Slip and Fall Injuries
You can have a slip or trip just about anywhere, from a grocery store or restaurant to a friend’s house or neighbor’s yard. While many falls result in no injury at all, many are very serious. You may know immediately that you’ve been injured, from dizziness or immobility, or the tell-tale snap of an ACL, for example. You may however feel fine immediately after a fall, but you may still have suffered serious injury that only becomes apparent after the fact.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 3.1 million people sought emergency medical treatment in 2019 after a fall on stairs, ramps, landings, or floors, making slip and fall accidents among the top reasons for an Emergency Department visit in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 36,000 people died in the United States each year as the result of falling. It ranks third as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. behind accidental poisoning and traffic deaths. Slips or trips can be even more dangerous for seniors. According to the CDC, both men and women over 65 are significantly more likely to die from a slip and fall injury than their younger counterparts, making it the leading cause of accidental death in that age group.
Louisiana Law & Slip Or Trip And Fall Accidents
There are a number of Louisiana statutes that can come into play in the case of a slip or trip and fall injury, each with their own rules, deadlines and processes. Two important sets of Louisiana laws to understand if you are injured are premise liability and negligence.
Louisiana premises liability law can apply when the condition or use of a property causes someone to be injured. Under this law, the owner or person responsible for a property has a duty to exercise “reasonable care.” By failing in their duty, the responsible party caused damage that could have been prevented. For example, an apartment building’s wheelchair accessible ramp that is damaged over time and not repaired in a timely manner could cause a senior resident to fall and fracture her hip. The building owner, building operator, or other third party may share liability for the senior’s injuries.
Louisiana negligence law may apply when a party fails in their duty to exercise reasonable care and creates a situation that leads to injury that could have been prevented. Similarly to premise liability, negligence law requires establishing a duty to exercise reasonable care that the responsible party failed to meet through action or inaction, and showing that the breach caused the injury and as a result of this the injured party suffered damages. For example, if grocery store workers were not trained in proper protocol for spill cleanup and a patron slipped and fell as a result of an improperly cleaned spill, the grocery store chain could potentially share liability.
What To Do If You Have A Slip And Fall Accident In Louisiana
We’ve all experienced it: slipping or tripping can feel embarrassing. Most people want to brush it off, forget it happened, and quickly move on. We blush, jump to our feet (if we can), and assure everyone, “no, no, I’m fine.” But you should pause and follow these essential steps if you’ve had a slip and fall; your health is more much important than saving face:
- 1- Seek medical care right away–even if your injuries seem minor. Your body can take time to show serious damage caused by a slip or trip. For example, feeling light-headed or dizzy after a fall could be your only initial symptom of a traumatic brain injury that could have lasting consequences for your health and quality of life. Or what feels like a deep bruise could, in fact, be a fractured hip or pelvis. A herniated disc may not show symptoms until your body’s endorphins from the accident wear off (hours or sometimes even days later). It is always best to err on the side of caution and seek treatment right away.
- 2- Document the accident. If the accident occurred at a business, ask for a written incident report. If you are with someone, ask them to get contact information for any witnesses to the accident and photos of the area around the accident. If the fall happened at a private residence, ask for the homeowner for insurance information.
- 3- Don’t make any public statements about fault or blame for the incident. You may be asked by an insurance claims adjustor or corporate designee to explain the details of the events surrounding the slip or trip and your fall. Try to limit your statements to only the facts of the event–don’t take the blame or assign any blame. For example, we tend to say things like, “I guess I should have been more careful” or “Phew, I’m clumsy” to smooth over any uncomfortable situation. Remember that insurance companies and corporations and those who represent them are going to work hard to protect their interests, and they count on most people who are injured settling for the first offer they are given. They allocate lots of money to compensate accident victims, but their job is to keep each claim as low as possible to protect their bottom line.
- 4- Speak with a trusted attorney skilled in Louisiana premise liability and personal injury law before you sign anything. You deserve the peace of mind that comes from understanding your rights and options and having a dedicated team looking out for your interests if you are injured in a slip or trip and fall accident.
Call TheCharbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip or trip and fall accident, regardless of where it occurred, call now for a free consultation with a member of our dedicated legal team.
The insurance companies and big corporations have an army of adjusters and lawyers looking out for their bottom line. You deserve a trusted, skilled attorney on your side, looking out for your family’s interests and fighting for the best possible compensation for your injuries.
At TheCharbonnet Law Firm, our first priority is you. We are proud to have served clients in Louisiana for more than five decades. Call today. We can help you understand your case and your options, and what comes next.
Personal Injury Law In Louisiana
Every day, on our roadways, in our public spaces, or in medical facilities or other businesses, people are injured in Louisiana. Some require medical attention for their injuries. Some injuries result in lifelong disability or death.
