Who is Responsible for a Slip or Fall on a New Orleans Sidewalk?

by Julien G. Lamothe

The term “slip and fall” describes injuries many people sustain in the state of Louisiana. Every year, thousands of people experience the detrimental, potentially debilitating Louisiana’s impact of slipping or falling as they’re walking on the sidewalk.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how careful an individual is; there can still be unforeseeable factors that affect someone’s ability to maneuver around a specific location safely.

If you have experienced a slip or fall, you should collect details, assess the situation, know your rights, and consider working with a skilled lawyer.

Collecting the Facts

Sometimes, there are no serious injuries, and the injured person can shrug off the incident. However, this is not always the case. Some slips or falls can produce injuries that require comprehensive medical treatment and can result in permanent disability.

Many factors affect who holds legal responsibility for a slip or fall. These factors include local laws, the state of the sidewalk where the accident occurred, and whether there were precautions in place.

Private vs. Public Sidewalks

To find out who is responsible for a slip or fall, you’ll need to determine if the sidewalk is private or public property. Generally, a sidewalk is private if it is on private property. It becomes public once the sidewalk separates from private property and becomes a public street.

Determining whether a sidewalk is part of a private or public area is crucial and can help you identify you to sue. If a sidewalk is private, it is the owner’s responsibility, while the city is responsible for public sidewalks.

Proving Negligence

Since most slip and fall accidents occur in public places, places owned by other people or companies, you must be able to show that an accident occurred due to that party’s carelessness or negligence. Negligence is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”

Cases of negligence in the public sphere include:

• Potholes
• Deteriorating asphalt
• Slippery ground
• Inefficient sidewalk space
• Wet ground with no sign
• Cluttered space

You must be able to prove that the owner of the sidewalk has been negligent to receive compensation. Falling on someone’s sidewalk does not automatically mean they have been negligent and are responsible for your slip or fall. If you slip or fall for no reason or a reason in your realm of control, which has nothing to do with the actual sidewalk, then your negligence case will not be successful.

To prove who is responsible for your slip or fall, you’ll need to collect evidence. Take note of the specific details related to the incident. Keep a record of the time of day, date, location, what happened, who was there, and injuries. Take pictures of any damage or injuries.

Premises Liability

When a slip or fall is not the result of anything you could control and instead was the result of negligence, then premises liability will likely apply. This law holds the property owner responsible for any injuries which result from their property. Sidewalks fall under the umbrella protection of premises liability.

If you wish to take legal action based on premises liability in Louisiana, you’ll also need to prove you were a lawful visitor. If you were illegally trespassing, you might be unable to file a claim.

Get the Help You Need

According to the City of New Orleans Department of Public Works, “Maintaining a sidewalk in a proper state, free from hazardous conditions is the responsibility of the residential or commercial property owner.”

If you have suffered injuries due to negligent sidewalk conditions, you might be able to sue for compensation. Our experienced team of attorneys at Lamothe Law Firm is here to remind you of your rights and provide the guidance you need. Contact our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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