Does Jaywalking Prevent Recovering For Injuries in a Pedestrian Accident?

If you are jaywalking and injured by a motorist, can you still recover from the motorist for your injuries? Consider the following scenario. You are crossing the street, phone pressed to your ear on an important work call after leaving a customer meeting that ran extremely late.  There are pedestrians all over the place, as your customer’s office is in a popular neighborhood with lots of bars and restaurants.  Looking down the street, you see that the crosswalk is nearly the length of the street away, while your car is parked right across from you on the other side of the street. You decide to cross in the middle of the block to save time.

You step into a space between two parked cars, take a cursory glance either way and don’t see any traffic. You then step out onto the street, paying more attention to what your boss is saying about the new customer you will be pitching next week than what traffic there is, when a car barrels straight into you.  Thankfully, although you are knocked off your feet, you are not seriously injured.  Nevertheless, it’s evening rush hour and the car’s driver clearly should have been paying more attention, particularly given that it was dusk, and he was driving quickly through an area with many businesses and restaurants where it would be natural to expect that people would often be crossing the roads outside of crosswalks.

However, you were jaywalking–breaking Florida law–so can you still recover from the motorist for your injuries?  The simple answer is yes.  Even if a pedestrian is technically violating Florida law in doing so, a motorist who injured a pedestrian that was jaywalking, or crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk, may still have been operating his or her vehicle in a negligent manner.  This means that, even though the pedestrian herself was not following the law, she still could recover from the negligent motorist for whatever portion of fault the motorist had in causing that accident.

Florida: Everyone’s Negligence is Assessed

The point to always remember in every personal injury scenario is that Florida is a comparative negligence state, meaning the jury considers everyone’s negligence involved in any scenario.  In this particular situation, the jury would consider not only whatever negligence it determines there was on your part for jaywalking while on your phone, which would reduce the recovery you would be entitled to receive against the driver that hit you, but it will also assess that driver’s negligence.  If the jury determines that the driver should have been paying closer attention, particularly considering it was dusk and rush hour, then that driver would be held responsible for whatever portion of fault the motorist had in causing the accident that resulted in your injuries.

Florida Law for Pedestrians and Motorists Where Pedestrians Are Present

Florida law provides that any pedestrian who is crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the road.  Florida law also provides that, if a road has a marked crosswalk, then the pedestrian is required to walk in the crosswalk when crossing the road.  Therefore, in the scenario above, if there was a crosswalk down the street but you chose not to utilize it because you thought doing so would require you to walk too far and take too much time, then you are violating Florida law by jaywalking.

However, Florida law also provides that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.”  This means that, even if a pedestrian may be violating Florida law in some manner, whether by crossing outside a crosswalk or crossing the street against a signal, motorists are still required to do everything they can to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.  This is particularly important given that drivers rather than pedestrians are usually in a better position to avoid a collision than a pedestrian.  Thus, the driver in the above scenario should have been paying better attention to avoid a potential collision with a pedestrian, even one jaywalking.

Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley

Pedestrian accidents in Florida occur all the time.  Many times, the situation is not quite so clear cut as to who has responsibility and who does not in an accident between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian.  Indeed, both the motorist and the pedestrian may have had some role in the incident occurring.  At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of pedestrian accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents in Florida. If you are a pedestrian who has been injured due to the negligence of a Florida motorist, you have the right under Florida law to receive compensation for your injuries.  This is true even if you may have had some role in causing the accident.  Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one has been injured by a motor vehicle while walking on a Florida road, regardless of whether you bore any fault in connection with the situation or not, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.