Posted in Car Accidents on December 5, 2023
In May of this year, a pedestrian was struck and killed in New Orleans at the corner of Canal and North Rampart streets. It was the second hit-and-run accident on Canal Street in six months. Previously, a woman visiting from Arizona on her honeymoon also lost her life to a hit-and-run driver.
Louisiana’s pedestrian right-of-way laws are designed to protect individuals crossing streets. In Louisiana, drivers are required to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. This rule is particularly important at intersections, where pedestrians often assume vehicles will stop. However, pedestrians must also exercise caution, as the law does not permit walking suddenly into the path of a vehicle close enough to pose a danger.
Crosswalks without traffic signals pose unique challenges, as pedestrians must judge the safety of crossing based on vehicle distance and speed. In such situations, eye contact with drivers can be a helpful way to ensure mutual awareness. While crosswalks with signals offer more structure, pedestrians are advised to remain alert, as compliance from drivers isn’t always guaranteed.
Crosswalk accidents in Louisiana often stem from various factors, highlighting the need for increased awareness among drivers and pedestrians. One of the primary causes is driver inattention. Busy lifestyles and distractions like mobile phones can lead to drivers overlooking pedestrians in crosswalks. Speeding is another significant factor. Drivers moving too fast may not have sufficient time to stop for pedestrians, especially in urban areas with frequent crosswalks.
For pedestrians, risks include crossing outside of marked crosswalks or misjudging traffic flow. Low visibility increases the risk at night, particularly if pedestrians wear non-reflective clothing. Weather conditions like rain or fog can also contribute to accidents by reducing visibility and road traction.
Following a crosswalk accident, certain steps can significantly aid in managing the situation. Firstly, ensuring the safety of everyone involved is paramount. If possible, move to a safe area away from traffic. Promptly checking for injuries and calling emergency services if needed is critical for the health and well-being of those involved.
Documenting the scene of the accident is also important. Taking photos of the location, including any relevant street signs, traffic signals, and the positions of the vehicles and pedestrians involved, helps in creating a clear picture of the incident. Witnesses can provide valuable insights, so gathering their contact information is beneficial.
In Louisiana, pedestrians have specific legal protections to ensure their safety. These laws mandate drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks. This is especially relevant in urban areas where pedestrian traffic is high. However, pedestrians also have responsibilities, such as obeying walk signals at intersections and not suddenly leaving a curb or other safe place to walk or run into the path of a vehicle so close the driver can’t yield.
If there are no traffic signals or they are not working, the driver of a vehicle should give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road within a crosswalk. They should slow down or stop, if necessary, to allow the pedestrian to cross safely.
Determining fault in pedestrian accidents under Louisiana law involves understanding a concept known as ‘comparative fault’. This system evaluates the actions of both the driver and the pedestrian to decide the degree of responsibility each party bears in the accident. For instance, drivers may be deemed primarily at fault if they fail to yield at a crosswalk. However, if pedestrians cross the street recklessly or against a signal, their actions could also contribute to the incident.
In Louisiana, even if a pedestrian is partially at fault, they may still recover damages, but their percentage of fault will reduce the amount. For example, if a pedestrian is found to be 20% at fault for an accident, the compensation is reduced accordingly. This approach reflects an understanding that accidents often result from a combination of factors, and responsibility may be shared among the parties involved.
In pedestrian accident cases in Louisiana, evidence plays a significant role in proving negligence. Negligence occurs when a party fails to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another. In the context of pedestrian accidents, evidence is crucial for demonstrating how the accident occurred and who is at fault.
Key evidence includes photographs of the accident scene, which can show road conditions, traffic signals, and the positions of the pedestrian and vehicle at the time of the accident. Eyewitness accounts also provide invaluable perspectives on the incident. Additionally, police reports offer an official event record detailing observations, and findings at the scene.
Medical records are important too, as they document the injuries sustained and tie them to the accident. Surveillance or dashcam footage, if available, can give a clear visual representation of the events leading up to the accident. Collectively, this evidence helps in constructing a factual narrative to determine negligence.
Crosswalk accidents in Louisiana can have profound effects on victims and their families. Physically, victims may suffer injuries ranging from minor bruises to more severe conditions like broken bones or head trauma. These injuries can lead to extended medical treatment, rehabilitation, and sometimes, long-term disability.
Emotionally, the impact can be just as significant. Victims often experience stress, anxiety, and trauma, which can affect their daily lives and relationships. The psychological aftermath of an accident shouldn’t be underestimated, as it can be as debilitating as physical injuries.
Families of victims are also deeply affected, facing the burden of medical bills, lost income if the victim was a primary earner, and the emotional strain of caring for an injured loved one. The ripple effect of a crosswalk accident extends far beyond the immediate moment of impact, influencing the well-being and stability of entire families.
If you have suffered an injury, contact us or call (504) 500-5000 today for a free consultation.