If you’ve never jaywalked across a street, you’re one of a vast minority. Nearly everyone has done this at one time or another, but regardless of whether they knew it or not, they broke the law each time.
The statutes in Nevada, Arizona and states across the country are very clear on the subject. All pedestrians who wish to cross a street must do so only in a clearly marked crosswalk and at right angles to the curb. They must never make the crossing:
– Between two intersections in the middle of the block.
– Against a traffic signal.
– On the diagonal.
– While under the influence or otherwise impaired.
– In defiance of a bright red “Do not walk” instruction.
Most localities treat this as a minor offense. Arizona normally views it as a traffic violation, but although it may subject you to a fine, it won’t add points to your license. However, life for the jaywalker won’t always be roses. Maricopa County has been known to levy heavy fines for this infraction and may even arrest repeat offenders.
Unfortunately, people who ignore pedestrian rules have been known to find themselves in unexpected physical contact with moving cars or trucks. That’s when things can go downhill in a hurry.
When Jaywalkers and Vehicles Collide
Most people believe that in any accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the law will come down hardest on the driver. After all, pedestrians have little protection, and don’t they always have the right of way?
From a legal standpoint, the answer is no. The pedestrian doesn’t always have that right, especially when he is doing something illegal in a place where he shouldn’t be doing it. In any situation of this type, the person traveling on foot at the time is likely to share at least some of the blame.
However, it will come as a relief to jaywalkers and other scofflaw pedestrians to learn that in most cases, the courts will find the driver to be at least partially at fault. That’s when the legal concepts of contributory and comparative negligence will come into play.
Jaywalking and Comparative Negligence
When applying the concept of comparative negligence, the courts attempt to assign varying percentages of blame to each of the parties involved. This will reduce by a comparable extent the amount of any damages awarded to the injured party. For example, if a pedestrian enters an intersection while texting on his iPhone, the courts could find him at least partially responsible for an ensuing accident that might not have occurred if he had taken the time to look both left and right before he crossed.
Comparative negligence will affect the amount of any damage award in one of two ways. If the state adheres to the doctrine in its purest form, the courts will lower the amount of damages by the percentage of blame shouldered by the injured person.
In contrast, states that follow the doctrine of modified comparative negligence will only award damages to an injured individual whose percentage of blame is deemed to be less than half. If the courts should find a pedestrian to have been 50 percent or more at fault for the accident that caused his injuries, he stands to collect nothing under modified comparative negligence.
Jaywalkers and Contributory Negligence
In Alabama, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, the older concept of contributory negligence still holds sway. Under its far more stringent restrictions, an injured pedestrian who bears as little as one percent of the blame will be barred from filing a claim for liability against the driver who put him in the hospital. In any one of these four states, a party to any accident must be 100 percent free of responsibility if he hopes to file a personal injury suit.
How Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys Can Help
In any legal claim arising from an accident between a pedestrian and a vehicle, the assignment of fault is a vital but complicated factor. The jurors who make this determination will base their decision on the arguments put forth by both sides through the lawyers who represent them.
If you are a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle while jaywalking or otherwise failing to obey the local foot traffic rules, your success in pursuing a lawsuit hinges upon a personal injury attorney’s skill at arguing your type of case in court. You’ll find that attorney in Lloyd Baker. With so much at stake, don’t leave the outcome of your case to chance. Call Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.