Imagine that you are driving to the store just after dark. You are in your own neighborhood where everything is familiar to you. Suddenly, someone crosses the path of your car out of nowhere. That person is wearing dark clothing with no reflectors. Thankfully, you react quickly and avoid hitting the pedestrian.
However, this person was jay-walking and could easily have been hit. Would you be responsible for the accident? Although motorists tend to take the blame for many accidents involving pedestrians, sometimes the person walking is held liable. This most likely would have been the case with the man jay-walking in the dark.
Most pedestrians are held liable when accidents occur under a doctrine called “contributory negligence”. This means that the pedestrian should have been paying attention, not jay-walking without wearing reflective clothing when crossing a street.
As a pedestrian, vehicles are not the only accidents in which you may be injured. Thousands of non-vehicular accidents occur each year. There are various reasons, such as poor property maintenance, parking lot or sidewalk defects, and debris on walkways.
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident whether vehicular or due to a product defect, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries if the other person was negligent. Negligence is considered to be the failure to do (or not do) something that a reasonable person in the same situation would do.
When you are walking, you must exercise reasonable care for your own safety. Nowadays, that can mean don’t read messages on your phone while crossing streets.
If you’re walking, here are just a few simple things to keep in mind:
- Don’t ignore “Walk” signals at intersections
- Don’t dart in and out of traffic, and
- Don’t jaywalk; always use a sidewalk or path
If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.