What Victims of Louisiana Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents Need to Know

January 7, 2021 Accident

What Victims of Louisiana Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents Need to Know

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a vehicle-pedestrian accident here in Louisiana, you have the legal right to seek compensation for injuries suffered. This is true even if you or your loved one was partially at fault. Vehicle-pedestrian accidents cause some of the worst types of injuries and are often fatal for the pedestrians involved. This is true for many reasons including:

  • Pedestrians have no protections (like the steel crash frame of an automobile)
  • Pedestrians have no safety gear or mechanisms (like airbags)
  • Extreme mass and weight differential exist between a vehicle and a person
  • Pedestrians have no passive or active restraints — like seat belts — that prevent them from being flung onto pavement and/or other hard objects on or near the roadways
  • Compared to automobiles, pedestrians are slow and have more difficulty escaping danger

Victims of Louisiana pedestrian accidents are likely to recover against drivers because drivers have a higher duty with respect to pedestrians. In general, Louisiana law imposes various duties on pedestrians, drivers, and others using Louisiana roads and highways. For example, everyone using the roads has a duty to be watchful and not endanger others. Further, everyone had a duty to obey traffic laws. With respect to pedestrians, state and city laws increase the duties that are owed by drivers. For example, vehicles must give the right of way to pedestrians in marked crosswalks. See La. Rev. Stat., § 32:212. Further, Louisiana drivers are required to “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian …” and must sound the horn to give a warning when necessary. See La. Rev. Stat., § 32:214. Extra precautions are required of drivers if they observe any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a highway. See La. Rev. Stat., § 32:214.

Drivers who violate traffic laws and fail to keep a careful watch will likely be found, under the law, to have breached their duty of care. When this happens and an accident occurs as a result, drivers are liable to the injured victims for all allowable categories of damages permitted in Louisiana. These include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

As noted, pedestrians who have been injured by a vehicle in an accident can still recover money damages even if they are partially at fault. This is because Louisiana is a “comparative fault” state which means that a jury award is apportioned among the at-fault parties based on the percentage fault.

Let’s take an example: In Louisiana, pedestrians are not supposed to walk in the roadway if there is a sidewalk adjacent to the road. See La. Rev. Stat., § 32:216. But, let’s suppose that a pedestrian is walking on a sunny day and he or she steps off the sidewalk onto the road. He or she walks for a while, but remains near the curb. Then, suddenly, the pedestrian is side-swiped by a speeding car that was being driven by a driver who was using his cellphone at the time. The driver did not sound his horn in warning prior to the accident. The pedestrian may have been partially at fault for being in the road when he or she should not have been. But the driver was certainly at fault for speeding, not giving warning, and driving while distracted. At trial, the jury could decide that the pedestrian was 20% at fault for the accident and the driver was 80% at fault. In that case, any money judgment awarded by the jury would be reduced by 20%.

Mansfield Melancon Attorneys can Help

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Louisiana pedestrian-automobile accident or other type of automobile accident, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record of success with many types of personal injury cases. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.