When is a homeowner liable for injuries on their property?

| Dec 17, 2018 | Firm News

When dealing with premises liability in Louisiana, state law focuses on the condition of the property and the action of the owner and visitor as opposed to giving primary concern to the injuries of the visitor.

Louisiana property owners or tenants must maintain a safe environment so visitors don’t suffer injury. This holds not only for dog bites or slip and fall injuries at residential or office premises but also for falling objects or unsafe conditions at businesses such as restaurants or amusement parks.

Three prongs of proof

The burden of proof is on the injured to show:

  • There was a dangerous condition
  • The owner knew about the condition
  • The injuries were caused by the condition

Without meeting these three prongs of proof, it is difficult for the injured to attain a verdict in his favor.

There have been verdicts in favor of the injured where the judge finds that the injured shared some responsibility for the accident and is partially responsible, unless the visitor is a trespasser.

Any case will examine if a reasonable standard of care was maintained. A judge and jury will examine:

  • How and why the visitor entered the property
  • How the property is used
  • If the accident was foreseeable
  • Reasonableness of the owner’s efforts to repair or warn visitors of the dangerous condition

Mitigating factors

The “attractive nuisance” doctrine applies when an owner must also give warning to children if there is a dangerous condition on the property that might result in injury or death.

An owner that maintains artificial conditions that will result in the injury or death of trespassers has to let trespassers know those conditions exist. It’s one thing if a burglar enters your property, it’s another if a courier is injured while dropping off a package. Once an owner can reasonably anticipate that trespassers will arrive – the example of skateboarders in an unfinished swimming pool is one such an instance – then the owner must avoid conditions that would injure the trespasser.