Can I file a personal injury claim if I was jaywalking at the time of the accident in California?

pedestrians crossing the street in the crosswalk

Sadly, each year, a significant number of pedestrians suffer catastrophic injuries and lose their lives in traffic accidents. This means pedestrians must be more careful while navigating the roadway to ensure safety. However, despite the dangers, pedestrians may try to quickly cross the street outside of designated areas if they do not see approaching traffic. Even if it appears safe to cross the street outside a designated area, you should refrain from doing so as it is hazardous. If you have been struck by a vehicle while jaywalking, it is in your immediate interest to contact a determined Santa Clara County Pedestrian Accident Attorney who can help you fight to obtain the just compensation to which you may be entitled. Please continue reading to learn how jaywalking can impact your accident claim.

What is jaywalking?

Jaywalking refers to the unlawful act of a pedestrian walking in or crossing the street outside a designated roadway area without regard for oncoming traffic. When you decide to walk rather than drive as your mode of transportation, you must legally walk in official and unmarked crosswalks. When these designated areas are unavailable or inaccessible, you can cross the roadway at the nearest intersection as long as you yield to approaching traffic.

It is critical to understand that motorists have the right of way anytime pedestrians cross the street anywhere other than a designated crosswalk or intersection. Jaywalking drastically increases the chances of pedestrians being struck by vehicles, which is why it is illegal in California. If you are caught jaywalking, you could be subject to steep fines.

Can I file a claim if I was hit by a car while jaywalking in California?

Like many other states, California follows comparative negligence rules when determining fault in personal injury claims. California follows a pure comparative negligence system which allows injured parties to collect damages even if they are partially at fault for a collision. Accident victims can recover monetary compensation for their injuries even if they are found 99% at fault for a crash. Since California does not follow modified comparative negligence rules,  their ability to collect compensation is not capped at 50%. However, despite not being disentitled from seeking compensation, accident victims’ awards will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault for the cause of the accident.

Therefore, even if you were jaywalking at the time of the accident, you still have the right to be compensated for your damages. However, this is only the case if you can prove that the motorist that hit you also contributed to the cause of the accident. For example, if you were jaywalking and the motorist that hit you was driving recklessly, liability would be split as both parties are negligent in this scenario.

If you have been hit by a car while jaywalking, contact an experienced Santa Clara County pedestrian accident attorney from the Law Offices of Brian J. O’Grady, who can help you seek reasonable compensation for your damages.