Louisiana is a beautiful and diverse state, attracting thousands of visitors each year who want to experience world-class jazz, delicious Cajun food, and the beauty of the historic French Quarter. However, some of these travelers may also experience slip and accidents while on vacation.
About Vacation Slip and Fall Accidents
Examples of some causes of vacation slip and fall accidents include:
- Ripped carpet or cracked floor tiles in the hotel lobby that create a tripping hazard you don't notice as you're carrying bags to your room
- Spilled food in a restaurant can cause you to fall
- Poor lighting can cause you to fall while you're leaving a shopping mall
- Loose handrails at a museum or other tourist attraction can cause you to lose your balance
- Insufficient security can cause you to get pushed or shoved and ultimately fall due to crowds at a rowdy public event
Slip and fall injuries can range from minor cuts and scrapes requiring a few stitches to serious back, neck, head, or spinal cord injuries. In addition to ruining your vacation, these accidents can result in significant medical expenses and lost wages. In some cases, you may even be left with a permanent disability requiring ongoing care that affects your ability to earn a living.
Liability for Injuries
In general, the owner of the property where you were injured is liable for your expenses if he failed to take precautions to prevent reasonably foreseeable accidents. However, you may also have a third-party claim in some circumstances. For example, the cleaning company that failed to promptly remove a grease spill that caused you to fall or the manufacturer of a faulty escalator that made you trip could be liable for your injuries.
Under Louisiana law, you may be found partially at fault for your injuries if you acted in a way that showed disregard for your own safety. Examples of situations where comparative negligence may apply include:
- You were in an unauthorized area not open to the general public.
- You disregarded posted warning signs about safety hazards.
- You were engaged in horseplay with another person at the time of your injury.
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You can still receive compensation if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
Travelers with physical disabilities such as a visual impairment can't be blamed for their injuries simply because of their disability. If you're visiting a public location, the owner of the facility has an obligation to provide a reasonably safe environment for all patrons.
How to Protect Your Right to Compensation
If you're injured in a slip and fall accident while traveling, there are six steps you must take to protect your rights.
- File an accident report. Typically, the manager or site security staff can file a report of the incident. Ask for a copy for your records.
- Seek treatment for injuries. Getting an evaluation of any pain and discomfort clearly links your injuries to the slip and fall accident. Ask for a copy of the patient treatment report when you're discharged from the hospital or urgent care clinic.
- Photograph the accident scene. Have someone from your traveling group take photos of the scene where the accident occurred.
- Get witness names and contact information. After taking photos, your friend or family member should speak to any witnesses and get their contact information in case their testimony is needed at a later date.
- Document what you were wearing. Make note of what you were wearing at the time of the accident, including your shoes. Tears, rips, or blood splatters on your clothing can support your claim as to the severity of your injuries. You can also use clothing to establish that inappropriate footwear was not the cause of your fall.
- Contact an attorney. When you're injured while traveling, you'll want to speak with a local attorney familiar with Louisiana law. The state has a one-year statute of limitations for filing slip and fall personal injury claims, so you should begin searching for representation immediately.
The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault have extensive experience handling slip and fall claims for both travelers and residents. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.