Everyone can be a pedestrian because the legal definition of the word includes people using various methods to move through any space. Pedestrians include walkers, joggers, skateboarders, and even bicyclists. The term also encompasses people using assistive devices, such as wheelchairs.
Although many think of traffic laws as rules for motorists, there are also traffic laws that apply to pedestrians. For example, pedestrians aren’t supposed to jaywalk. Let’s explore jaywalking and what happens when people are in jaywalking accidents.
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The attorneys at Bernstein & Maryanoff can answer all your questions and explain your options after a pedestrian accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What is jaywalking?
Jaywalking is a term used to refer to a pedestrian crossing the street when or where they shouldn’t. Jaywalking isn’t limited to a time or place; it can refer to either or both. Suppose you’re going to a store on the other side of the road, and you cross the street before you reach the crosswalk. This is an example of crossing at a place where pedestrians aren’t supposed to cross the road, which is jaywalking. However, if you were at an intersection with a signal telling you not to cross the street but did so anyway, that’s also jaywalking. That’s an example of crossing at a designated pedestrian crosswalk when you don’t have permission to cross the road.
When do pedestrians have the right of way?
Suppose you want to cross the street. You’re waiting at an intersection, and the pedestrian light changes to the walking man. The traffic light also changes to green, and a motorist signals they plan to turn, which would cause them to drive over the designated pedestrian crossing area. You may wonder if pedestrians have the right of way in this situation.
When pedestrians cross the road at a crosswalk with a light indicating they can cross, they have the right of way. Motorists turning through the crosswalk must wait until the pedestrians have crossed the road.
Some crosswalks aren’t at intersections. These crossing areas are marked by white stripes on the pavement. When a pedestrian steps onto the stripes to indicate they plan to cross the road, motorists must stop because pedestrians always have the right of way at these crosswalks, provided they’ve given drivers enough time to stop.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way when jaywalking. Jaywalkers can be fined for breaking pedestrian laws. Each state has pedestrian statutes designed to prevent pedestrian accidents.
Is jaywalking dangerous?
One of the differences between pedestrians and motorists is that pedestrians are more vulnerable than all motorists, excluding motorcyclists, because cars and trucks have safety features to protect occupants. When a motorist is in an accident, their car’s exterior absorbs some or all of the impact. Car manufacturers have been required to include airbags in vehicles for decades. Airbags provide an extra layer of protection and can prevent severe injuries in car accidents.
Pedestrians don’t have anything to absorb the impact of a collision. Pedestrians are more likely to die or suffer severe injuries because they have nothing to protect them in collisions with vehicles. A comparison of the number of motorcyclist, vehicle passenger, and pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents in 2020 reveals that pedestrians had the highest number of fatalities in this group, with 6,516 deaths that year. Vehicle drivers were the only group with more traffic accident fatalities.
What happens if you hit a pedestrian jaywalking?
Common reasons for pedestrian accidents include poorly marked or unmarked pedestrian crosswalks. Lack of lighting is another factor because poor lighting can prevent motorists from seeing pedestrians indicating they plan to cross the street. Distracted driving is another leading cause of pedestrian accidents.
Florida traffic statutes require drivers to stay at the scene if they’re involved in an accident involving injuries. You should also provide aid and call the authorities. The police must investigate the accident to determine who was at fault. Although pedestrians may be solely at fault if they were jaywalking, it’s possible that an investigation could reveal other factors that must be considered, and the pedestrian may only be partially responsible for the accident.
What happens if you’re hit by a car while jaywalking?
You may be incapacitated if you’ve been injured while jaywalking. If possible, use your cell phone to contact the police and call an ambulance. You can also collect contact information from the motorist involved and any eyewitnesses. Using your phone to document your injuries and the accident scene is also a great idea.
You can also contact a pedestrian accident attorney from the accident scene. An attorney will explain your rights and tell you what you should and should not do after your accident.
How can a personal injury attorney help after a jaywalking accident?
A pedestrian accident lawyer can evaluate your case and identify at-fault parties who may be liable for your injuries. Poorly marked crosswalks with poor lighting could be factors contributing to your injuries. Suppose a damaged sidewalk forced you to move off the sidewalk and walk on the shoulder of the road. The city may be liable for failing to provide safe sidewalks.
Being injured in an accident is frightening and stressful. Pedestrian accident lawyers have the expertise needed to protect your rights while fighting for you to receive justice and compensation after your accident.
NO FEES UNLESS WE WIN
Protecting Your Rights Since 1983
Contact a pedestrian accident lawyer for a free consultation after your jaywalking accident.
Air Bags. (2023).
FLA. STAT. § 316.027(2). (2022).
FLA. STAT. § 316.130. (2022).
Vehicle Safety. (2015).
Who is considered a pedestrian? (2023).
About the Author
Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.
Jack Bernstein is a hard-working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you’ve been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.