Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on the road, and motorists have a responsibility to be aware of them. However, the idea that “pedestrians always have the right of way” is not entirely accurate. Pedestrians must abide by traffic laws, such as crossing at crosswalks. In some instances, failure to do so can make them liable for resulting collisions.
What Is Jaywalking?
Jaywalking refers to the act of illegally crossing the street where there are no crosswalks, without regard for approaching traffic. However, it is worth noting that Florida law has no statutes prohibiting jaywalking. That being said, Florida Statute 316.130 makes it clear that pedestrians may not:
- Walk on a street paved for vehicles when a sidewalk is available
- Cross the street while facing a red light
- Move into the path of a vehicle when the driver has no chance of safely evading the pedestrian
These illegal actions may constitute jaywalking, and a pedestrian who performs them may face consequences.
Right of Way in Marked vs Unmarked Crosswalks
In Florida, pedestrians have the legal right of way when in a marked crosswalk. But what happens if there is no crosswalk and you see a pedestrian? You should be aware that some crosswalks are “unmarked.” This means drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing at intersections with traffic signals or stop signs, even if there is no obvious indication of a crosswalk.
However, when a pedestrian crosses outside of a marked crosswalk, they lose the legal right of way. The pedestrian must yield to vehicles on the road. What happens if you hit a pedestrian not in a crosswalk? Liability-wise, the answer depends on the circumstances.
When Is a Pedestrian at Fault If They Were Hit by a Car?
A pedestrian may be found at fault if they were hit by a vehicle while:
- Crossing against a red light
- Darting out into traffic unexpectedly
- Impaired due to drugs or alcohol
- Not paying attention or being distracted by a cell phone
If the pedestrian was violating traffic laws and being negligent, the driver may not be liable for their injuries. Their insurance company can argue that the accident was the pedestrian’s fault.
When Is a Driver at Fault If They Hit a Pedestrian?
Drivers can be deemed at fault for hitting a pedestrian if they:
- Were speeding, especially in areas with crosswalks
- Ran a red light or stop sign
- Were distracted or impaired while driving
- Did not yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- Failed to exercise proper caution in areas where pedestrians are likely
Even if the pedestrian was jaywalking, the driver may share fault if they had time to react but failed to brake or take evasive action. In such a case, the driver’s negligence contributed to the accident.
Contact Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyers for Help
In addition to the emotional shock that comes from hitting a pedestrian, many drivers are fearful that they will be automatically deemed at fault for the accident. However, liability-wise, what happens when you hit a pedestrian depends on the circumstances.
The experienced pedestrian accident lawyers at Cardoso Law, PLLC, can help you determine whether you may be eligible to file a compensation claim against a pedestrian whose negligent actions caused you to suffer injuries and other losses. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.