The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that approximately 5,000 pedestrians are killed in accidents involving motor vehicles every year, including residents of Louisiana. In addition, 76,000 people are involved in pedestrian accidents with automobiles that result in injuries. These injuries are often serious and even debilitating. Due to the significant number of pedestrian accidents that result in serious injuries and death, understanding legal liability for these types of incidents is important.
Four elements of establishing liability in pedestrian accidents
There are four legal elements that must be satisfied in order for a motorist to be deemed responsible for a collision involving a pedestrian. First, a motorist must have a legal duty to a pedestrian. The fact is that when a person is driving on a public roadway, he or she has a duty to exercise reasonable care behind the wheel.
Second, in order for motorists to be held responsible for people injured in pedestrian accidents, the driver must have breached that duty of care. For example, if a driver runs through an intersection against the right of way, that can be considered a breach of duty of reasonable care.
Third, the breach of the legal duty of care must be the cause of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. Finally, the pedestrian must sustain actual injuries.
Parties possibly responsible for pedestrian injuries
The reality is that multiple parties may be responsible for injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents. These include:
- Driver of the vehicle that collides with a pedestrian
- Party responsible for maintaining a sidewalk, roadway, parking lot or other location in a safe condition
- Multiple motorists
- Pedestrian who contributed to their own accident
Because pedestrian accidents can result in significant injuries, legal representation is important to ensure appropriate compensation for injuries, damages and losses. Proactively obtaining legal representation may help protect an injured person’s legal interests.