The first step in a personal injury claim is determining who is liable for your injuries. If you've recently been injured in a pedestrian accident, there are several parties who could be named as potential defendants.
Driver Responsibility for Pedestrian Accidents
Drivers have a responsibility to maintain control of their vehicles and behave in a way that minimizes the risk of injury to themselves and others. In terms of preventing pedestrian accidents, this includes the following behaviors:
- Traveling at a safe speed
- Staying alert and attentive to the road—avoiding any forms of distracted driving
- Looking out for crosswalks in the vicinity
- Using a horn to warn pedestrians of their approach, if reasonable under the circumstances
- Yielding the right of way to pedestrians when appropriate
When the pedestrian is a child, the driver is expected to take additional care. Children are only expected to behave in way that is developmentally appropriate for their age. This means, the driver has the primary duty to avoid injuring a child pedestrian.
Other Potential Defendants in a Pedestrian Accident Claim
The driver of the vehicle who struck you is the most obvious defendant for a pedestrian accident claim, but other parties may be liable, as well. Other potential defendants include:
The Driver's Employer
If you're struck by a bus, taxicab, delivery truck, or someone driving for his employer, the company that owns the vehicle might be liable for the accident.
If a defect in the vehicle that struck you caused the accident, you can sue the manufacturer for damages.
Vehicle repairs that were not performed correctly can sometimes contribute to accidents. If a driver struck you due to problems related to faulty repairs, the company providing the repairs may be liable.
If poorly maintained roads, missing signage, inadequate lighting, or other maintenance issues caused your pedestrian accident, the property owner responsible for the area might be liable for your injuries.
If an accident involves a child or a disabled person under the care of a private or organizational caretaker, the caretaker may be liable if negligent supervision contributed to the accident.
How Contributory Negligence Affects Your Claim
Louisiana law is generally favorable to pedestrians since they are not protected by the frame of a motor vehicle and, thus, vulnerable to severe injury even in a low speed collision. However, it's not impossible for a pedestrian to be found partially at fault for an accident.
Pedestrians, just like motorists, are expected to obey the rules of the road. Pedestrians can be partially at fault for:
- Disobeying traffic signals
- Failing to look both ways before crossing the street
- Darting into traffic
- Walking in the road instead of using the sidewalk
Louisiana law still allows you to receive compensation for your injuries if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, your settlement will be reduced. For example, if you were 25% at fault for the accident and would have otherwise been able to receive $100,000, your settlement would be $75,000. The remaining $25,000 would be considered your financial responsibility due to your role in causing the accident.
How an Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
A personal injury claim is a type of civil action seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to your accident. It is not mandatory to be represented by an attorney to file a claim, but retaining legal representation is the best way to protect your right to a fair settlement.
Your attorney can gather evidence such as witness testimony, accident photos, and surveillance video to determine who may be liable as a defendant before negotiating a settlement on your behalf. This allows you to direct your attention to recovering from your injuries and returning to your normal daily routine.
Have You Been Involved In A Louisiana Pedestrian Accident?
If you've been injured in a pedestrian accident you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.