Does Jaywalking Make Me at Fault for My Pedestrian Accident? 

By Osborne & Francis
October 25, 2023

Florida is notorious for being a dangerous place to take a walk. There were 899 pedestrian fatalities in our state in 2021, a jump of 183 from the previous year. Florida made up 12% of all pedestrian deaths in the U.S. that year. 

Most people assume that the driver is always at fault when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian. But that’s not the case. Like all personal injury cases, pedestrian accidents are complex. In some instances, the pedestrian will play a role in causing an accident by jaywalking or some other type of reckless behavior. 

If you suffered an injury while jaywalking, you still might be able to obtain compensation. The attorneys with Osborne & Francis will get to the bottom of how the accident occurred and fight to help you get as much money as possible. Schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or calling 561-293-2600.

Is Jaywalking Actually Illegal?

While jaywalking (crossing the street in a careless or unsafe manner) is illegal in most states, Florida doesn’t mention this behavior in its statutes. But while our state doesn’t have a “jaywalking law” per se, Florida law does address some of the behaviors that constitute jaywalking. 

For example, pedestrians only have the right of way if they cross using a crosswalk or they have a “Walk” sign. You can’t just cross the street wherever you like and expect drivers to yield to you. Also, the following behaviors are illegal in Florida:

  • Walking on a road when a sidewalk is available.
  • Crossing while facing a red traffic light.
  • Running or walking into the path of a vehicle when the driver can’t possibly react in time to avoid you.

Does Jaywalking Make Me At-Fault?

Determining fault can be a complex legal issue in a pedestrian accident involving jaywalking. While jaywalking is considered risky and can contribute to an accident, it doesn’t automatically make the driver entirely at fault.

The legal concept of "duty of care" applies to drivers and pedestrians. Drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, and pedestrians have a duty to exercise reasonable care for their safety while crossing the road. The specific circumstances of the accident will be crucial in determining fault.

For instance, if a pedestrian suddenly darts into the road while a driver has no reasonable time to react, the pedestrian's actions may play a significant role in attributing fault. On the other hand, if a driver is speeding or distracted and hits a pedestrian who is crossing carefully, the driver may be considered more at fault.

Other Ways Pedestrians May Be At Fault

Aside from jaywalking, pedestrians can be found at fault in various situations, including:

  • Crossing against a traffic signal: Ignoring pedestrian crossing signals can put pedestrians at risk and potentially lead to accidents.
  • Failing to use designated crosswalks: Pedestrians are generally expected to use crosswalks when available and to follow designated paths for safe crossing.
  • Darting into the road suddenly: If a pedestrian unexpectedly enters the road without giving drivers sufficient time to react, they may be partially at fault.
  • Walking while distracted: Pedestrians who are distracted, for example, by using a smartphone while crossing the road, may not be exercising reasonable care for their safety

Comparative Fault in Florida

Florida follows the legal principle of modified comparative fault, also known as comparative negligence, in personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents. This means that fault can be distributed among the parties involved based on their percentage of responsibility for the accident.

If, for example, a police investigation shows that a pedestrian was 40% at fault for the accident due to their carelessness, the court would reduce the pedestrian’s compensation by 40%. If their damages were $100,000, they’d only receive $60,000. If the investigation finds the pedestrian was 51% or more to blame, they won’t be eligible for compensation.

Recovering Damages From Your Insurance

Your auto insurance policy may provide coverage for bodily injury liability. This coverage is intended to compensate injured pedestrians for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident.

However, in cases where the pedestrian's actions, such as jaywalking, contributed to the accident, the insurance company may attempt to reduce the compensation paid to the injured pedestrian based on comparative fault. This is why it's crucial to have proper legal representation to ensure a fair assessment of fault and appropriate compensation for all parties involved.

How Can a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Help You?

A skilled attorney can help you obtain compensation even if you’re partially at fault for the accident. These are just some of the ways they can be of assistance with your personal injury case:

Thorough Investigation and Evidence Gathering

One of the essential tasks of a pedestrian accident attorney is to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. They’ll gather evidence from various sources, such as eyewitness accounts, traffic camera footage, police reports, accident reconstruction experts, and medical records. This evidence is critical in establishing the facts of the case and determining the level of fault for both parties involved.

Assessing Fault and Liability

Based on the evidence collected, the attorney will assess the level of fault for both the pedestrian and the driver. They will analyze the circumstances leading up to the accident, relevant traffic laws, and any contributing factors that might have played a role in the incident. This assessment will be crucial in negotiating with insurance companies or presenting your case in court.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance companies after a pedestrian accident can be challenging. Insurers may attempt to minimize the amount they pay by using various tactics. Having an experienced attorney by your side will level the playing field. Your attorney will handle all communication with the insurance company, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Settlement Negotiations

Many pedestrian accident cases are resolved through settlement negotiations with the at-fault driver's insurance company. An attorney can negotiate to reach a fair settlement covering your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. They will use their legal knowledge and negotiation skills to seek the best possible outcome.

Representation in Court

If the insurance company refuses to settle, your pedestrian accident attorney will be prepared to represent you in court. They’ll file a lawsuit on your behalf, gather and present evidence, and argue your case before a judge and jury. A skilled litigator advocating for you can significantly increase your chances of a favorable outcome at trial.

Contact Osborne & Francis to Speak with an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Osborne & Francis attorneys have extensive expertise in handling pedestrian accident cases in Florida. If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident and need legal representation, contacting our experienced attorneys can provide you with the guidance and support you need during this challenging time. Use our online form or call 561-293-2600 for a free case review.

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