There are a lot of reasons why pedestrian accidents occur – and they continue to happen far too frequently. They can happen anywhere, and they can happen at any time. It’s easy to assume that drivers of vehicles cause most of these accidents, but there are some instances where pedestrians either play a role or cause them outright.
Please get in touch with Sand Law if you’ve suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident. We’ll do everything we can to help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you were not at fault. You can contact us online, or you can give us a call at 651-291-7263 to schedule a free consultation.
Here’s a look at how pedestrians can sometimes share the blame for an accident, and the legal recourse they may still have if they do.
What is Jaywalking and is it Actually Illegal?
The word “jaywalking” actually encompasses several types of pedestrian misconduct – and yes, it is illegal. The consequences of jaywalking can be catastrophic, often leading to permanent injuries. In some instances, it can also lead to tragic deaths.
These are just a few examples of pedestrian behavior that can fall under the category of jaywalking.
- Crossing a street in an area other than a crosswalk – Most public streets have clearly marked crosswalks. When a crosswalk isn’t marked, it’s typically considered to be the area located between two street corners.
- Walking in the middle of the road – Incredibly, some pedestrians will choose to walk in the street rather than on a sidewalk. This is not only dangerous for pedestrians but motorists as well.
- Diagonally crossing a street – Pedestrians are usually required to cross a street horizontally, instead of diagonally. There are, however, some streets that have diagonal crosswalks. When this type of crosswalk isn’t available, pedestrians have to cross a street between adjacent corners.
The penalties for jaywalking are similar to those levied for a minor traffic infraction. But if pedestrians either continue to jaywalk or put motorists and other people in a significant amount of danger, they could face more serious charges.
Can a Pedestrian Be At-Fault for a Pedestrian/Car Accident?
There are instances where pedestrians can be found to blame when they are either hit by a car or cause a car to veer off the road and strike another vehicle, another pedestrian, or someone’s property. This can be a very complex type of case and will require the help of a skilled attorney.
Determining Fault for a Pedestrian Accident that Doesn’t Take Place in a Crosswalk
If a pedestrian is hit by a car, it can be difficult to determine exactly why this accident occurred. You might think that drivers are the only ones responsible for avoiding pedestrian accidents, but pedestrians have responsibilities as well.
Everyone on the road – motorists and pedestrians alike – owe all others sharing that road what is known as the “duty of care.” This simply means they have to take all of the steps they can to ensure everyone else’s safety.
There are, of course, scenarios where car drivers are clearly at fault. They may have been driving impaired, for instance, and hit someone who was responsibly using a crosswalk or a sidewalk. But pedestrians can also be at fault, appearing suddenly in front of a vehicle without giving the driver enough time to react, and avoid the accident.
This is yet another reason why you need to contact an experienced attorney as soon as you can if you’ve been involved in a pedestrian/vehicle accident – whether you were the pedestrian or the driver. An attorney can perform a thorough investigation to help determine who was to blame.
Can a Pedestrian Still Receive Compensation for an Accident if They Were Partially at Fault?
Minnesota law follows the “comparative fault” principle, meaning that if two parties are found to be to blame for an accident, that will affect the amount of compensation they may receive.
Suppose the pedestrian involved in the accident was found to be partially to blame for the injuries they suffered. They might have been talking on their phone at the time of the accident, sending a text or checking email, and didn’t realize a car was bearing down on them. The judge in the case finds that the pedestrian was 40% to blame.
The driver of the car, on the other hand, was assigned 60% of the blame because they were speeding, and couldn’t avoid hitting the pedestrian as a result.
If that pedestrian suffered $100,000 in damages, the comparative fault principle would mean they would only be eligible to receive $60,000. They were assigned 40% of the fault, so that subtracts $40,000 from their original judgment.
It’s also important to note that Minnesota law does not allow anyone assigned 51% or more of the blame for an accident to obtain any type of compensation. This is different from many other states that allow plaintiffs to be compensated even if they were 80% or more to blame.
So, even if you’re found to be partially responsible for the accident that led to your injury, you could still be entitled to obtain compensation for your damages, such as lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and others.
Contact a Pedestrian Attorney ASAP After Your Accident
In order to get money for your damages, however, you’re going to need the help of an attorney. An experienced legal representative will do everything possible to help you obtain as much compensation as possible – even if you’re partially at fault for the pedestrian accident.
It’s not only going to be important to hire an attorney, it will also be important to do so as quickly as you can. You’ll need the strongest case possible in order to have the best chance possible of getting what you deserve. You will also only have a certain amount of time to take legal action, known as the statute of limitations. In the case of a pedestrian injury, the statute of limitations is six years from the date that injury occurred. If you wait longer, you won’t be able to recover any compensation.