In most states, jaywalking is a violation of the law, but hitting a pedestrian is illegal in all states. In situations such as these, it turns into a pedestrian-car legal dispute to clarify what happens if you hit a jaywalking pedestrian. The attorneys of White Law PLLC share insight into how this traffic violation is handled and who is responsible for a collision with a jaywalking pedestrian.
Not all states and jurisdictions will have the same laws surrounding shared liability, which can create a complex roadmap for pinpointing fault and giving traffic violations to the appropriate party. Regardless, in these situations, pedestrians are most at risk for injury or even death. Learn how pedestrian-car accidents are evaluated for liability when jaywalking is a factor.
What Is Jaywalking?
Jaywalking is a term coined to define pedestrians who cross the street illegally- such as by walking outside of a designated pedestrian crossing area, crossing against the appropriate light, or failing to yield to approaching cars. At the moment, it seems like a small infraction, but in reality, it puts many lives in danger, and you could be ticketed or fined if caught.
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Why Is Jaywalking Illegal?
As mentioned, jaywalking is not illegal in all states, but it impedes traffic flow and creates a risk, so it is highly discouraged. Trends reveal that jaywalking is policed more in populated cities, like Seattle, so if you hit a jaywalking pedestrian, you could be cited, fined, or worse, depending on the injuries and jurisdiction.
Assigning citations to jaywalkers is a way to reduce this occurrence, but most places within the United States rarely implement punishment as a way to curb such traffic violence. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that pedestrian deaths have been on the rise, but some places, like California, are moving towards decriminalizing jaywalking.
What Should You Do if You Hit a Pedestrian Who Is Jaywalking?
If you accidentally hit a pedestrian who was illegally walking outside of a crosswalk or against traffic, it is important to prioritize safety and well-being first. Take the following actions to handle the situation responsibly:
Stop and Do Not Leave the Scene
It is imperative that you stop, move out of the way to safety, and stay on the scene so that you won’t be charged with a hit-and-run. Avoid jeopardizing actions that tarnish the validity of your status as a law-abiding citizen.
Assess for Injuries
Examine the physical state of the pedestrian and any other parties to the collision to look for any injuries. Make an immediate call to emergency services if someone needs medical assistance. A person who is hurt should not be moved unless there is an imminent danger to their safety, such as a fire.
Alert the Authorities
To report the accident, get in touch with the police or emergency services. Give them precise information about the location, the health condition of each party, and any other pertinent information. A formal accident report is necessary for insurance claims and any legal actions.
Exchange and Collect Information
Give the injured pedestrian your name, address, and insurance information. Obtain information from any on-site witnesses as well, in case their testimonies may be needed later. Take pictures of the accident scene, including the positions of the involved parties, any obvious wounds, and the surrounding area. These images can be used as proof to back up your description of the incident.
Inform Your Insurance Company
As soon as you can after the accident, notify your insurance provider. Give them precise information about the occurrence.
Consult an Attorney
It is advisable to speak with a personal injury lawyer who has handled accidents involving pedestrians. They can defend your rights, help you navigate the legal system, and offer guidance.
Remember that different jurisdictions have different laws governing pedestrian accidents and that negligence and local traffic laws can have an impact on responsibility. Understanding your legal responsibilities and rights in this circumstance requires seeking legal advice from an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.
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How Is Fault Determined for Jaywalking Pedestrian-Car Accidents?
Studies show that jaywalking leads to an increase in crashes and the chance of serious injury. Still, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault in pedestrian-car collisions involving jaywalkers since it depends on a number of variables, such as local traffic regulations and the specifics of the accident. The following factors may be taken into account when determining fault:
- Pedestrian’s duty of care: Even while jaywalking, pedestrians have a responsibility to take reasonable precautions for their own safety. A pedestrian may be held partially or entirely accountable for an accident if they breach this obligation and it causes the collision.
- Driver’s duty of care: Even if a pedestrian is jaywalking, drivers still have a responsibility to drive reasonably and keep an eye out for them. To prevent collisions, drivers are supposed to keep a proper lookout, follow the rules of the road, and take the appropriate precautions.
- Local traffic regulations: When evaluating blame, local traffic regulations are quite important. These laws may provide certain guidelines for motorist obligations, pedestrian right-of-way, and jaywalking. These laws can be broken, which may affect how fault is determined.
- Contributory negligence: According to the contributory negligence rule, which some countries uphold, responsibility can be attributed to either party in an accident depending on how negligent each was. The driver’s actions or inactions may still contribute to the collision and affect who is to blame, even if the pedestrian was jaywalking.
- Comparative negligence: Unlike contributory negligence, comparative fault awards the parties involved compensatory damages in proportion to the extent of fault each individual had during the accident. Depending on the facts of your case, you may receive a reduced or lucrative payout.
- Evidence: Statements from those who were present during the accident can shed important light on what took place. Additionally, by painting a clearer picture of the circumstances leading up to the collision, any accessible evidence, like security video, pictures, or accident reconstruction reports, can assist in determining fault.
In any event, insurance agencies are responsible for assigning fault. It’s important to retain an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer who can negotiate a fair settlement or litigate properly for a favorable outcome if you hit a jaywalking pedestrian.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
What Legal Options Do Motorists Have if They Hit a Pedestrian?
Without knowing the details of your case, it is hard to advise you on what your legal alternatives are. The complexity of determining your legal options after a pedestrian-car collision involving Jaywalkers makes it necessary to speak with a personal injury lawyer with experience handling these types of cases. To assist you in correctly determining or evading fault, they can evaluate the particulars of your accident, help you understand the process, and argue for your rights.
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