Understanding where pedestrian accidents happen can help us avoid them when walking and driving. The most common types of pedestrian accidents in Baton Rouge include:
- Crosswalk or intersection accidents — Pedestrians must cross the street at crosswalks or traffic lights, provided they have a signal giving them the right of way. A person struck by a vehicle while legally crossing the road deserves compensation from the careless or reckless motorist who hit them.
- Accidents with turning vehicles —Pedestrians are smaller and more difficult to see, particularly in urban areas where buildings, signs, and other vehicles can obstruct their view. But drivers must exercise caution when turning in any direction. If they don’t, they could be held liable for their negligence.
- Running red lights or stop signs — Motorists must come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs in Baton Rouge. Pedestrians have the right to expect drivers to obey those laws. Anyone struck by a vehicle going full speed through a stop sign or red light can suffer life-threatening injuries and may be entitled to compensation for their losses.
- School bus accidents — There’s a reason school buses have stop signs that activate when opening their doors. A careless or aggressive driver can easily strike children who cross the street in front of a parked bus. Drivers are legally required to stop for stopped school buses, and they should generally let a bus or other vehicle unload its passengers and drive away before proceeding.
- Backing into pedestrians — Blind spots and limited visibility make it hard for motorists to see what’s happening around them when they’re in reverse. It’s crucial to be attentive to avoid collisions. This is particularly true in parking lots, residential neighborhoods, and other areas where people are likely to walk. Many pedestrian accident cases involve backovers.
- Sidewalk accidents — A distracted or intoxicated driver could plow into pedestrians on sidewalks. But cars aren’t the only threats to pedestrians. Cyclists must dismount their bikes when on sidewalks and follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Violating these laws could result in a personal injury claim against the negligent party.
- Jaywalking or darting into traffic mid-block — It’s against the law for pedestrians to cross the road in the middle of the block. Though drivers must do everything possible to avoid a collision, a pedestrian accident victim may also be held partly liable if they contribute to the accident in some way.
- Pedestrians crossing a highway — Pedestrians should not cross major highways and always walk alongside them, facing traffic, if no sidewalk is present. The high volume and speed of traffic on highways and off-ramps put pedestrians at risk of severe injuries when walking near highways.
While most pedestrian accidents happen for these reasons, you could still have a case even if your circumstances don’t fit neatly into one of the above categories. Always talk to a pedestrian accident injury lawyer if you believe someone else is at fault for the incident.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Because there’s nothing to shield their bodies from the violence of the impact with a car or other motor vehicle, pedestrian accident injuries can be catastrophic. Examples of common injuries include:
Recovering from a pedestrian accident can be a painful, lengthy, and costly process. If you’re struggling to make ends meet after being hit by a car, the pedestrian accident attorneys from Tomeny |Best Injury Lawyers will push aggressively for the compensation you need and deserve. The money could come through a settlement with the insurance company or a pedestrian accident lawsuit.
Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Hundreds of people are injured every year in pedestrian accidents across Louisiana. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission found that more than 8,330 people suffered injuries in pedestrian accidents in a recent five-year period. There were also 786 pedestrian fatalities. Pedestrian accident statistics also show collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians increased 53 percent nationwide in a recent decade.
So, what are the main causes of pedestrian accidents in Louisiana? Here are the common culprits:
- Drivers impaired by drugs and alcohol — Intoxicated drivers experience impaired judgment, dulled reflexes, and increased reaction times. These side effects make it much harder for impaired drivers to avoid striking nearby pedestrians.
- Distracted driving — Inattentive drivers who talk on the phone, text, snack, adjust the stereo or GPS, or reach for fallen objects risk hitting pedestrians. When drivers try to multitask behind the wheel, the consequences can be deadly.
- Driver fatigue — The National Safety Council says going more than 20 hours without sleep is roughly equivalent to driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent, the legal limit in most states. Severe fatigue prevents drivers from thinking clearly, impacts their perception, and can cause them to fall asleep at the wheel and lose control.
