Pedestrians and bicyclists are highly vulnerable in car crashes

Louisiana drivers owe a duty of care to their passengers and everyone else on the roadways, including pedestrians and bicycle riders. These two classes of individuals are particularly vulnerable on the roads because they are not protected by the cabin of a vehicle, seat belts and other safety devices designed to limit injuries in car crashes. Pedestrians and bicyclists suffer the full impact of a vehicle and can be seriously or fatally injured.

Despite taking all the right precautions, bicycle riders and pedestrians are unable to account for drivers who engage in distracting or dangerous behaviors behind the wheels of their vehicles. Even though drivers are warned of the dangers of distracted driving, some still engage in activities that take their attention off the road. Other Louisiana residents fail to heed warnings regarding driving under the influence.

Under these circumstances, drivers can easily fail to see a pedestrian or bicycle rider. These drivers do not give them adequate space, give them the right-of-way or yield to them as they cross streets. Impacts can cause a multitude of serious -- but survivable -- injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and broken bones, which can cause permanent disabilities. Sometimes, however, the injuries suffered in an impact lead to death.

In either case, bicyclists and pedestrians -- or their families in the case of death -- who become the victims of car crashes, may file either personal injury or wrongful death claims in Louisiana's civil courts. If a driver is found to be negligent, the injured victim -- or the family -- may be awarded damages. A monetary judgment could provide the funds needed to pay for current and future medical care or for a family who incurs unexpected financial losses when a loved one dies.

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Vincent J. DeSalvo, Attorney at Law
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Baton Rouge, LA 70809

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