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Determining Fault if Involved in a Pedestrian Accident

Posted in Car Accidents on March 13, 2022

If someone has been struck by a motor vehicle while traveling by foot in New Orleans, they have certain rights which allow them to seek compensation for the injury or injuries they sustain. However, before doing that, they must be able to show who was at fault for the accident.

Pedestrian Accidents Cost Lives

During a recent six-month period, Louisiana lost more than 60 residents as a result of a pedestrian accident. This is a sobering number by any standard.

Let’s face it, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Metairie offer numerous activities which are accessible by foot. In New Orleans alone, more serious injuries and fatalities are recorded annually than in any other parish. For those who suffer an injury, or lose a loved one, it is little consolation to hear the number of injuries and fatalities continue to trend downward.

Liability and Fault for Pedestrian Accidents

To establish liability and fault, there are certain factors which must be considered. These include:

  • Whether the person causing the injury exercised reasonable care
  • Whether the lack of reasonable care was breached
  • Whether the breach resulted in an injury to a pedestrian
  • Whether the pedestrian suffered financially as a result of the breach

In the event a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian, it is often assumed the driver did something wrong. However, other factors could play a role in whether the driver was actually at fault.

Car Drivers are Not Always Automatically at Fault

There are different parties who may be responsible for a pedestrian accident. The at-fault party is often determined by who was not exercising proper caution. Since many pedestrian accidents occur at intersections, it is important to look at the factors which may have played a role in the accident.

Pedestrian May Be Fully or Partially at Fault

There are rules which pedestrians must follow. When a pedestrian does not follow the rules of the road and they are injured because a car struck them, they may be partially responsible for the injury or injuries they suffered.

A pedestrian may be at fault for an accident in cases where:

In any of these cases, a pedestrian may contribute to the cause of an accident, meaning they may be held partially responsible for their injuries as well as injuries and damages suffered by the driver of the car which struck them.

Pedestrians, drivers, and passengers in cars who suffer injuries should consider seeking legal advice following an accident. A thorough investigation is always necessary to ensure the right parties are held accountable for injuries and damages.

When a Driver is Responsible for Pedestrian Injuries

Here are some clear indications the driver who struck the pedestrian may be at fault for the injuries suffered including:

  • Failed to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk or marked area
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or lack of sleep
  • Failing to come to a complete stop at a red light before proceeding to make a right turn
  • Driving while using a cell phone or otherwise distracted

In these instances, an injured pedestrian may seek compensation from the driver who struck them. A pedestrian accident attorney can help victims of accidents seek compensation for their injuries.

When a Second Driver May be Liable for Pedestrian Injuries

While it may seem like common sense that the driver of the vehicle who struck the pedestrian is at fault, this is not always the case. In some instances, the accident may be caused by a second driver. Some of these may include:

  • A driver was tailgating the lead driver. The lead driver stopped, and the second driver struck them. Due to the impact, the lead driver was pushed through the intersection.
  • Driver came out of their lane. A driver was distracted and swerved out of their lane and caused another driver to take evasive action. As a result, a pedestrian was injured. The at-fault driver in this case is the driver who came out of their lane.

To determine if a second driver was at fault, it may be necessary to obtain witness statements, traffic camera footage, and a copy of the police report. This may be the only way to determine who was at fault.

Weather and Road Conditions May Play a Role

There are some things which are out of the control of drivers when traveling in Louisiana. In fact, weather and road conditions are among the top ten causes of Louisiana car accidents.

Let’s face it, we cannot always determine ahead of time when weather may impact our travels. Unexpected rain or fog could hamper visibility, making it challenging to identify a pedestrian who is wearing dark clothing in an intersection.

A road defect, darkness, a faulty traffic signal, and other problems may also impact a driver’s ability to stop fully before striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk or on the shoulder of a road.

Keep in mind, even in these situations, a driver may still be liable for the injuries a pedestrian suffers. Drivers are required to always maintain control of their vehicle when traveling on Louisiana roadways. When a driver fails to maintain control of their car and they have caused injuries to others, they should be held accountable for their negligence.

Accident Investigations Take Time

Louisiana has a one-year statute of limitations which allows victims of an accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, during that year, victims should have a good idea of their long-term prognosis, there should be a complete investigation of the accident, and evidence must be gathered and analyzed.

While police accident reports may help identify the responsible party following a pedestrian accident, the reports may only be a part of providing a comprehensive picture to the insurance company prior to filing a claim for the injuries which were suffered in the accident.

Negotiations with insurance companies also take time. Victims of pedestrian accidents often do not know what legal rights they have following an injury, which is why they often contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to help them through the complicated processes involved in proving fault and filing the necessary insurance claims.