Articles Posted in Other Injury

posted-warning-In a recent case from south-central Louisiana, a shopper who slipped and fell in a grocery store aisle near a “Wet Floor” sign was unable to pursue her case against the store. Although the shopper’s evidence included contradictory testimony about the basis for the sign’s placement, her case still fell short. The Louisiana Court of Appeal‘s decision reminds businesses and patrons that, to succeed in a Louisiana Merchant Liability Statute case, the injured person needs proof that the store caused the hazard and that the hazard had existed for “some period of time.”

The source of this case was the injuries Regina Williams suffered while shopping at a Super 1 Foods store in New Iberia. Williams and her daughter were walking down the frozen foods aisle when they spotted a “Wet Floor” sign. The women passed the sign, and, a few steps later, Williams slipped and fell on what she described as a puddle of water. Williams sued the store’s owner, Brookshire Grocery Co., for her injuries.

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hanging-traffic-lightsIn any civil trial, the entity charged with weighing the evidence and issuing a verdict (whether it’s a jury in a jury trial or a judge in a bench trial) has many tasks. One of the most important ones is deciding which witnesses are credible and which are not. The law gives a jury (or a judge in a bench trial) wide breadth in making these decisions. That latitude figured into a recent Louisiana Court of Appeal decision upholding a judgment in favor of an injured driver. Although witnesses differed on who ran the red light, the trial judge was within his bounds to find the injured driver’s witnesses more credible.

The accident leading to this case involved a fairly common set of facts. In March 2014, Vicke Mosley was driving south on a four-lane road in Shreveport when she approached an intersection that was regulated by traffic lights. Mosley drove through the intersection where her car collided with that of Jacob Griffin, who was driving east on the intersecting road. Each driver claimed that their light was green. The testimony of other witnesses was mixed, with some saying Mosley entered the intersection on a yellow light and others pointing to Griffin for advancing while his light was red.

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mardi-gras-beads-closeupAnother Mardi Gras has just come and gone. Hundreds of thousands of revelers descended on New Orleans to partake of the pageantry and festivity. Mardi Gras inevitably comes with some risk of injury. Certainly, there are things that the government, the krewes, and the revelers themselves can do to keep everyone safe, but injuries sometimes happen anyway. With that in mind, a Louisiana Court of Appeal decision from last spring offers some helpful insight into what the law can (and cannot) do for you if you’ve been injured during Mardi Gras.

The spectator in the case was Rose Ann Citron, who sued the Krewe of Endymion for injuries she suffered at the 2012 Endymion Extravaganza. (The extravaganza is an invitation-only continuation of the Endymion Parade that usually is held inside the Superdome.) The krewe throws beads to spectators below during both the parade and the subsequent extravaganza. Citron, whose husband was aboard an Endymion float, was struck in the head by a bag of beads. The impact knocked her unconscious. She suffered a concussion along with injuries to her eyes, nose, and mouth.

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rabbit-holeA man who seriously injured his ankle when he was walking across a grassy lawn was unable to recover damages for the injuries he suffered. He lost because the owner of property was a public entity, and, according to the law of premises liability as applied to public entities, the hole did not represent an “unreasonable risk of harm.” The ruling by the Louisiana Court of Appeal highlights the differences that can exist in pursuing a premises liability case against a public entity as opposed to a private one.

The injured man in this case, Marcushawn Smith, was walking across a piece of property that was owned by the City of Ville Platte’s Housing Authority. The property contained a grassy lawn and also some sidewalks around the lawn. Smith bypassed the sidewalks and chose to walk through the grassy area when he stepped into a hole that was 4-5 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Smith fell and seriously injured his ankle in the incident. The man sued the housing authority for premises liability, specifically for failing to maintain the grassy area in a proper and safe manner. The housing authority asked the court to throw out the case, and the trial judge did so.

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parking lotA woman who fell at a Shreveport supermarket was unable to identify exactly what caused her to fall and, as a result, was unable to proceed with her injury lawsuit against the store. Only after the woman’s husband returned to the store and photographed a crack in the store parking lot did the couple identify the cause of the accident. This was too speculative to constitute the necessary circumstantial evidence required to take the case to trial, the Louisiana Court of Appeal recently decided.

