When most people hear the word accident, they automatically think about collisions involving two motor vehicles, like cars, trucks, or motorcycles. Bicyclists and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to getting hurt or losing their lives in accidents in Baton Rouge and other parts of Louisiana, though. Our Bianca | Matkins team will delve into those reasons below.
Many of those pedestrian accidents that occur leave victims vulnerable to suffering life-altering or permanently disabling injuries and often claim the lives of those unfortunate enough to have been struck. Victims who are seriously hurt or lose a loved one in a wrongful death incident like this are likely to accumulate significant medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, and other accident-related losses.
The good news is that Louisiana law allows personal injury victims or their surviving loved ones to take civil legal action against those whose negligence injured them. Each Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer on our team at Bianca | Matkins has extensive experience representing clients in negotiations with another driver’s insurance company and at trial in the courtroom.
Each pedestrian accident attorney at our Louisiana law office is more than ready to be your advocate to ensure you secure fair compensation for what the at-fault party has put you through. Our hope is that by holding the at-fault party accountable for their driver negligence, it will cause them to think twice before violating Louisiana traffic laws again that warrant you filing a personal injury lawsuit in Baton Rouge.
When Are Baton Rouge Pedestrians Most Vulnerable to Getting Hit?
There’s no shortage of parking in major Louisiana cities and especially the state’s capital like Baton Rouge; however, not everyone has a vehicle, nor is everywhere accessible by automobiles. Additionally, walking makes for great exercise.
Walking exposes pedestrians to various uncontrollable environmental factors such as crime, the weather, dangerous premises where they can get hurt, and motor vehicles. In terms of the latter, pedestrians are most likely to get struck by a vehicle when:
- Traveling along rural roadways: Roads are often windy, there are seldom any sidewalks (just shoulders), and motorists are generally traveling at a high rate of speed in these areas and not expecting to encounter individuals walking about.
- Navigating downtown areas by foot: It’s not all that uncommon for parking lots or garages to be few and far between in urban areas like downtown districts, meaning individuals have to cross multiple busy intersections as they walk several blocks to where they’re going.
- Walking to school: Allowing our kids to be independent and walk themselves the short distances from home to the bus stop or school is quite common as is walking around college campus from class to class at our city’s 4-year universities like Louisiana State University or Southern University and A&M College.
Which Types of Individuals Get Hit in Baton Rouge Pedestrian Accidents?
Additional situations in which an individual may walk as opposed to using some other type of transportation to get around, leaving them vulnerable to becoming entangled in a pedestrian accident, include:
- An intoxicated individual may not want to violate the law by getting behind the wheel of a car while inebriated
- Someone may want to go for a walk for exercise
- A person whose car breaks down may not have anyone to help them in their predicament
- Someone may need to get to work, the store, or somewhere else but not have their own vehicle to do so
- Individuals who fail to walk against oncoming traffic, especially without reflective clothing at night that would increase the visibility of them
As you can likely see, there are various scenarios in which a person may need or want to get around by foot, leaving them sharing close quarters with a motor vehicle. All it takes in those situations is a driver making one small mistake that results in a pedestrian accident to forever change the trajectory of that person’s life.
Serious Injuries Baton Rouge Pedestrian Accident Victims Suffer
Pedestrian injuries can range from minor to severe and even be fatal, depending on the nature of the crash. In our experience, seldom does a pedestrian accident attorney see where victims walk away unscathed or have sustained injuries that are relatively minor, like contusions or lacerations, after being in an accident involving a motor vehicle.
It’s more common for a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer to handle a personal injury claim in which the victim has, unfortunately, suffered catastrophic injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Blunt force trauma such as head and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Of course, no pedestrian injuries are ideal; however, hopefully, it’s of some solace to know that if an accident caused you harm, you can recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages you sustained.
