Pedestrian Accidents in Louisiana
Every year, Louisiana ranks as one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians. According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, more than 1,100 pedestrians were injured and another 146 were killed on Louisiana highways and roads.
If you or someone you love was involved in a pedestrian-vehicle accident in Opelousas or the surrounding areas, reach out to our attorneys at Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C. as soon as possible. You shouldn’t have to suffer the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of someone else’s carelessness on your own—and with our team by your side, you don’t have to. We can help you seek fair compensation for your medical bills, pain, suffering, and other damages, all while fighting to hold the person or party who caused the accident responsible for the immeasurable harm they have caused you and your family.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
In the simplest terms, the most common cause of pedestrian accidents is negligence. In other words, these incidents typically happen when one or both people involved are careless or act recklessly.
Specifically, some of the main factors involved in pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted, careless, or negligent driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Speeding, including reckless and excessive speeds
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Pedestrian distractions, including texting while walking
- Unsafe or unlawful lefthand and righthand turns
- Failing to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians/vehicles
- Failing to exercise due care when driving near or around pedestrians
- Passing another vehicle unsafely or unlawfully
- Pedestrians walking or standing in the roadway
- Failing to obey red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices
Unsafe or defective road design, as well as inclement weather, may also contribute to low visibility, which is one of the most common factors in pedestrian-vehicle collisions. However, remember that even if a motorist claims to have not seen a pedestrian, this does not necessarily mean that they are not at fault for the accident.
Louisiana requires all motorists to exercise “due care” when driving, including always checking for pedestrians, keeping a proper lookout, and driving with reasonable caution to avoid collisions. If you were hit by a careless motorist, or if your loved one died due to a negligent motor vehicle driver, you could have grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?
To be clear, all motorists are required by Louisiana State law to yield the right of way to pedestrians whenever possible. Motorists must also exercise due care and drive with caution when pedestrians are present or in areas where pedestrians are likely to be, such as parking lots. However, this doesn’t mean that pedestrians automatically have the right of way in every situation.
In fact, Louisiana pedestrian laws require people to yield the right of way to vehicles in the following scenarios:
- When crossing a roadway outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk
- When leaving a place of safety, such as a sidewalk, and entering a roadway
- When crossing where pedestrian bridges or tunnels are present and available
Furthermore, pedestrians are not allowed to walk on roadways when sidewalks are present and available to use. If there is no sidewalk, or if the sidewalk is closed, pedestrians may walk along the roadway, but they must walk as far to the left of the shoulder as possible, facing oncoming traffic. Louisiana law also prohibits pedestrians from crossing interstate highways at any time, except in an emergency.
What Responsibility Do Motorists Have to Pedestrians?
Just as Louisiana State law outlines the rights and responsibilities of pedestrians, it also details the obligations motorists have to pedestrians.
Some of these include:
- Motorists must take every possible and reasonable precaution to avoid collisions with pedestrians, even when pedestrians aren’t following the law
- Drivers should be extra cautious when certain types of pedestrians are present, including the visually impaired, the obviously confused or intoxicated, and children
- Motorists must always yield to pedestrians who are crossing a roadway in a marked or unmarked crosswalk unless the pedestrian has a “wait,” “do not walk,” or red traffic signal
- If there are no traffic signals (or no working traffic signals) at an intersection, drivers must always yield to pedestrians who are crossing in marked crosswalks
When motorists fail to uphold these responsibilities, they put pedestrians at risk. Sadly, negligent, careless, and reckless drivers injure and kill thousands of pedestrians each year—but these individuals can be held legally accountable for the harm they cause.
Filing a Pedestrian Accident Claim
Just like the victims of any other type of car accident, victims of pedestrian-vehicle collisions can bring claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or sue the at-fault driver for damages.
To have a successful claim, you will likely need to prove the following:
- You were injured
- Your injuries led to measurable damages
- The driver of the vehicle was at fault
- If you contributed to the accident, your degree of fault was less than 100%
Louisiana follows a rule of “pure comparative negligence,” meaning fault can be divided among all involved parties after a traffic accident. If the insurance adjuster and/or court finds you partly at fault, you can still recover monetary compensation for your losses, such as your medical bills, but you can’t recover the full amount you are seeking. Instead, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, for example, if you are found to have been 30% to blame for the collision, you could only recover up to 70% of the total amount you are seeking for your damages.
Because pedestrian accidents tend to result in catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, the overall value of these claims tends to be relatively high. As a result, being found partly at fault could mean a difference in thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for you and your family. It is important that you work with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, like ours at Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., who can help protect your rights and seek the full compensation you are owed.
Get in Touch with Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today
Getting back on your feet after a pedestrian accident can be incredibly difficult, but our team is here to help. Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C. is proud to be a member of the local community, serving Opelousas and the nearby areas since 2007. We have helped countless individuals recover fair compensation after they were injured by careless drivers, and we have assisted families throughout the region seek justice when their loved ones tragically died due to the negligence and wrongful conduct of others.
When you trust your case to Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., you know exactly what you’ll receive: a team of experienced and compassionate attorneys who truly care about you and your recovery. We represent everyday people and fight for extraordinary results, allowing our clients to focus on healing and moving forward with their lives. Let our Opelousas pedestrian accident lawyers fight for you and the justice you deserve.
An injury is a devastating thing to have to deal with and a legal case on top of it can seem impossible. Our firm’s personal injury attorneys are able to offer peace of mind when you know that someone with experience and commitment is handling the situation.
When a case can’t be worked out through negotiation, Doran & Cawthorne has no qualms about taking the matter to court. Whether before a judge, or jury, we will gather the evidence necessary to present your case before the fact-finder in the best light.
It is all too common for insurance companies to offer less than what they know to be fair. Our lawyers will negotiate on your behalf, and won’t compromise for anything less than the amount they know you should be receiving.
Our lawyers don’t just talk it…we strive to deliver. You can rest assured you’ll have experienced personal injury counsel with Doran & Cawthorne on your side.
Having handled hundreds, if not thousands of injury cases in Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere, we can assess the best options for each case.
Our firm’s attorneys will guide you in the right direction to make sure your case is developed effectively to your advantage.