Pedestrian accidents are an all too common occurrence in the Bayou State. On average, four pedestrians a day in Louisiana are struck by a motor vehicle. In 2018, Louisiana was ranked as the second most deadly state for pedestrians by the National Highway Safety Administration with a rate of 3.5 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, nearly twice the national average. That year, 165 pedestrians were killed and another 1,470 were injured on Louisiana roadways, according to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation at Louisiana State University.
Rates of pedestrian fatalities are shockingly high nationally as well. While overall traffic fatalities continue to inch lower thanks to new motor vehicle safety features and better education and enforcement, there has been a recent spike in pedestrian deaths. Some experts attribute it to more distracted drivers and use of electronic devices. The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways has reached its highest level in three decades, skyrocketing 60 percent from their recorded low in 2009 to 6,283 deaths in 2018.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, risk factors include crossing outside of an intersection, time of day, and alcohol. Three out of four pedestrian fatalities occur outside of an intersection. The vast majority take place at night or in the early morning hours in dark conditions. Alcohol often also plays a role, with half of all crashes in which a pedestrian is killed involving an impaired pedestrian and/or driver.
Common Pedestrian Injuries
Because of the vulnerability of a pedestrian when struck by a motor vehicle, which outweighs him or her by thousands of pounds and is capable of traveling at incredible speeds, pedestrian injuries tend to be very serious and can be life-threatening.
The most common pedestrian injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries, such as internal bleeding or a collapsed lung
- Pelvic injuries, often from making contact with the hood of a vehicle or the ground
- Broken or fractured bones, such as the bones of the wrist or elbow
If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian, you owe it to yourself to speak with a trusted attorney with experience winning pedestrian accident cases in Louisiana before you sign any document that could limit your right to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Louisiana Laws and Pedestrians
It is important to understand the rules of the road for pedestrians in Louisiana, especially if you or a loved one has been injured.
Pedestrian rights under Louisiana law:
Pedestrians have the right-of-way on any sidewalk including those that extends across an alley, road, driveway or building entrance.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk. Motorists must yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk when no traffic signal is present or when the vehicle is making a turn.
If a pedestrian enters a crosswalk when the pedestrian signal says “walk,” the pedestrian may continue through the crosswalk to the other side or to a safety zone or neutral area if the signal changes.
Pedestrian responsibilities under Louisiana law:
Pedestrians must use a sidewalk where one is available. It is illegal for a pedestrian to walk on a roadway if it has an adjacent sidewalk.
If a roadway has no sidewalk or walking path adjacent, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic.
Pedestrians are required to obey all traffic control signals and signs. A pedestrian signal takes precedence over a traffic signal. For example, a “do not walk” signal would take precedence over a green traffic light.
Pedestrians must exercise caution when entering a crosswalk. They are required to follow traffic signals at intersections and use the right side of a crosswalk when practical. They may not jump out into a crosswalk in front of a vehicle.
Pedestrians may not cross an interstate highway, except in the case of an emergency.
Vehicle operator responsibilities to pedestrians under Louisiana law:
Drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and on sidewalks, as detailed above.
Drivers in Louisiana who encounter a pedestrian in their path are required to use the vehicle’s horn if necessary and drive in a safe manner to avoid causing an accident.
Drivers are required to exercise caution when they observe a pedestrian walking on or near a roadway to ensure his or her safety. In particular, a driver must drive cautiously when encountering a pedestrian who is a child, or who seems lost, intoxicated or confused.
Drivers must yield to blind or incapacitated pedestrians.
Drivers may not pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk or intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross the road.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best steps to take to keep yourself safe as a pedestrian are to:
- Make yourself more visible when walking at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing reflective clothing, such as reflective vests.
- Only cross a roadway at a designated crosswalk or intersection whenever possible.
- Walk on a sidewalk or footpath, and not on the road. If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic.
- Avoid walking near roadways if you have been impaired by alcohol or drugs. Use extra caution and keep the volume low enough to hear traffic if you are walking with headphones or electronic devices like earbuds.
Call the Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a member of your family has been injured as a pedestrian in Louisiana, don’t wait. Call the Charbonnet Law Firm today. You may feel pressured by insurance companies to settle your claim quickly before learning the full extent of your injuries and the costs that may be associated with them. You may feel overwhelmed with medical bills, doctors visits, recovery and lost work. Let us help you through this difficult time.
Call today for a free consultation with a member of our experienced, caring legal team. At the Charbonnet Law Firm, a skilled attorney can help you understand your rights under Louisiana law, and help you decide how best to pursue your case. If you decide to pursue your case with us, we will be there with you every step of the way, taking care of all the details, ensuring the best possible outcome and the best compensation for your injuries. Let us give you peace of mind that your interests are being protected so you can focus on healing.