Hit While Crossing The Road? Answers To Your Questions About Liability
While pedestrians and cars must both share the road, pedestrians are at greater risk of injury and death while doing so. One of the riskiest points for that pedestrian is when crossing the road. If you cross the road in the wrong place and are hit by a driver, could you be held liable for your own injuries? It depends. Here are some answers to your most pressing questions.
1. Does Jaywalking Make You Liable?
Jaywalking, or crossing the road between designated crosswalks and intersections, is generally against the law in most areas. Unfortunately, this means that the pedestrian who is found to have jaywalked is likely to be assigned at least some of the responsibility for an accident.
2. Is It Really Jaywalking?
The first thing to address is whether or not you really were jaywalking. The definition depends on your state's wording.
For instance, many jaywalking laws specify that pedestrians have the right of way any time they are crossing at an intersection — regardless of whether or not there is a crosswalk. The crosswalk is implied. So even if you were crossing somewhere without markings, you may not have jaywalked at all. Similarly, the law may stipulate that you must yield the right of way when vehicles are close enough to be a danger. This point is fluid.
3. Can You Still Get Damages?
The good news is that in most states, you can still sue for and receive financial compensation even if you share some liability. This depends on which legal doctrine the state follows. The majority of states follow the doctrine of comparative negligence. This assigns a percentage of liability to each party. If you win a lawsuit, you may still get compensation but it is usually reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
4. What About Other Factors?
In most pedestrian accidents, many factors are at work. While you may have crossed where you shouldn't have, was the driver texting, drinking, speeding, or dealing with kids in the back seat? Was the road badly-lit or did it have a blind corner which made it hard for you to gauge where cars were? Any of these additional elements may change how much liability a jury feels the pedestrian should have.
Where Should You Start?
Pedestrians involved in an accident while on the road need their own, dedicated legal counsel. It's vital to defend yourself against accusations of liability so you can receive the compensation you need to fully recover. Meet with a qualified accident attorney in your state today.
For more information, contact a local pedestrian accident attorney.