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What duties do property owners have for safety?

As the saying goes, every one's home is his or her castle, but this doesn't mean that the reach of the law ends at one's property line. Under Louisiana law, landowners have certain duties to maintain their property so as to prevent accidents and injuries. If you are visiting someone else's property when you are injured due to a dangerous condition, you may be able to hold the property owner liable for your damages.

The legal theory at work in this scenario is known as premises liability, and it can be a complex area of the law. It typically comes up in so-called slip-and-fall cases, as when someone is visiting a grocery store, slips on a spill and is injured. In that type of case, the spill is considered a dangerous condition. Property owners have a duty to repair hazards and dangerous conditions when they know about them, so that others are not injured.

However, there are many factors that can complicate a premises liability claim. For instance, the duty of the landowner depends upon the status of the person who was injured. A retail store has a high level of duty to its customers to correct dangerous conditions. A warehouse owner has a much lower level of duty to trespassers who may be injured if they sneak into the warehouse.

Some of the most difficult cases involve inadequate security. For instance, crime in the parking lot of a restaurant may, in some cases, be considered a dangerous condition, much like a spill on a grocery store. However, the law is not clearly settled on what duty the restaurant owner in this case has to prevent criminals from harming restaurant customers.

If you have been injured in an accident on someone else's property, it can be important to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer with experience in premises liability cases can help you understand how the law may apply to your circumstances.

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