In most situations, it’s required that motor vehicles yield the right of way to a pedestrian, especially if they can see them and are able to stop to avoid an incident. If they fail to do so and it leads to an accident, it often results in a personal injury lawsuit in Texas. In Texas, strict laws are in place to keep pedestrians safe, including laws that prevent jaywalking. However, this doesn’t always keep pedestrians from jaywalking, so the question is—what happens if you’re jaywalking and you’re struck by a car? Who’s fault is it, and can you recover compensation?
If you were struck by a car while jaywalking, a skilled Texas personal injury attorney may help you navigate the process and give you the information you require about liability issues and recovering compensation.
What Is Jaywalking?
Jaywalking is where an individual walks or crosses a road or street unlawfully or with a disregard for oncoming traffic. It may also include a person crossing a roadway in an area other than where there’s a designated or suitable crosswalk.
If you were jaywalking and a vehicle struck you, you may still be able to seek compensation if the driver broke the law or was negligent. But, the driver will likely argue that you’re at fault since you weren’t following the law by jaywalking.
How Is Fault Determined?
There are a couple of scenarios here:
1. A vehicle accident involves a pedestrian running out in front of the vehicle, not giving the driver any time to react. There’s not much the driver can do and little time to react when the pedestrian runs out in front of them. There are witnesses that saw the whole thing. In a situation like this, witness testimonies may help insurance adjusters come to a quicker decision. Insurance companies may also look at traffic cameras, police reports, and whether or not the driver followed all applicable laws.
2. Scenario two involves a driver who is entirely at fault. In this case, the pedestrian may seek compensation and recover damages easily from the driver’s insurance policy for general and economic damages. The primary hassle in these scenarios is having to fight with the insurer to increase its lowball offer.
Texas is a comparative fault state – meaning in any situation when a pedestrian gets struck by a vehicle, the fault of the driver and fault of the pedestrian will be compared to determine who is at fault. All facts will need to be investigated by your attorney, some investigations will need to look into:
- The vision field of the driver;
- The location of the pedestrian at the time of impact;
- The lighting;
- The working condition of the vehicle;
- The lighting – if a nighttime collision.
Texas Pedestrian and Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
Texas upholds both pedestrian laws and modified comparative negligence laws that must be followed.
Texas has several laws in place to keep pedestrians safe when they’re entering or are around roadways. Some of these laws include:
- Vehicles must slow down and yield the right of way to all pedestrians inside either marked or unmarked crosswalks. This may include crosswalks that have painted lines at intersections, but not all intersections have painted lines. In unmarked areas like these, which includes areas where there are stop sign intersections and T-intersections, pedestrians continue to have the right of way when they cross.
- Vehicles are required to yield the right of way to all pedestrians that are crossing entrance gaps like sidewalks at the entrance of alleyways, driveways, or parking lots.
- Pedestrians must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic if they are looking to cross a street where there’s no marked crosswalk or intersection.
- Pedestrians must abide by all traffic signals when they cross a controlled intersection, including all pedestrian or traffic lights. When pedestrians disobey traffic signals, they’re essentially forfeiting their right of way.
- Pedestrians must use intersections and marked crosswalks when they’re available. If they fail to use one that’s available, it means they’re forfeiting their right of way.
- Pedestrians may not enter a roadway or intersection in areas where vehicles aren’t able to slow down or stop safely in time to yield.
A skilled personal injury attorney can help you navigate Texas pedestrian and modified comparative negligence laws.
Modified Comparative Negligence Law
When determining liable parties in jaywalking accident claims and other personal injury claims, Texas uses a modified comparative negligence law. Under this law, no party that is found to be more than 50% at fault or liable for the accident (i.e., their own damages and injuries) may recover damages.
Modified comparative negligence makes it hard for individuals who jaywalk to file successful injury claims. In most circumstances, pedestrians who were jaywalking as described by Texas law are often found to be a minimum of 51% liable, which bars them from seeking compensation. At this point, the “less liable” driver would likely have the ability to sue the jaywalker for damages if there are any damages to pursue.
Can You Still Receive Compensation if You Jaywalked?
While Texas does employ the modified comparative negligence law, and jaywalking is considered illegal through this law, there are still scenarios where you could potentially receive compensation if you were jaywalking and may prove that the driver of the vehicle that struck you does share a part of the liability for the accident. According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Sec. 33.001, injured parties may receive compensation if they’re less than 50% liable for the accident.
Here’s an example of a situation where you may still be able to seek and receive compensation even though you were jaywalking. You cross a roadway that is outside of a crosswalk, and you’re struck by a car. The driver of the car was intoxicated and speeding during the accident. Since this driver was acting negligently, they now share a big portion of the liability for the accident.
In this situation, you would have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. Since the driver holds partial liability for the accident, you’re more than likely to win the case. But, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by the amount of liability you’re found to have. Essentially, the more responsible you are for the accident, the less compensation you’ll be awarded.
Contact Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Dale Rose Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If you were struck by a vehicle while you were jaywalking, you should consult with experienced personal injury attorney Dale Rose. He’ll advise you on your legal rights and options according to Texas law that is specific to your personal injury case. He’ll represent you in court if required and fight on your behalf to seek and receive any compensation you’re entitled to—even if you were jaywalking.
Call Dale Rose today at (972) 634-ROSE (7673) or fill out our contact form to learn more about our legal services and schedule your free consultation.