How Right of Way Laws Impact Louisiana Car Crash Claims

traffic lights in front of overcast skyLouisiana has various laws governing the right of way in different situations. Violating these laws is not only illegal, but also dangerous, as these laws exist to help lower the risk of a crash that could result in injuries or even death.

When crashes occur, one of the first questions that may be asked is: Who had the right of way before the collision? If a driver did not have the right of way, he or she is likely to be found liable for damages that may result from the crash.

How familiar are you with these laws? It can be helpful to take some time to review right of way laws to make sure you are following them. This could help lower your risk for a crash.

As right of way laws can be complex, crash victims should discuss their situation with a licensed attorney. At Galloway Jefcoat, we have in-depth knowledge of traffic laws and other laws that may impact car crash claims. An initial legal consultation is free and there are no obligations to hire our firm.

Types of Crashes Where Right of Way is an Issue

The answer to the question of who had the right of way is often central to car crash claims involving the following types of collisions:

Attorneys are often able to draw a causal connection between a driver violating right of way laws and a crash occurring. In other words, attorneys are often able to show a crash would not have occurred without a right of way violation.

However, attorneys often need strong evidence to validate these claims. That is why crash victims should strongly consider finding an experienced Lafayette-based auto accident attorney to represent them.

Who Has the Right of Way in an Intersection?

Car accidents often happen in intersections, as there is traffic moving in multiple directions. We assume other drivers are going to obey stop lights and other rules of the road, leaving us vulnerable to negligent drivers who run through red lights or stop signs or attempt to make turns when traffic is not clear.

These are some of the basics to remember about right of way in intersections in Louisiana:

  • Drivers who have a green light can go straight through an intersection or turn right or left, unless there is a sign prohibiting a left or right turn.
  • Even if you have a green light, you must stop and yield to pedestrians and vehicles that are lawfully within the intersection or a crosswalk.
  • Drivers facing a red light must stop at the clearly marked stop line or before entering the crosswalk.
  • You are allowed to turn right at a red light after cautiously entering the intersection, unless a sign prohibits turning on a red light.
  • When the traffic light is flashing a yellow arrow, you are allowed to cautiously enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow.
  • If you are making a left turn or U-turn on a flashing yellow arrow, you are required to yield to other vehicles approaching the intersection from the opposite direction.
  • When traffic lights are not working as they should, approach the intersection with caution. Yield to the driver to the vehicle that got there first; if multiple vehicles got there at the same time, yield to the vehicle on the right.

Right of Way at Stop Signs and Yield Signs

If you are approaching an intersection with a stop sign, you must stop before entering the crosswalk or at the point nearest the intersecting road where you have a view of approaching traffic.

When you are approaching a four-way stop, the driver in the first vehicle to stop at the intersection has the right of way. If two ore more vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left must yield to the driver on the right.

If you are approaching a yield sign, you must slow down to a speed that is reasonable for the conditions or come to a complete stop before entering the crosswalk or clearly marked stop line. You must yield to any pedestrian legally crossing the road or to any vehicle that is in the intersection or approaching another highway so closely that it is a hazard.

If a driver violates these laws, he or she could face significant fines and a license suspension. If someone suffers serious bodily harm in a crash caused by a violation of these laws, the at-fault driver could face prison time. Prison time may also be on the table if the crash results in death.

Other Laws for Pedestrians

If you are at an intersection and a blind person with a white cane or guide dog enters a crosswalk or begins crossing the street, drivers must yield, no matter the traffic signals.

It is against the law for pedestrians to walk on a highway if there are sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, pedestrians must walk on the shoulder facing traffic.

It is also important to note drivers are required to always yield to pedestrians, even pedestrians who are illegally crossing the street. In other words, you are obligated to avoid a crash with a pedestrian even if the pedestrian is breaking a traffic law.

However, pedestrians do not get a free pass for breaking traffic laws. They can be fined for failure to yield. If a pedestrian darts out into the road and you have little to no time to slow down or maneuver to avoid a crash, the pedestrian may be found at least partially at fault.

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles

An emergency vehicle always has the right of way, provided its lights are flashing and the siren is sounding. Drivers must pull over to let the emergency vehicle pass.

Even if you are already in an intersection, you need to pull over as much as possible and wait for the emergency vehicle to pass you.

Contact Galloway Jefcoat to Discuss Seeking Compensation

For more than 25 years, the attorneys at our firm have been securing compensation for injury victims, including motor vehicle crash victims. We are committed to recovering maximum compensation to help victims pick up the pieces after an unexpected accident.

There is a misconception that crash victims cannot afford to hire an attorney. However, at our firm, there are no upfront fees for our services. In fact, our attorneys do not get paid for the services they provide unless the victim receives compensation.

Learn more by calling today: (337) 984-8020.