In the events leading up the injury, Yvonne and Aristide Ton had traveled to an Albertson’s store in Shreveport to do some grocery shopping. While walking across the parking lot, the wife fell, injuring her shoulder. No one saw the woman fall.

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mall of louisianaA visitor to a department store recently lost her attempt to hold the store responsible for injuries she suffered in a slip-and-fall accident. The Louisiana Court of Appeal ruled that the store could not be held liable for the woman’s fall because she lacked “positive evidence” that the store had a dangerous condition that caused the guest to fall, and that the store allowed the dangerous condition to exist for an unreasonably long period of time without correcting it. The ruling points out the sometimes uncertain nature of pursuing a slip-and-fall case against a merchant that is based upon a theory that no possible explanation for the accident could exist other than the merchant’s negligence.

The incident leading to this lawsuit took place on a rainy June morning in 2013. Libby Ammon traveled to the Dillard’s store in Baton Rouge’s Mall of Louisiana to attend a 10:00 AM appointment with a Lancome make-up artist. Halfway between the store’s entry doors and the base of its escalators, Ammon slipped and fell. Ammon opined that, immediately before falling, she felt as though she had stepped “on ice or something.” Ammon fell on her hand and also hit her head and left side.

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CROL-SandputA Jefferson Parish couple received a damages award in excess of $300,000 after their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter broke her arm while playing on a piece of playground equipment meant for children ages five and up. The fact that the child’s daycare satisfied the state’s standards for the minimum teacher-to-child supervision ratios did not automatically shield it from liability. Even though the daycare was adequately staffed, the Louisiana Court of Appeal decided that it could be found liable for not preventing the child from playing on equipment unsafe for someone of her age.

The accident victim was Kaitlyn Skillman, a toddler who attended the daycare facility owned and operated by the Riverside Baptist Church in Jefferson Parish. In September 2010, the 19-month-old girl fell from some playground equipment and injured her arm. The playset from which the child fell was recommended for children no younger than age five.

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old-wood-deckingA New Orleans woman suffered a significant leg injury when she fell on the property of the apartment she rented. The woman’s landlords sought to escape liability for her injuries by arguing that the hole that felled the tenant was “open and obvious” to all. The Louisiana Court of Appeal‘s recent decision upholding a trial court’s refusal to grant summary judgment in favor of the landlords provided an insightful recitation regarding what a property owner must show to succeed on a claim of “open and obvious danger” in a premises liability case.

The case pitted a tenant, Jennifer Hooper, against her landlords, Val and Mary Brown. The apartment Hooper rented, located off Canal Boulevard, had a wooden front porch that, according to the tenant, contained at least one board that was rotten, leaving a hole in the porch. The landlords allegedly promised numerous times to fix the porch, but they did not. In September 2013, the tenant, who temporarily required the assistance of crutches, fell while attempting to enter the apartment, breaking her leg.

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sale signBlack Friday is a big day among retailers and many holiday shoppers. Unfortunately, Black Friday 2009 was a very painful day for one area shopper who slipped and fell in the vestibule of a department store in Kenner. Making matters worse, Louisiana’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal decided that the shopper was unable to recover damages from the store because her evidence at trial failed to show that the store had “constructive notice” of the fallen sign that caused her injury.

Sylvia Scott visited the Dillard’s store in Esplanade Mall shortly after it opened on Black Friday 2009. In the front entryway to the store, a plastic cling sign (like one might commonly see in a store front window announcing holiday hours) had fallen to the ground. Scott stepped on it, slipped, and fell on her back. Scott’s injuries eventually forced her to have surgery.

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Official_U.S._Navy_Imagery_-_Fort_Belvoir_Community_Hospital_(15)A New Orleans area family will be allowed to pursue the West Jefferson Medical Center for malpractice after a patient fell and suffered serious injuries while under the hospital’s care. The Louisiana Court of Appeal concluded that the family’s compelling evidence, along with the inconsistencies in the hospital’s proof, were enough to create a viable case that the fall occurred because caregivers violated the hospital’s own protocols for handling patients with a high risk of falling.

The incident occurred after Mitzi Matherne entered the hospital due to a hematoma on her calf. Hospital staff provided the 76-year-old woman with care for her hematoma and for “morbid obesity.” The hospital identified the patient as a fall risk and placed instructions that two caregivers attend to her whenever she was to be moved to or from her bed.

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