Crosswalks are meant to be safe places for pedestrians to cross busy roads. Unfortunately, more and more, they are also the scenes of serious injuries. Motor vehicles and bicycles both are injuring and killing pedestrians in record numbers.
Right of Way
In Louisiana, pedestrians almost always have the right of way when they enter a crosswalk. In most situations, motorists are required to yield and/or stop and let the pedestrian cross all the way to the other side. Pedestrians include people who are considered to be on foot i.e. walking, running or jogging.
Even when pedestrians have the right of way, crosswalk accidents still occur. The top reasons for these accidents include:
- Distracted driving including using phones while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless driving
The most common results of a crosswalk accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises, cuts and lacerations
What to do after an accident
- Call the police. If you were injured by a motorist as a pedestrian, whether or not you were struck while on a crosswalk, call the police if you are able to do so. Never accept money from the driver to keep the incident quiet. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, you may become aware of significant injuries later after the adrenalin wears off. And by accepting payment from the at-fault driver, you may harm your chances of getting fair compensation later.
- Go to the hospital. You should insist on being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. This will ensure that your injuries are confirmed and treated by a medical professional. This is essential even if your injuries appear minor. Many times, pedestrians who are struck in crosswalks experience shock after the accident. You may not fully appreciate the pain let alone symptoms of internal injuries.
- Call a lawyer. Your next step should be to seek the assistance of a skilled and experienced lawyer. This levels the playing field and ensures that your rights are protected throughout the claims process. A lawyer will improve your chances of being awarded full compensation for your injuries.
- Don’t speak with the insurance adjuster until you have a lawyer. Do not speak to any insurance adjuster that may attempt to contact you at this time. You will eventually need to make a statement to the adjuster, but wait until you have a lawyer working with you. Refer all communication to your lawyer. The only statement you should make at the time of the accident is a statement to the police as they investigate the accident.
There are exceptions to the right of way laws on crosswalks. Pedestrians who are distracted while walking onto crosswalks or dart into crosswalks at the last minute may be partially at fault and this may impact your ability to recover damages. Here again, an experienced pedestrian accident attorney such as those here at Stag Liuzza will be invaluable.