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Determining Fault in a Jaywalking Accident

Jaywalking is the act of crossing a street outside of a determined crosswalk. A seemingly harmless shortcut for pedestrians, unsafely crossing a street can potentially place risk on both pedestrians and drivers and lead to accidents that result in serious injury.

While Jaywalking is illegal in California, a jaywalking accident is not automatically the fault of the pedestrian. Since both pedestrians and drivers owe themselves and others a duty of care, it is important to fully assess the situation before assuming full responsibility.

If you are injured in a jaywalking accident in California, immediately contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to help you determine the logistics of your case as well as where the fault lies for any resulting injuries.

Determining Fault

It is commonly understood that drivers must demonstrate due care toward pedestrians which includes following speed limits, light signals and signage, minding bike lanes, and yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Similarly, pedestrians have a duty of care for their own safety and the safety of others by using caution when crossing streets. Pedestrian negligence that can be used against a person in a case includes jaywalking and sudden actions such as stepping off a curb into the street in an undesignated crossing area.

While vehicles are generally expected to stop and yield to a person, a pedestrian can be considered partially responsible for the negligence that contributed to their injuries. Similarly, vehicles are not completely free of fault simply because the person was jaywalking when they were hit. Fault can be determined by evidence including eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, whether the vehicle was speeding, and other factors of negligence such as whether either party was distracted by their phone.

Comparative Negligence

California follows the law of comparative negligence which allows for both the plaintiff and the defendant to be held liable for damages in certain circumstances. In situations where both parties demonstrated partial negligence, the court can issue percentages of fault, requiring each party to pay damages to the other or mitigate the liability of the defendant. In a case that is resolved through comparative negligence, the plaintiff does not have the right to recover what they contributed to the accident.

For example, in a jaywalking case where the driver is found to be responsible for 60 percent of the negligence and the pedestrian is 40 percent at fault, the pedestrian would receive 60 percent of the total possible damages.

When to Contact an Attorney

Assuming fault and complete responsibility in a jaywalking accident can be detrimental to your overall financial, physical, and emotional health. If you are injured in a jaywalking accident it is important to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney immediately. An attorney can help you construct a case with evidence that demonstrates a clear division of fault and help you seek fair and just compensation for your injuries.

If you have been seriously injured in a vehicle-involved pedestrian accident in California, contact the personal injury attorneys of Bostwick & Peterson to discuss your case and gain a better understanding of your rights. We have offices in San Francisco, California and represent clients in the Bay Area and throughout California.