It’s no surprise why so many people make a habit out of jaywalking. It saves time, and trekking down the road just to reach an intersection can seem overly cautious. Unfortunately, if you were hit by a vehicle while jaywalking, it might be difficult to recover compensation for 100 percent of your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
In the state of California, pedestrians are generally prohibited from entering a roadway outside of a marked crosswalk, or on an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection so near to a vehicle as to cause imminent danger. Breaking this law is usually considered negligent. Under California’s pure comparative negligence system, the financial recovery in a personal injury case can be reduced by the claimant’s own percentage of fault. For example, if you incurred $30,000 in damages following an accident for which you were 50 percent liable, you would be entitled to no more than $15,000 in compensation.
Under some circumstances, however, it is possible for a pedestrian accident victim to obtain compensation for all damages incurred even if he or she was jaywalking. Read on to learn about those circumstances and to find out the answers to a few FAQs about these cases:
When Could a Motorist Be Liable for Striking a Pedestrian Who Was Jaywalking?
All motorists have a duty to monitor their surroundings for potential hazards, and that includes pedestrians who are crossing the road. This is especially true when driving by schools, parks, residential developments, shopping centers, and other places where people are likely to be on foot. Motorists also have a duty to follow all traffic laws. They breach this duty when they speed, drive under the influence of alcohol, or drive while distracted.
When drivers breach the duty of care, they can be held liable for any collisions that occur as a result. If you were hit by a vehicle while jaywalking, you may be able to recover compensation for 100 percent of your damages if the driver was intoxicated, using a cellphone, or breaking another traffic law.
For example, if a motorist who is traveling 45 mph in a 20 mph zone strikes a child who ran out into the street to retrieve a ball, the driver would likely be held liable for at least a portion of the resulting damages. Had the driver been traveling within the speed limit, he or she may have had time to stop and avoid the collision.
Even if the driver was in fact breaking a traffic law, the insurance company may still try to shift some of the blame to the victim. In this scenario, a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer may use the following evidence to prove liability:
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Footage from the dash cameras of any vehicles that were in the vicinity when the accident occurred;
- Recordings from surveillance cameras at establishments near the scene;
- Cell phone records;
- The results of any blood or breath tests administered shortly after the accident;
- Photographs of the scene; and
- The official police report.
When Could a Pedestrian Be Entirely Liable for an Accident?
Under some circumstances, a pedestrian can be found 100 percent liable for an accident. Just as drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians, pedestrians owe a duty of care to drivers, and they can be held liable for any damages that result from a breach of that duty.
As previously mentioned, pedestrians are generally prohibited from entering a roadway outside of a marked crosswalk, or on an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection so near to a vehicle as to cause imminent danger. If a pedestrian violates this law by entering the road outside of a marked crosswalk in close proximity to a vehicle, and the driver of that vehicle was not breaking a traffic law, the pedestrian may be held entirely liable for the resulting accident.
Can Pedestrians Ever Cross Outside of a Controlled Intersection or Marked Crosswalk?
Yes. Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 21954(a), pedestrians can cross the road outside of a controlled intersection or a marked crosswalk if they yield the right-of-way to all vehicles that are near enough to pose an immediate danger; however, if there’s a controlled intersection or marked crosswalk nearby, pedestrians have a duty to use it. In other words, you can be cited for jaywalking even if there are no vehicles in close proximity as long as there was a controlled intersection or marked crosswalk nearby.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Discuss Your Case with a Long Beach Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you or a member of your family was seriously hurt in a pedestrian accident, contact the Law Office of Michael D. Waks to discuss your case. Even if you think you were partially to blame for the accident, you may be entitled to at least some compensation for the resulting damages.
After evaluating your case in a free consultation, attorney Michael D. Waks can perform a thorough investigation to determine the most strategic way to approach your claim. This may involve interviewing eyewitnesses, getting input and deposition from accident reconstruction experts, looking for surveillance footage, and gathering other evidence that might contribute to the strength of your case. Call (562) 206-1939 or fill out our Contact Form to speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer in Long Beach.
Download Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF
It’s easy to panic after any accident—whether you’re in a vehicle or on foot. Even if the injuries you sustain aren’t life-threatening, the shock of such an unanticipated and traumatic event can make it hard to remain calm and think clearly. That’s why we created our Car Accident Emergency .PDF. In the event of a collision, you can refer to this handy checklist to ensure you gather all the information you’ll need to file an insurance claim. Click Here to download it for free, and save it on your smartphone so you’re always prepared. You can also print a copy to keep in your glove compartment.