- Speeding and aggressive driving — The faster a car moves, the longer it takes to stop and the harder it is for drivers to see what’s happening around them. These factors make it extremely difficult for speeding drivers to avoid a pedestrian accident. Likewise, other forms of aggressive driving, like weaving through traffic, not using turn signals, and blowing through stop signs and red lights may all cause a pedestrian accident.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way — Pedestrians generally have the right of way when crossing the street, especially if drivers are supposed to be stopped at a yield sign, stop sign, or traffic light. But careless or inexperienced drivers may ignore right-of-way rules and end up hitting pedestrians in their paths.
- Poor crosswalk or intersection design — Some pedestrian accidents happen for reasons outside a driver’s or pedestrian’s control. If local governments don’t design intersections properly or place crosswalks in poor locations, pedestrians can be left vulnerable to accidents.
- Bad weather — Rain, fog, ice, and snow can make it hard for drivers to maintain control and limit their visibility. Though we can’t control the weather, motorists should adjust their driving to account for poor conditions.
- Pedestrian impairment — Just as drivers should not drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel, pedestrians should avoid being around cars when impaired. An impaired pedestrian could stumble into the street or cross when they don’t have the right of way. Both the driver and pedestrian could be held liable in these types of pedestrian accident cases.
What To Do After a Pedestrian Accident
The actions you take after being hit by a car are vitally important, both in the immediate aftermath and in the weeks to come. If possible, you should:
- Call 911. You likely have serious injuries that need to be addressed by medical personnel.
- Try to get the driver’s name and other important information. If they try to flee the scene, snap a photo of the vehicle and its license plate if you can.
- Document the accident scene. If there are any eyewitnesses, get their names and contact information.
- Wait for police and EMS to arrive. A police report is vital if you need to file a pedestrian accident claim in the future. Most insurance companies require police accident reports before initiating a claim.
- See a doctor as soon as you can. If you weren’t transported to the hospital after the pedestrian accident, make an appointment with your doctor right away to rule out any undetected injuries.
- Hire a pedestrian accident lawyer. Never make any statements to the insurance company until you’ve spoken to a good pedestrian accident injury lawyer. Your attorney’s job is to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions and protect your interests. They can talk to the insurance company for you so that you don’t say something that jeopardizes your pedestrian accident claim.
Compensation Available in a Louisiana Pedestrian Accident Claim
Louisiana law allows accident victims to seek compensation for their injuries if they can prove another party is liable for them. By filing an insurance claim or pedestrian accident lawsuit, an injured pedestrian can potentially recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Personal property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
Your best chance at recovering compensation will come with the help of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. A knowledgeable lawyer can analyze your losses to determine what your case is worth.
Determining Fault in a Louisiana Pedestrian Accident
One common source of conflict in many pedestrian accident claims is identifying who is at fault for the collision. Pedestrians and drivers both have duties to follow the law. Violating these rules can impact the amount of financial compensation you can receive after a pedestrian accident.
Generally speaking, the person at greater fault is generally held legally liable for a traffic accident.
Let’s look at a practical example. Suppose you were struck by a drunk driver while attempting to cross the street outside of a crosswalk. Pedestrians are supposed to cross the street at sidewalks, but the driver was also grossly negligent because they were impaired. In this case, the driver would likely bear the majority of the fault for the accident, while you would be held partially responsible.
In cases where multiple parties share fault for a pedestrian-car accident, Louisiana uses a pure comparative negligence standard to apportion the amount of compensation each party receives. For instance, if you’re found 10 percent liable for an accident, your ultimate award would be reduced by 10 percent. Technically, you can seek compensation after a pedestrian accident even if you’re found 99 percent liable for the crash. But depending on the circumstances, this may not be a wise course of action. A skilled pedestrian accident lawyer can advise you about your legal options and how comparative negligence laws may apply.