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When is a Pedestrian At Fault for a Car Accident?

Posted in Car Accidents on July 6, 2021

When we think about car accidents, we most often imagine two or more cars colliding either on a freeway or at an intersection. It is not uncommon, however, for pedestrians to be involved in car accidents. In some instances, pedestrians are car accident victims, but it is also possible for a pedestrian to be at fault for a collision.

Read on to better understand when a pedestrian is liable for a car accident.

Pedestrian Laws in Louisiana

In 2019, there were more than 100 pedestrian fatalities and nearly 1,400 pedestrian injuries in Louisiana. This does not mean, however, that motor vehicle drivers were responsible for all of these deaths and injuries. All road users must be alert, attentive, and follow the rules of the road.

Drivers are required to take a driver’s test and exhibit their familiarity with driving rules, but there are also laws that govern actions by pedestrians. Some Louisiana pedestrian laws include:

  • Use the sidewalk. Pedestrians in Louisiana are required to use available sidewalks. If there is an adjacent sidewalk, a pedestrian should not be walking on a roadway. If no sidewalk is available, a pedestrian should walk on the shoulder in the direction facing traffic.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals. Traffic signals exist to keep drivers, passengers, and pedestrians safe, and pedestrians are required to obey them. Pedestrians have the right of way in marked crosswalks, but a pedestrian is not authorized to enter the roadway in an unmarked area if a vehicle is too close to yield.
  • Avoid expressways. Pedestrians are not authorized to walk on, along, or across interstate highways.

If a pedestrian fails to comply with any of these laws, they might be responsible for a resulting accident.

Determining Pedestrian Liability

Any party whose negligent or intentional actions causes an accident is responsible for resulting injuries. This includes pedestrians. Pedestrians are required to comply with relevant laws and to exercise a normal duty of care. Common pedestrian actions that cause accidents are:

  • Walking while distracted, especially by electronic devices. If a pedestrian is not paying attention, they are more likely to walk in an unauthorized area and disrupt traffic.
  • A pedestrian must exhibit extreme caution before entering a roadway in an unmarked area. Pedestrians are less visible to vehicles, especially where they aren’t expected.
  • An intoxicated pedestrian is less able to be attentive and make smart decisions.
  • Walking in restricted areas, such as a highway. Walking on these types of roadways are prohibited for a reason.

Your lawyer will work with you to compile evidence that the pedestrian’s negligent acts caused the accident. This evidence can include witness statements, traffic or surveillance camera footage, the event data recorder from your vehicle, results of blood alcohol tests, and citations issued to the pedestrian by a police officer.

If a pedestrian’s negligent actions were the sole cause of an accident, you are not responsible for their injuries. In fact, they may be responsible for injuries you suffered from the accident. If more than one party acted negligently, work with your lawyer to understand the allocation of fault and how this affects your ability to recover for your damages.

Recovering Damages

If you are able to establish that the pedestrian’s negligent act caused the accident, they are responsible for all the damages you suffered due to the collision, including:

  • Medical Expenses: Be sure to keep track of all of your medical expenses, including emergency transportation, doctor visits, surgical procedures, and prescription medication. Also consider the cost of future medical expenses such as physical therapy or in-home care.
  • Loss of Income: If your injuries force you to miss work, to work a reduced schedule, or to perform light work, the defendant is responsible for your lost wages. Include an estimate of future lost wages and diminished earning potential in your demand.
  • Property Damage: If your vehicle or other property was damaged or destroyed in the accident, the defendant is responsible for repair or replacement.
  • Emotional Distress: A car accident is a traumatic event, and many victims are left with ongoing emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Work with your attorney to seek appropriate compensatory damages for this distress.
  • Loss of Enjoyment: If your injuries limit your ability to participate in activities that were once a meaningful part of your life, the defendant should compensate you for this loss.

A comprehensive damages assessment is an important tool as you seek recovery. If your case proceeds to trial, the jury will evaluate your damages demand when awarding damages. The assessment also serves as an important point of reference as you analyze any settlement offers made by the defendant. While a settlement offer will rarely be for the full amount of damages, you should only accept an offer that appropriately compensates you based on the strength of your case and the extent of your damages.

An experienced personal injury attorney will be a key partner as you seek to secure recovery after a motor vehicle accident caused by a pedestrian. Building a case against a pedestrian can be complicated, especially if there is limited evidence. Your lawyer will work with you every step of the way and manage the stressful aspects of your case, including:

  • Building a case strategy
  • Interviewing witnesses and the defendant
  • Preparing a damages demand
  • Evaluating medical records
  • Communicating with the defendant and any insurance companies
  • Drafting and filing court documents

Your lawyer will also make sure you don’t miss your chance to secure recovery. Louisiana law only gives plaintiffs one year to file a lawsuit against the defendant. Time will move quickly as you work to build your case.

If you or a loved one was the victim of an accident caused by a pedestrian in Louisiana, contact John W. Redmann LLC today at (504) 500-5000 or through our website for a free consultation. Our team does everything possible to secure positive outcomes for our clients, and our clients owe us nothing unless we recover on their behalf.