New Orleans is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for pedestrians. In 2020, there were 144 pedestrians killed in Louisiana, and 10 of those deaths occurred in New Orleans. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Louisiana ranked as the 5th worst state for pedestrian fatalities in 2020. Understanding when a pedestrian may be at fault for an accident and working with a New Orleans car accident attorney from Dudley DeBosier can help you determine liability and know your rights after a pedestrian crash.
While drivers are typically responsible for injuries in a pedestrian accident due to distracted driving, pedestrians can also be fully or partially at fault. This is especially true during festival season, when pedestrians may be intoxicated or assume the right-of-way when crossing the street.
In Louisiana, pedestrians are afforded certain protections regarding car-pedestrian interactions. Under the state’s statutes, motor vehicle drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians, making them responsible when an injury accident occurs.
However, pedestrians are not immune from responsibility when a crash occurs. Irresponsible pedestrians may cause their own injuries when their actions cause a car to hit them. They can also cause drivers to swerve, resulting in multiple injuries to drivers in other vehicles.
Pedestrians may be at fault for an incident when they engage in the following behaviors:
- Jaywalking or crossing against traffic signals: Pedestrians are expected to follow traffic laws, including using designated crosswalks and obeying traffic signals. If pedestrians cross the road illegally outside a crosswalk and their actions directly contribute to an accident, they may be considered at fault.
- Darting into traffic unexpectedly: Pedestrians who suddenly enter traffic without warning, such as stepping out from between parked cars, can catch drivers off guard and create dangerous situations. If a driver has insufficient time to react and the pedestrian’s actions result in a collision, the pedestrian may be at fault.
- Intoxication or impairment: Just like drivers, pedestrians under the influence of alcohol or drugs can make poor judgment calls and engage in reckless behavior. If a pedestrian’s impaired state is determined to have contributed to the accident, they may be partially responsible.
- Ignoring pedestrian right-of-way: While pedestrians generally have the right-of-way in crosswalks or at intersections, they still have a duty to exercise caution and not unnecessarily endanger themselves or others. If pedestrians fail to yield to oncoming traffic when reasonably expected, leading to a collision, they may be found at fault.
- Distractions and inattentiveness: Pedestrians distracted by electronic devices, conversations, or other activities may not be fully aware of their surroundings. If their lack of attention contributes to an accident, they may be considered partially responsible for the incident.
When pursuing a personal injury claim involving a negligent pedestrian in New Orleans, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what to expect. While each case is unique, the following is a general outline of the process:
- Gathering evidence: To establish pedestrian negligence, evidence is crucial. Your attorney will help you gather evidence like witness statements, photographs or videos of the accident scene, available surveillance footage, police reports, and medical records. Documentation of specific circumstances, such as overcrowded areas or impaired individuals, can be critical in festival-related incidents.
- Establishing negligence: Your attorney will work to prove that the pedestrian acted negligently and that their actions directly caused the accident. This may involve demonstrating that the pedestrian disobeyed traffic laws, failed to exercise reasonable care, or engaged in reckless behavior, putting others at risk.
For example, if witnesses say a pedestrian attending the Mardi Gras parade was heavily intoxicated and suddenly stepped in front of your vehicle, this could prove they are responsible.
- Comparative negligence: Louisiana follows a comparative fault rule, which means that even if a pedestrian is partially at fault, they may still be able to seek compensation. However, the damages awarded may be reduced according to their assigned degree of responsibility.
For example, a pedestrian is assigned 85% fault for an incident. In this case, they could only recover 15% of the damage award due to their irresponsible actions.
- Insurance claims: If the negligent pedestrian has liability insurance coverage, your attorney will negotiate with their insurance company to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Insurance companies may minimize their payout, so having an experienced attorney can help protect your interests and maximize your claim.
- Festival-related challenges: Festivals like Mardi Gras can present unique challenges in personal injury claims involving pedestrians. Large crowds, excessive alcohol consumption, and general revelry can lead to people disobeying traffic laws, crossing streets unsafely, or engaging in reckless behavior.
If you must drive during these events, exercise extreme caution, move slowly, and watch for negligent pedestrian behavior to avoid an accident. Depending on the time of year, citywide regulations may be changed to reflect events such as Mardi Gras, so it is essential to view public notices before events and be aware of new restrictions.
When faced with a personal injury claim involving a negligent pedestrian in New Orleans, it is crucial to have the right legal guidance and representation. Navigating the complexities of the legal system, particularly in a city renowned for its festive events, requires the expertise of an experienced attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by someone disobeying traffic laws, speak with the New Orleans car accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier. We are skilled in handling pedestrian accident cases in the city and will protect your rights after a crash.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options.
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