When a person is injured on someone else's property in Louisiana, there are two sides to the case. In some cases, the property owner or resident have failed to keep up the condition of the property or provide adequate warning of potential dangers. As a result, someone gets hurt and files a premises liability lawsuit.
But sometimes, reasonable precautions have been taken by the property owner, while the injured person has failed to show proper regard for his own safety or has trespassed somewhere that had no guarantee of safety. Because people have heard stories of large claims being made against insurance companies, both personal property owners and businesses need to be wary of those who try to make an claim against an insurance policy on the basis of premises liability when there is little or no legitimate cause for the claim. In these cases it is the insurance company that needs an attorney to help them defend themselves against clients who make false claims or who simply do not understand their own personal responsibility when it comes to keeping themselves safe.
The Truitt Law Firm has tried hundreds of premises liability cases for both retailers and accident vicitms. We know these cases, inside and out. So, if you need representation in such a case, call us.
Degree of Duty
Depending on a person's reason for being on someone else's property there are different levels of responsibility that the owner or resident has in keeping others safe. People who are on another's property are categorized as invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Invitees are invited onto the property for business reasons. Customers in a retail store or job applicants are examples of invitees. For these people, a property owner has a duty to correct and repair known and unknown hazards in those areas where an invitee might have access.
Licensees are those who come to a property for their own purposes, such as a social guest or solicitor. Property owners have a lesser degree of responsibility to these guests, and needs only to protect against known hazards and not make special inspections for unknown hazards
Trespassers are technically not granted protection against injury, but property owners cannot harm them intentionally either. Property owners should warn against dangers that would not be easily discovered, and take steps to protect regular trespassers. trespassing children are also given special consideration, especially if it can be shown that there was an "attractive nuisance" such as heavy machinery that would rouse a child's curiosity and lead them into a dangerous situation.
The Injured's Responsibility
Those who step onto someone else's property have responsible for their own safety as well. This means realizing the possibility of extra slippery spots after the rain, heeding warnings of potential obstacles, keeping some physical and mental control or their actions, and simply watching where they are going. For example, a fall that occurred because the victim was intoxicated or distracted by their phone puts more responsibility on the victim, and less on the property or business owner.
Disputing a Claim
Aside from looking at the level of responsibility, a lawyer defending a property owner or their insurance company may also look at whether the amount of compensation asked for makes sense. By looking at specific sets of circumstances, a lawyer can help determine if all the victim's injuries are directly related to the accident or were pre-existing. They may also raise questions as to whether they are exaggerating their injuries in order to get more out of a settlement. If someone is going overboard on a premises liability claim that happened on your property, you may be paying for that for a long time -- even with insurance through higher premiums or deductibles. A qualified premises liability defense lawyer can see to it that the incident is fully examined to lessen the chance that you'll be stuck paying more on a claim than you deserve.