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Is A Driver Always Liable If He Strikes A Pedestrian?

When a New Orleans personal injury accident involves a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, Louisiana has specific laws regarding the duty of the driver. These laws, however, do not automatically make the driver legally responsible for the pedestrian’s injuries.

Louisiana Revised Statute 32:214 requires that drivers shall “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a highway.” Based on this statute, whether a driver is liable for a pedestrian’s injuries hinges upon whether the driver exercised “due care” to avoid a collision but still struck the pedestrian.

Generally, a determination of whether a driver was using “due care” requires a jury to compare the driver’s actions to how it believes a reasonably prudent person would have acted under similar circumstances and conditions. The degree of care the driver is required to exercise varies based on the potential dangers the driver faces. For example, someone driving past a school when it is letting out may be held to a higher standard to protect the safety of pedestrians than someone who is driving on an interstate highway in a rural area.

The degree of care a driver must exercise may also hinge on whether the driver saw, or should have seen, the pedestrian. Once aware a pedestrian is present, a driver is required to take appropriate precautions to protect that pedestrian. In contrast, a driver may not be held to the same standard of care by a jury when – for example – the pedestrian was wearing dark clothing in an unlit area at night and the driver did not seen him.

If you have been struck by a car, we would be happy to answer any questions regarding your rights. Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.