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Can Pedestrians Share Fault in Accidents? What Louisiana Law Says

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Does the Pedestrian Always Have the Right-of-Way?

Pedestrians and motorists have to share many spaces throughout Louisiana, such as parking lots and residential streets. While drivers do everything they can to avoid hitting a pedestrian, there were more than 1,000 pedestrian injuries in 2021 alone. And there are similar numbers every year. If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, you likely have questions about whether the pedestrian always has the right-of-way or whether they can be partially at fault for an accident.

Accidents Involving Pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents are a possibility anywhere cars and people are close together, but there are some situations where a pedestrian accident may be more likely.

  • Intersections: When a pedestrian crosses the street, they have to walk across the roadway, which leaves them vulnerable to passing vehicles. If the pedestrian doesn’t cross at a designated crosswalk, it can dramatically increase the chance of an accident because it’s difficult for drivers to see pedestrians coming out from between cars parked on the side of the road. Even when pedestrians do cross at the designated area, it’s possible for an accident to occur if a driver is distracted or speeding.
  • Parking lots: Pedestrian accidents can occur in places where a driver may need to reverse out of a parking spot or a driveway. Blind spots can make it difficult to see when pedestrians are behind the car or easier to misjudge how far away they are.
  • Parks: Areas with parks, playgrounds, walking trails, or other recreational activities are more at risk for pedestrian accidents because there are more people in proximity to cars.
  • Residential neighborhoods: There’s a higher chance that a child could be chasing a ball or someone could be walking a dog that’s pulling them into the street in a neighborhood. If a driver isn’t paying attention to their surroundings or they are driving too fast, there’s a greater chance of a pedestrian accident.

While any motor vehicle accident has the potential to cause injury, victims of pedestrian accidents often have significant injuries that can require ongoing medical care, such as surgeries or physical therapy. These injuries can add up to significant medical expenses, and it’s important not to settle too early before you’re aware of the full extent — and expense — of your injuries or how much they may affect your future quality of life. If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident in one of these places or anywhere else, speak with a personal injury attorney about your rights and options.

When the Pedestrian May Be at Fault

You’ve probably been told at some point that the pedestrian always has the right-of-way, but this isn’t actually the case. Pedestrians must also abide by the rules, which means crossing the street at intersections with designated crosswalks and walking on the sidewalk when there is one available. If a pedestrian doesn’t obey these rules and their actions cause an accident, they could be partially at fault.

In general, pedestrians in Louisiana are held to the same standard of executing a “duty of care” as they go about their actions as drivers are. A pedestrian who is found to have been negligent in exercising that duty of care can be held responsible for the accident.

Comparative Fault in Louisiana

Louisiana is a comparative fault state, which means that more than one person can be partially liable for an accident. When two drivers are in an accident, each one is assigned a percentage of the blame for the crash. The same thing happens when there is a pedestrian accident. It’s possible for either party to be found 100% at fault for the accident, but it’s also possible for the blame to be split between the two parties.

For example, it’s possible that the driver may be found 70% at fault for the crash, while the pedestrian is found to be 30% at fault. These percentages can be split in any number of ways, and if there is another party, such as if there are multiple vehicles involved in the crash, the fault is split between all involved parties.

It’s important to know that even if you are found to be partially at fault for an accident, you still may be able to recover compensation through the civil courts. As long as you are less than 51% at fault for an accident, you can file suit. However, the amount you may be awarded can be reduced based on that percentage. So, for example, if you were awarded $100,000 but were found to be 40% at fault, your award could be reduced to $60,000.

If You’ve Been Injured in an Accident, We Can Help

Pedestrian accidents are often serious and can involve major injuries for the pedestrian, who has little protection from the impact and force of the vehicle. If you were struck by a vehicle and sustained injuries, the team at Walter R. Krousel Jr. & Associates, APLC, can help. We’re here to ensure you understand what your legal rights are and how you can pursue compensation through the Louisiana civil courts. The statute of limitations for personal injury in Louisiana is just one year, which means you only have 12 months from the date of the accident to pursue legal action.

As soon as your immediate medical needs are taken care of, it’s important to talk with a personal injury attorney who has experience working with pedestrian accidents. If you’re ready to speak with an attorney about how you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, call 866-522-3456.

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