Court of Appeal Gives Louisiana Man Renewed Opportunity to Pursue Slip-and-Fall Case

If you have ever looked at a map or a set of turn-by-turn directions on an online navigation system, you know that, whatever your destination, there is often more than one way to get there. Each has its own advantages. One may be faster, one may be shorter, and one may be more scenic. The law can work a little like that sometimes. If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s fault, there may be more than one way to pursue damages. The accident case of a man who fell outside a fast-food restaurant offers an example of this in action.

The accident at the basis of this case was a parking lot slip-and-fall incident. Specifically, the plaintiff was a man who was stepping off the curb of the rear parking lot of a chicken restaurant when he slipped and fell in what his lawsuit alleged was a “pile of grease.” The man’s fall caused him to suffer injuries, and he and his wife sued.
In defending itself, the restaurant argued that the man had not proven that it had “actual or constructive” knowledge of the alleged grease hazard. In a slip-and-fall case like this, the law requires you as the plaintiff to prove that the person or entity you’ve sued had actual or constructive knowledge, meaning that the defendant either knew or would have known if the defendant had exercised reasonable care.
The trial court agreed with the restaurant and issued a summary judgment in favor of the business. The appeals court, however, reversed that judgment and allowed the couple to resume pursuing their case. The appeals court’s opinion highlights a very important fact relative to cases like these. If you’ve been hurt from a trip-and-fall or a slip-and-fall on a merchant’s premises, you may choose to advance your case under the Louisiana Merchant Liability Statute, La. R.S. 9:2800.6, which obliges merchants to keep their aisles, passageways, and floors maintained in a reasonably safe condition. You are not required, however, to pursue your case by arguing that the defendant in your case is liable under Section 9:2800.6. The law says you are free to use that approach or to use other legal bases for asserting the defendant’s liability.
That was a key issue here. The trial court issued a summary judgment in favor of the restaurant because the judge decided that the couple could not possibly put together a case that would meet Section 9:2800.6’s standard for liability. This couple, though, wasn’t suing the restaurant for liability under that statute. The couple was suing a merchant for liability arising from injuries suffered in a slip and fall, but theirs was not a Merchant Liability Statute case. Since the trial court only analyzed the requirements of the Merchant Liability Statute in deciding if the couple had a viable case, it used the wrong analysis, which meant that the restaurant wasn’t entitled to a summary judgment, and the couple was allowed to continue their case.
Like routes to a destination, the law often offers multiple paths to pursuing success in your injury case. Choosing which option is the best one for you is one aspect in which experienced counsel can provide invaluable aid. The experienced and knowledgeable Louisiana slip-and-fall attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm have been helping injured people for many years and can help you select an approach to your case that makes sense for meeting your unique goals.
For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Store’s Usage of ‘Wet Floor’ Sign Not Enough to Trigger Liability in Louisiana Woman’s Slip-and-Fall Case, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, April 22, 2016
Pursuing a Premises Liability Case Against a Public Entity in Louisiana, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 22, 2016

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