Charbonnet Law Firm may be able to help you if you or someone you love has been injured in an accident. We specialize in help Louisianans win compensation for their injuries, in the following areas of personal injury law:
- 1. Car Accidents
- 2. Commercial Truck Accidents
- 3. Defective Products
- 4. Dog Bites
- 5. Medical Malpractice including Injuries at Birth
- 6. Professional Malpractice
- 7. Slip and Fall Injuries
- 8. Workplace Injuries
- 9.Wrongful Death
Louisiana personal injury law can be a complicated system to navigate with overlapping statutes and unevenly updated laws. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you navigate this system and understand your rights if you’ve been injured.
Damages In Louisiana Personal Injury Cases
In personal injury cases, damages are the dollar amount meant to compensate the injured person for all financial losses, as well as pain and suffering, from the accident.
If you have been injured by the actions, negligence, or malpractice of another, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. Compensation can include the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, lost future wages, pain and suffering, the cost of modifications or equipment to help you live with or heal from injuries, and more.
Who Determining Damages In A Personal Injury Case?
In order to win compensation that accurately reflects the seriousness of your injuries, you must build a case that documents those injuries, any pain and suffering, lost wages, projected lost future wages, and more. Insurance companies always protect their bottom line and will almost certainly not account for all of your damages when offering you a settlement. They count on most accident victims settling quickly and taking the first offer made to them. That is why contacting a skilled personal injury attorney knowledgeable in Louisiana case law is so important.
Most cases are settled without going to court, in which case a negotiation between the insurance company and the injured party (and your legal representation) will lead to an agreement on damages and the terms of a settlement. If a case goes to trial, a judge or jury will determine liability and the amount of any damages.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Louisiana is a “comparative negligence” state, meaning the injured party in a case may be found to be partially at fault for the accident. For example, if you are injured in a car accident in which the other driver ran a red light but you were found to be speeding, you may be assigned a percentage of liability for the accident. Your award would then be reduced by the percentage that you are at fault.
Determining who is at fault, who must pay compensation, and how much that compensation must be is a complex legal process. Winning the best outcome is often based on experience, specialized knowledge, negotiation skills and persuasion. That is why it is so important to find a trusted, skilled attorney experienced in Louisiana personal injury law right away if you are injured in an accident.
Are There Caps On Damages In Louisiana Law?
A cap is a limit on the amount or type of damages a person can receive. In Louisiana, medical malpractice damages are typically capped at $500,000. Providers found liable for medical malpractice only pay $100,000 if they are covered by the state’s Patient Compensation Fund, and the injured patient receives any amount over $100,000 directly from the fund. It is important to note that this cap does not apply to future medical expenses, and it does not apply to injury cases that do not involve medical malpractice.
Common Injuries Covered Under Personal Injury Law In Louisiana
Each area of personal injury law has a set of common injuries associated with it, while uncommon injuries are always possible. If you have experienced any of these injuries as a result of another party’s actions, negligence or medical malpractice, it is important to speak with an attorney knowledgeable in Louisiana personal injury law to determine if another party is legally liable for your injuries.
Common vehicle accident injuries include whiplash, brain and spinal cord injuries (e.g. traumatic brain injury or herniated disc), broken or fractured bones (especially ribs and knees), internal bleeding and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Injuries from medical malpractice can vary widely in their type and severity but most are caused by the following medical errors: misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, errors made during childbirth, surgical errors, anesthesia errors, errors in prescribing medication, and negligence in care.
Patients injured in Slip and Fall accidents often present with head injuries (e.g. traumatic brain injury), broken bones, hip fractures, sprained ankles or wrists, spinal cord injuries, knee damage, shoulder injuries or nerve damage.
When To Talk To An Attorney
While you are recovering, you may not fully understand the long-term consequences and the full costs of your injuries. Dealing with hospitals, doctors’ offices and insurance companies when you also must focus on getting well can feel overwhelming.
You should not rely on an insurance company to protect your best interests. In fact, in cases that would be costly to their bottom line, an insurance company might press injured parties for a quick settlement. The insurance company may offer you a much smaller settlement than what is in line with the seriousness of your injuries.
One thing is certain: If you are injured, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney before you sign any settlement. Without getting sound legal advice, you could be signing away your right to compensation that you and your family need for years to come.
There is a one-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases under Louisiana law. This means that any lawsuit for damages must be filed with the court within one calendar year from the date of the accident. But building a strong case can take time and the closer to that deadline the less leverage you have to negotiate with insurers.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact a skilled attorney with experience in Louisiana personal injury cases today. At Charbonnet Law Firm, our skilled legal team will be by your side every step of the way, helping you navigate the legal and insurance systems, and building the strongest case possible to win the compensation you deserve.
Call Charbonnet Law Firm Today
Call Charbonnet Law Firm today for a free consultation with a member of our dedicated legal team. At Charbonnet, our first priority is you. We will help you understand your case and your options, and what comes next. Let us give you the peace of mind of having a trusted, experienced attorney fighting for you.