulation of snow and ice though local ordinances can change this.

Slip and fall on ice

In many states, a slip and fall on ice or snow is a threat for the greater part of the winter months. Given the climate in Louisiana, ice and snow is much more rarely a contributor to a slip but the liability issues are a little different from other outdoor slip hazards.

The temperatures do, of course, occasionally drop enough to allow traditional winter weather and in those instances, property owners or occupiers may be liable for injuries if they improperly manage the hazard.

In general, a landlord or property owner is not liable for injuries caused by the natural accumulation of snow and ice. This means if snow is left to accumulate as it falls on a parking lot and a patron slips on it, the landlord is not liable unless a local ordinance required the removal. But if the landlord or owner shoveled the snow in a way that encouraged ice to build up and this led to the fall, the patron may recover because the fall was caused by the unnatural accumulation of snow.

Louisiana outdoor slip and fall accident liability

There is more than one premises liability statute in Louisiana and determining which will apply is the first step in analyzing a claim.

When a fall takes place in an area controlled by a private party, like the walk up to a business’s entrance or in its parking lot, a merchant standard applies. Under this standard, the claimant must show that:

  • The premises contained a condition that presented a reasonably foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm;
  • The merchant created, knew of, or should have known of the dangerous condition before the accident occurred; and
  • The merchant did not exercise reasonable care.

The liability question is answered differently when the accident takes place on public property because state statutes provide immunity to governmental entities like cities and municipalities in certain situations. To succeed on a claim for an injury that occurred on a stretch of sidewalk not controlled by a private party or on other public property, the claimant must show:

  • There was a defective thing that created an unreasonable risk of harm;
  • The city owned or had custody of the defect;
  • The city knew or should have known of the defect;
  • The city did not take action to correct the defect in a timely manner; and
  • The defect caused the claimant’s injuries.

Proving liability requires an understanding of how to meet the burden of proof and having the resources to interview witnesses, obtain maintenance records, review surveillance footage, and using these to piece together a complete picture of the accident. Bart Bernard works swiftly to establish liability and recover maximum compensation.

Outdoor slip and fall attorney

The injuries from a slip and fall accident can slow you down but Louisiana slip and fall attorney Bart Bernard takes the pressure off by taking the reins. Our team works hard to prove your case, negotiate a full and fair settlement, or take the case to trial.

We have convenient offices in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana to serve your needs. Call anytime, day or night, for a no-cost case evaluation.

Additional Outdoor Slip and Fall Resources:

  1. Justia, 2014 Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes TITLE 9 – Civil Code-Ancillaries RS 9:2800.8 – Burden of proof in claims against merchants, http://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2014/code-revisedstatutes/title-9/rs-9-2800.6
  2. Justia, 2011 Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes TITLE 9 – Civil Code-Ancillaries RS 9:2800 – Limitation of liability for public bodies, http://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/rs/title9/rs9-2800
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Important Facts about Falls, https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

Last modified: May 26, 2017


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