Under Louisiana law, property owners have a duty to perform routine maintenance and repair to reduce the risk that visitors may be hurt in an accident on their property. This legal theory is known as premises liability, and it can be an important way to make sure that the people are compensated for medical expenses and other damages after they are hurt in a preventable accident at a grocery store, restaurant or other property. However, premises liability can be a highly complex issue, especially when it interacts with other legal theories.
Recently, the family of a man who died in a fatal electrocution accident filed suit against the City of New Orleans, the Entergy New Orleans power company and a demolition company in connection with the man's death. According to the lawsuit, at the time of the accident, the man was hauling broken concrete to a work site at Joe Brown Memorial Park as part of his job duties while working for a trash company. As part of his job duties, the man opened a shed at the work site and was somehow electrocuted due to dangerous conditions.
The family contends that the city owns the property where the accident took place and that Entergy supplied the electricity. The demolition company was named because it was performing work at the site. The family claims that the defendants failed to warn workers of the dangers of electrocution at the shed and were negligent in allowing a hazardous condition to persist.
Among the many issues raised by this case is the difficulty of pursuing a premises liability lawsuit against the city government. Governmental agencies are protected from certain types of lawsuits. Even when they are not immune to being sued, the injured party or their family members typically must follow certain special procedures before they can file suit.
Premises liability cases can be very complicated. It's important for Louisiana residents who have been injured on another person's property -- or, in the case of a fatal accident, for the victim's family -- to get help understanding how the law may apply to their circumstances.
Source: The Louisiana Record, "New Orleans, Entergy sued over alleged role in worker's death," Chelsea Partington, July 15, 2014