Jaywalking and Hit By a Car

While dominant and powerful, cars are not the only ones traveling the roads. Especially in densely populated areas,  pedestrians frequently traverse the streets. So what happens if you were jaywalking and hit by a car?

Pedestrian Rights

First things first, make sure you know your pedestrian rights.

Pedestrians have the right of way:

  • At marked crosswalks
  • On sidewalks
  • On all public roadways (even highways!)

Pedestrian Legal Obligations

However, just because pedestrians have the above-listed rights doesn’t mean they don’t have to follow certain rules, such as:

  • Following all traffic signs and signals
  • Always using sidewalks if they are available
  • Being safe & responsible to themselves & others


Jaywalking occurs when pedestrians walk into or cross a street that has traffic, other than at a suitable point, or otherwise in disregard of traffic rules. Jaywalking is often considered breaking the law, though every state has different laws on what constitutes jaywalking and enforces those laws differently.


Like with other car accidents, there will need to be a determination of fault. Fault in an auto accident usually boils down to one question, “which party acted negligently?”. Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.

  • Pedestrian Negligence: While a pedestrian is most likely to be harmed in a collision with a car, it doesn’t mean they can’t be held somewhat responsible for the accident, especially if they were jaywalking. If the pedestrian was breaking the law, disobeying a traffic signal, or even walking while intoxicated, they may be found negligent and become liable for damages caused in the accident.
  • Driver Negligence: Even if the pedestrian was breaking the law, the driver of the car still has a responsibility to avoid an accident by braking or swerving. Plus, the driver should also be following all traffic laws. Failure to try and avoid the accident, or driving irresponsibly or illegally, may result in the driver being found negligent.
  • Pure Comparative Negligence: Many courts use the theory of pure comparative negligence when determining fault. This theory states that the fault of each party involved is based upon their respective contributions to the accident. The percentage of fault is often used when determining compensation.

Example:   The pedestrian jaywalks, which is in violation of the local traffic laws, The car driver hits the pedestrian. The pedestrian decides to file a personal injury claim against the driver and is awarded $100,000 in damages. However, the jury finds the pedestrian to be 30% at fault for the accident since they were jaywalking and acting negligently. Therefore, the pedestrian’s damages will be reduced by 30% to $70,000.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian, contact the law offices of Kamper Estrada, LLP. Our experienced personal injury lawyers Phoenix, AZ tusts can help you understand if you may be at fault and what sort of compensation you may be entitled to.


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