When we visit our local supermarkets, we should have the expectation that hazards such as spills or construction are promptly handled. If hazards cannot be quickly dealt with, stores have a duty to put up caution signs warning customers of dangers. Stores who fail to put up these signs could be held liable if customers are injured from slips and falls.
Take for example the case of a Lafayette woman who has filed a lawsuit against a local Walmart for failing to clean up a spill. Earlier this month, the woman was shopping in the frozen food section when she stepped on a large puddle and fell. Due to the angle of the fall, she injured her knee, back and buttocks.
Before judging this woman or her lawsuit as ‘frivolous’, please consider that slip and fall accidents can result in significant injuries. Imagine if this woman had been your grandmother or child. Some people, especially children and the elderly, may not react in time to brace during a fall.
People injured by negligent businesses are not filing lawsuits out of revenge or as get rich quick schemes, but because they often have huge medical bills, lengthy periods of rehabilitation and missed work. These are just the economic costs, and many who are catastrophically injured from slip and fall accidents also have a great deal of pain and suffering.
How Premises Liability Claims in Louisiana Work
Stores that allow hazardous conditions to persist may be held liable when customers are injured. However, premises liability claims in Louisiana can be tricky because businesses and injured customers can share fault. We can use a hypothetical example to explain this concept further.
A Lafayette man decides it’s a great night to buy some Blue Bell ice cream and a bottle of wine at his local supermarket. As he walks into the supermarket, he pulls out his mobile phone and starts playing Angry Birds. Unbeknownst to him, he is approaching a very large puddle in the middle of the frozen foods section. Within seconds, he falls and slams into the hard floor, suffering a severe back injury.
The man sues the supermarket and his case goes before a court. It is decided he is 30 percent responsible and the store 70 percent. It turns out that while the store failed to clean or warn about the spill, the man may have avoided it had he been paying attention. If the damages awarded were $100,000, his award would be $70,000. Keep in mind this is only a hypothetical situation used to describe comparative negligence.
Customers do not deserve to be injured while shopping. Fortunately, there are many cases where injured customers can hold negligent businesses accountable.
The Lafayette personal injury attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat have 20 years of experience helping people injured by negligent businesses.