Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
In 2017, 1,491 pedestrians were injured in traffic in Louisiana, and 113 lost their lives. The number of pedestrian injuries has been rising continuously since 2014. More and more Baton Rouge residents find themselves in need of a pedestrian accident lawyer as well.
Pedestrians are the ones who incur the most severe injuries in traffic accidents. To understand why that happens, it is enough to imagine the force with which a car can hit the frail human body, the impact with the carriageway or a nearby curb, and the consequences such injuries can have.
Many pedestrians hurt in traffic accidents need months of treatment and complex and expensive recovery programs. Since they are unable to work, they lose their wage as well. Some of them never recover completely and, even if they can keep a job, they are no longer able to make the same money they used to.
The only hope to get by becomes the compensation they can receive from the party at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, many accident victims, overwhelmed by the costs of their recovery, avoid hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer thinking they will save money, or worrying that they will not be able to afford their services.
Experienced pedestrian accident lawyer Bart Bernard knows how difficult recovering after an accident and putting up with the related expenses can be. To help out accident victims, he offers free case evaluations and accepts to get paid only after winning cases, from the compensation he obtains for his clients.
With the help of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer, many Baton Rouge residents have managed to recover the losses and get back on their feet. Looking back, all of the victims regularly admit that they would not have been able to obtain the compensation the pedestrian accident attorney obtained for them. The reasons are numerous, and many of them stem from misconceptions regarding pedestrian rights under Louisiana laws.
Misconceptions Regarding Louisiana Laws and the Truth from the Perspective of a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Baton Rouge
1. If a Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured, Obtaining Compensation from Them Is Impossible
Indeed, the easiest way to obtain compensation after being hit by a car is to file a claim with the insurer of the driver at fault, and this is not possible if the respective driver is uninsured. If the driver at fault is underinsured, a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer should have no problem obtaining compensation within the limits of the available coverage.
Besides filing a compensation claim with an insurance company, Louisiana accident victims have the right to seek compensation for their losses in civil court. Sure, a civil lawsuit takes time and requires the knowledge and skills of an experienced Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer, but it is an option worth considering, especially if the party at fault’s status and financial situation would enable them to pay the due compensation.
There are also cases when the driver at fault for the accident is during their work hours and covered by their employer’s insurance. In this case, a knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer may be able to seek compensation from their employer. For example, if the driver at fault works with a rideshare company and has accepted a ride, it may be possible to obtain compensation from the rideshare company.
2. If the Pedestrian Is Partly at Fault, The Right to Compensation is Likely Lost
Indeed, Lousiana laws embrace the contributory fault principle, accepting the possibility for all the parties involved in an accident to share liability for it. However, unlike in other states, where those who are 50% at fault for their accident lose their right to compensation no matter the value of the damages incurred, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, even those 80 or 90% at fault can recover some of their losses.
Louisiana laws see accident liability as 100%. The police investigating the accident, the parties negotiating a settlement (the victim’s pedestrian accident attorney and the insurer of the driver at fault), or the civil court determines the liability share of each party involved in the accident. The parties will then be responsible for the share of damages corresponding to their share of liability.
Thus, someone 30% at fault for an accident will have to cover 30% of the total damages that accident caused. If they were the only one to incur damages and the damages were worth $10,000, they should still receive the remaining 70% of the damages, namely $7,000.
Those who are not sure what their liability share is or whether they can recover any losses should ask a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer to evaluate their case. The latter will analyze all their case details and estimate total damages and the compensation the victim should be able to obtain.
Generally, claimants who work with a pedestrian accident attorney manage to obtain higher compensations than those who choose self-representation. As mentioned above, Bart Bernard offers free case evaluations, so those who turn to him for advice have nothing to lose.
3. The Other Party Can Claim They Had Right-of-Way and Refuse to Pay Compensation
Indeed, almost all the parties involved in accidents in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana try to blame one another in order to avoid paying compensation or diminish the amount they have to pay. However, the outcome depends not on what the parties claim, but on what they can prove.
An experienced Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer will always look at the facts, at the available evidence, and even conduct their own investigation and gather their own evidence to prove how the accident occurred and support the client’s claim.
Depending on the case detail, the claim substantiation process can be as simple as citing the applicable Louisiana laws and presenting a video recording as evidence. It may also involve gathering more complex evidence, bringing witnesses and expert testimonies, requesting technical expertise, estimating costs and outcomes, and citing case precedents.
Before accepting a case, any experienced pedestrian accident lawyer will want to know how the accident took place. They will ask questions and request details in order to identify the applicable pedestrian laws and any instances in which the parties violated them.
Having relevant experience in defending pedestrians and thorough knowledge of Louisiana laws, Bart Bernard is able to thoroughly evaluate cases and success odds even during the preliminary meeting. His clients always leave his Baton Rouge office content that they know where they stand, what Louisiana laws stipulate regarding their case, and what steps they need to follow.
Louisiana Pedestrian Laws a Baton Rouge Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Will Explain to Their Clients
The most important laws for pedestrians in Louisiana refer to the right of way. According to them:
- Drivers should stop and yield right of way to pedestrians crossing the roadway they are on or the one onto which they are turning at crosswalks where there are no traffic-control signals in place or operation
- Pedestrians should never leave the curb or another safe place and run or walk in front of a vehicle so close to them that the driver cannot stop safely to yield right of way
- Drivers are not allowed to overtake and pass vehicles stopped in front of them to allow pedestrians to cross at marked or unmarked intersection crosswalks
- In areas where overhead pedestrian crossings or pedestrian tunnels are available, pedestrians should use those, or yield right of way to any vehicle before crossing the roadway at unmarked crosswalks.
