According to a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Louisiana has the fifth-highest rate of pedestrian accidents. This is a concerning figure given that the state ranks 25th in population. To make matters worse, many of these accidents are fatal.
The high number of accidents in Louisiana could be attributed to the fact that there aren’t many bike paths and sidewalks in cities across the state. Often, pedestrians and cyclists have no choice but to use roads intended for cars. Sometimes, this results in accidents involving pedestrians.
Louisiana pedestrian accident laws are stipulated in §2315 of the state’s Civil Code. The law states that motorists who act negligently while operating a vehicle and injure a pedestrian or cyclist are responsible for the resultant injuries. They bear financial responsibility for their victims’ pain and suffering, wage loss, psychological injuries, and future medical expenses.
Louisiana’s Pedestrian Accident Laws
Below are some of the pedestrian laws in Louisiana.
Using the Sidewalk
LA Rev. Stat. §32:216 stipulates that pedestrians should use a sidewalk wherever one is available. It also outlaws walking along a roadway if there’s an adjacent sidewalk. If there’s no sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder facing traffic moving in the opposite direction.
Observing Traffic Signals
All road users, including pedestrians, are required to observe traffic signs. Generally, pedestrian signs take precedence over other road signs.
For this reason, pedestrians are allowed to enter crosswalks when the signal indicates “walk.” Similarly, they can proceed through a crosswalk to a neutral area, sidewalk, or safety zone if the signal changes to “do not walk.” Pedestrians also have the right of way at marked crossroads.
Motorists must yield to pedestrians within the crosswalks on the road they are driving or turning. The rule doesn’t apply if the pedestrians are crossing the roadway at a point where an overhead pedestrian crossing or tunnel is provided.
Although the Louisiana Civil Code requires pedestrians to use crosswalks and obey traffic signals, motorists need to take certain precautions, especially when driving around pedestrian areas. For instance, they must honk so that pedestrians get alerted of their presence. They should drive safely to avoid causing accidents.
Drivers also need to observe the actions of pedestrians walking near the motorway. If a motorist thinks a pedestrian is confused or seems lost or intoxicated, they must drive carefully around the pedestrian to ensure their safety.
It’s illegal for pedestrians to solicit along public motorways. Therefore, they shouldn’t approach motorists or car occupants asking for rides (hitchhiking), business, or employment.
Pedestrian Accidents Involving Children
In Louisiana, minors don’t have the same duty of care for preventing pedestrian accidents. That is particularly the case in applying the right of way laws. For instance, children below the age of five can’t be found legally negligent and liable for a pedestrian accident irrespective of their actions.
Conversely, teens and older children are only required to behave with a level of care apposite to their age. Under Louisiana law, minors below 18 years can’t file a legal claim related to pedestrian accident injuries. However, parents or legal guardians can pursue a compensation claim on behalf of minors injured in an accident.
The Comparative Negligence Doctrine
Louisiana follows a comparative negligence doctrine while determining fault after a pedestrian accident. The victim’s compensation can get reduced according to their percentage of fault.
For instance, while trying to avoid oncoming foot traffic and step out of the sidewalk and onto the path of a moving vehicle on the roadway, you’ll only be partially at fault for the accident. Therefore, you’ll be entitled to compensation, although you contributed to the accident. In this case, your total recovery will be reduced by the extent of fault to reflect your financial responsibility for your injuries.
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Have You Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Louisiana?
If you get injured in a pedestrian accident, it’s essential to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will know how to prove that the driver’s negligence caused the accident and the resultant injuries. Some of the damages a lawyer can help you recover include:
- Medical Expenses – Treating injuries caused by an accident is expensive, so be sure to keep a record of all your medical expenses, including doctor visits, prescriptions, and surgical procedures. You may also want to consider future costs such as in-home care and therapy.
- Loss of Income – Your injuries may force you out of work and result in lost wages. With an experienced personal injury lawyer handling your claim, it will be easy to estimate your future lost wages and receive the compensation you deserve.
- Loss of Enjoyment – If the injuries you suffered limit you from participating in activities that were once a significant part of your life, the negligent driver needs to compensate you for that loss.
Pedestrian accident cases tend to be complex. Building a case against the at-fault party can be complicated, especially if you’re partly to blame for the accident or there’s limited evidence.
However, a personal injury lawyer will be an essential partner in your quest to get compensated for your injuries. Your attorney will be by your side each step of the way and help you manage the case.
If You Were Injured in a Pedestrian Accident, Contact an Attorney ASAP
If you or a loved one gets injured in a pedestrian accident in Louisiana, do not hesitate to consult personal injury attorneys at Morris Bart. With over 40 years of hands-on experience, we have what it takes to get you the compensation you need. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
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