When we think of pedestrian accidents, our initial assumption is to blame the driver for speeding, driving while distracted, failing to yield, or failing to keep a proper lookout. But while drivers are almost always entirely at fault for collisions with pedestrians, it is not always the case.
Just like with any type of injury case, determining fault in a pedestrian accident comes down to proving what duty of care was owed and whether any laws were broken. Jaywalking is one subject that is commonly discussed when it comes down to liability. Below, discuss how this act impacts fault in pedestrian-vehicle collision cases.
The Duty of All Pedestrians
Everyone is required to follow the rules of the road, including pedestrians. According to California Vehicle Code 21955, pedestrians are required to use crosswalks at intersections where there are traffic lights or police. This makes the act of jaywalking illegal; some examples include:
- Crossing outside of the designated crosswalk area
- Crossing the road when the light says or indicates “do not cross”
- Running across the street 15 or more feet away from a marked crosswalk
A jaywalking pedestrian who is hit by a car and injured can still pursue compensation against the driver, but their total damages may be reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident due to California’s comparative negligence laws.
Shared Fault in Pedestrian Accidents
Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to determining fault in a pedestrian accident involving a jaywalker. There are typically several factors that dictate what either the driver or the pedestrian should have been doing to prevent the accident.
For instance, if a vehicle driver is texting while driving and speeding down the highway when they collide with a jaywalker, it would most likely be considered the driver’s fault for not obeying the law and failing to remain vigilant while behind the wheel.
However, if a driver is obeying all traffic laws with their eyes vigilantly on the road when a person darts out in front of their vehicle, the pedestrian may share a higher percentage of the fault. Ultimately, an attorney is needed to determine what percentage of fault a pedestrian played in a pedestrian-vehicle collision.
Helping Injured Pedestrians Recover the Right Way
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, we urge you to seek legal representation so that your best interests are protected. Whether or not you were jaywalking at the time of the accident, the insurance company will do everything in their power to put part of the fault on you in order to limit your potential settlement.
Get seasoned, hard-hitting legal advocates in your corner. Contact Fowler Helsel Vogt at (559) 900-1280 to speak with our legal team for free today.