- When approaching intersections with a yield sign, drivers should slow down, yield right of way to the oncoming traffic, and only cross the intersection when it is safe to do so without disrupting oncoming traffic
- Drivers turning left should yield right of way to any cars traveling straight through the intersection
- Drivers entering paved roads from unpaved ones, alleys, private roads, driveways, or yards have to yield right of way to any pedestrians and to the paved road traffic
- In intersections with no or malfunctioning traffic signals, all drivers have to yield right of way to the vehicles that have already reached the intersection and to those coming from their right. Flashing red lights mean that all vehicles should stop at the crosswalk or stop line and approach the intersection as they would if a stop sign were in place.
- Emergency vehicles using their sirens and flashing lights always have the right of way, so drivers should pull over to allow them to pass and yield right of way to ongoing traffic before reentering the road unless a police officer directs otherwise.
Of course, pedestrian accidents in Baton Rouge do not always have violations of these rules as their primary cause. In fact, the cases experienced pedestrian accident lawyers handle often have other causes, the most common of which are detailed below:
Common Accident Causes a Baton Rouge Pedestrian Accident Lawyer May Encounter
- Driving under the influence – Alcohol and drugs negatively influence reactions speed, making it impossible for many drivers to stop safely or avoid pedestrians or road hazards.
- Speeding – In their attempt to save time, many drivers forget to pay attention to their speedometer and end up exceeding speed limits and causing serious accidents.
- Distracted driving – Although Louisiana laws only prohibit texting while driving in adult drivers, other activities, from phone calls to radio channel switches and conversations with passengers, can cause drivers to take their eyes off the road and lose control of their vehicle as well.
- Tailgating – Many drivers neglect to maintain a safe distance from the cars in front of them and, when those cars stop to yield right of way to pedestrians, they end up rear-ending them and pushing them over the pedestrians.
- Reckless driving – Many drivers neglect to adjust their speed to traffic conditions and make dangerous traffic maneuvers that make it impossible for them to stop when they have to yield the right of way to a pedestrian or a pedestrian gets in their path.
- Bad weather – Sometimes, drivers do not realize that the carriageway is wet and slippery, and they drive so fast that, when they hit the brakes, their car either does not stop immediately or slides away, running into other cars or nearby pedestrians.
- Technical defects – Many drivers postpone maintenance works or try to cut corners when it comes to repairs, and their vehicles fail them when they least expect it.
Identifying the cause of an accident is the first step a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer will take to identify the party at fault and decide against whom to file their client’s compensation claim. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the available insurance coverage, there are several potential defendants to a pedestrian accident claim or civil lawsuit.
Potential Defendants for a Baton Rouge Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
- The insurer of the party at fault – When the party at fault for the accident is insured, most pedestrian accident lawyers prefer to seek compensation from their insurer.
- The pedestrian’s insurer –If their client has insurance coverage applicable to their particular case that covers medical expenses or various accidents, the pedestrian accident attorney may find it appropriate to seek compensation from their client’s insurer.
- The driver – When their client was hit by an uninsured driver, or the insurance the driver has does not cover their client’s losses, the pedestrian accident lawyer may decide to file a lawsuit against the driver in civil court.
- The driver’s employer – When the driver at fault for the accident is on the job, their employer may be held responsible for their actions.
- The road administrator or property owner – When the accident occurs on private property, or they have evidence that the accident occurred due to the negligence of the administrator, the pedestrian accident lawyer may decide to see compensation from them.
- Third–party service providers – Sometimes people or institutions pay for services they never truly receive, or which end up jeopardizing their lives. When that happens, the victims have the right to seek compensation from service providers, no matter if they are a car repair shop, a road maintenance company, or a parts manufacturer or supplier.
In order to determine who the best defendant for their case is, claimants should consult a pedestrian accident attorney. The latter will analyze the details of their case, evaluate all available options, and propose the best one. In some cases, it may even be advisable to file several separate complaints or file a complaint against one party and a civil lawsuit against another one.
Bart Bernard always weighs all options carefully and recommends the one that guarantees the best results for their client, no matter the amount of work involved or how long obtaining a fair compensation may take. He always presents his clients with all the options and details available, enabling the latter to make the best choice in their particular situation.
No matter if they decide to hire a pedestrian accident lawyer or they prefer to take matters into their own hands, claimants should never wait too long before trying to recover their losses. Louisiana civil code only gives them one year to recover injury and property damages, and the procedures involved take time and preparation as well.
Moreover, benefitting from the advice of a knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer is the safest way for victims to save time, money, and effort, avoid mistakes, and secure the best outcome for their case.
What a Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Baton Rouge Can Do for Clients
The sooner a lawyer starts working on a case, the more helpful they can be. For example, if called in time, the attorney may be able to get to the scene of the accident at the same time with the law enforcement officers and any insurance agents.
There, they can help their client collect the information they need from the other parties involved in the accident. They will also gather evidence on how the accident occurred and who was at fault for it, and they will assist their client during the discussions with the authorities and anyone else present at the scene, to prevent them from saying or doing something that could undermine their interests.
While their client focuses on recovering and moving on with their life, the pedestrian accident lawyer prepares and files the compensation claim or the civil lawsuit. They will take care of all the paperwork involved, and keep their client informed of their progress.
When they receive a settlement offer, they will evaluate it and advise their client on whether to accept it or not, try to negotiate better terms, or defend their clients’ interest in civil court if they do not succeed.
Hire Bart Bernard as Your Baton Rouge Pedestrian Accident Attorney Now!
Having years of experience in defending pedestrian rights, Bart Bernard will not rest until winning his client’s case. He is so confident in his skills and knowledge that he only charges clients upon winning their case, retaining his fee from the compensation he secures for them.
If you want to enjoy all the benefits described above and have an experienced and dedicated Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer handling your case, call our office today or fill in the contact form and schedule a FREE consultation! You have nothing to lose!