Recovering Compensation in Your Pedestrian Accident Case
As hinted at above, if you were injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident in Baton Rouge, you may be eligible to recover compensation, including:
- Economic Damages: These include easily quantifiable expenses victims may amass after an accident occurred, such as medical costs and lost wages. These damages may also cover any future medical treatment you may require, which is often common in a personal injury case involving severe injuries.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are the intangible, collateral consequences that a pedestrian car accident caused, such as emotional distress. Losses of consortium, companionship, and enjoyment of life are some examples of these types of damages that you and your pedestrian accident lawyer here at Bianca | Matkins may be able to seek fair compensation for in the aftermath of your personal injury incident.
An additional type of financial compensation recoverable in Louisiana personal injury cases is punitive damages. Louisiana Civil Code (CC) Article (Art.) 2315.4 allows judges to award plaintiffs exemplary damages in civil legal matters when the severe injuries the victim suffered stem from the intoxicated motorist’s “wanton or reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others.”
Special Damage Caps That Apply to Louisiana Government Entities
It’s important to note that if the party who struck you while you were walking was a government employee or entity, then Louisiana Revised Statutes (Rev. Stat.) §5106 caps recoverable damages at $500,000.
While recovering financial compensation to cover traffic accident expenses like medical care and lost income is possible, it doesn’t come without a fight. This is why it’s critical to get a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer involved in your case right away. It’s the only way to ensure at-fault parties responsible for pedestrian accidents are held accountable for their actions.
Proving That a Baton Rouge Pedestrian Accident Was a Driver’s Fault
One of the reasons you’ll often hear attorneys implore vehicle-pedestrian accident victims to reach out to them as soon as possible after they get hurt is to preserve critical evidence to help with liability determinations. Injured victims can’t rely on everything to be taken care of for them when the police arrive at the accident scene.
Steps To Take After Your Pedestrian Accident Occurs
Compiling the following evidence after a pedestrian accident occurs is critical to being able to prove liability in your case:
- Calling the local police station to prepare an accident report
- Using one’s cell phone to snap pictures of the vehicle involved in the accident, the scene, and your injuries
- Taking down contact information for individuals who may have witnessed what happened so witness statements regarding the accident can later be secured from them
- Preserving any video footage you or witnesses (and even local businesses with surveillance cameras) may have showing how the accident occurred
- Seeking immediate diagnosis and treatment for any injuries you may have suffered and safeguarding your medical bills
How the Louisiana Pure Comparative Negligence Rule Applies to Pedestrian Accident Cases
You’ll want to reach out to a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer here at Bianca | Matkins for a free legal consultation as soon as you’ve completed most of the steps above so that we can perform a case review. If it’s clear that a motorist’s reckless driving led to you being hit, then we can move forward in filing a claim with that driver’s insurance company if you’d like us to.
In some cases, the evidence we review during that initial free consultation does not conclusively establish liability. In those rare instances, it may be necessary for us to bring in accident reconstruction experts to assess where negligence lies before taking any legal action on your behalf.
Louisiana subscribes to the pure comparative negligence doctrine, which means that anyone who contributes partially to their own injuries may have any potential compensation they recover reduced by their percentage of fault for the accident.
As you might imagine, an insurance company often attempts to deny liability to reduce its expenditures. If you want to recover a fair settlement, you and your pedestrian accident attorney must put up a strong case for liability so that an insurance adjuster can’t easily poke holes in it, reducing your potential recoverable compensation.
Statutes of Limitations That Apply to Louisiana Pedestrian Accident Cases
Louisiana CC Art. 3492 spells out how personal injury victims are given just one year from the time they are hurt to take legal action against the at-fault party. There are very few exceptions to this rule. Your attorney can advise as to whether these exceptions apply to your case.
How a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help You
You have choices when it comes to searching for a personal injury lawyer. However, not all attorneys and law firms are created equally.
Experience matters—especially when it comes to cases as complex as pedestrian accident ones—and that’s what our Bianca | Matkins legal team has. One small misstep in your case and you could forfeit your right to compensation or significantly reduce your ability to recover as fair of a settlement as you otherwise would have.
Don’t take chances in seeking justice for what happened to you. Reach out to our law office today to schedule a free consultation to discuss the next steps you should take with a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer.