In Escondido, 51 pedestrians were injured and killed in auto accidents in 2020. If you get hit by a car while jaywalking in Escondido, you are entitled to compensation for the damages caused by the crash. However, certain factors determine the settlement value depending on the nature of your case.
In this article, you will understand how a personal injury claim for a jaywalking accident works in California.
What is Jaywalking?
Jaywalking is crossing a street with no designated crosswalk or intersection. It can also be classified when a pedestrian ignores basic traffic laws and signals when crossing. In most states, jaywalking is considered illegal and is punishable by law. However, there are specific areas in the United States that allow jaywalking.
In 2021, 7,485 pedestrians were struck and killed in car crashes. That is the highest casualty rate in a year in four decades, averaging 20 deaths per day. With the rising number of pedestrian accidents, several debates about jaywalking are buzzing and impacting the legislation.
Is Jaywalking Legal in California?
One of pedestrian accident victims’ most frequently asked questions is, “Is jaywalking legal in California?” As of January 1, 2023, jaywalking is legal in California. However, there are specific limitations when jaywalking.
According to Assembly Bill No. 2147, or the Freedom to Walk Act, a jaywalker may cross a street or intersection under the following conditions:
- There are no foreseeable risks or dangers when walking across a particular area.
- When crossing the street outside a designated crosswalk, pedestrians must still yield the right of way to vehicles.
If a jaywalker crosses any intersection or street without following the conditions, they may face a fine of $196 or more.
Do Jaywalkers Have the Right-of-way in California?
While jaywalkers are now permitted to cross streets and intersections, they don’t always have the right-of-way.
In Vehicle Code 21950, vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in marked or unmarked crosswalks, except for the following circumstances:
- The pedestrian abruptly leaves the curb or other safe area.
- They run or walk into the path of an approaching vehicle, posing an immediate risk.
- They stop in an unnecessarily marked or unmarked crosswalk.
- They delay the traffic.
It is essential that jaywalkers still adhere to their duty of care when crossing a warranted or unwarranted crosswalk.
Who is At Fault If You Get Hit By a Car While Jaywalking?
Depending on the nature of a pedestrian accident, either the pedestrian or the vehicle driver is responsible for the crash.
The Pedestrian is Liable for the Accident
If you get hit by a car while jaywalking, you may be liable for the accident if you fail to adhere to the conditions of Vehicle Code 21950.
In addition to that, jaywalkers may be responsible for the crash if they walk across a street or intersection under these circumstances:
- Walking in bike lanes where a sidewalk or pedestrian route is available on the side of the road,
- Crossing outside the crosswalk if the adjacent intersections are controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers,
- Walking at an intersection against the traffic signal or the don’t walk signal, and
- Crossing outside a crosswalk, intersection, or pedestrian crossing where there are cars nearby close enough to provide an immediate hazard.
In such cases, you may not be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by the crash.
The Vehicle Driver Caused the Accident
A vehicle driver is accountable for the damages of a crash if they hit a jaywalker without practicing their duty of care.
For example, a pedestrian carefully crosses the road when an overspeeding driver hits them. In this case, the driver is liable for the pedestrian accident.
You must prove the four elements of negligence when filing a personal injury claim. These elements include the following:
- The driver has the responsibility to ensure the safety of all road users.
- They disregarded this duty.
- The breach caused your accident.
- The crash led to injuries and other damages.
When proven guilty of their negligence, the driver must cover the damages and expenses of the crash.
The Pedestrian and the Driver Are Responsible for the Crash
Both you and the driver may be responsible for the crash. For instance, you crossed a street without checking if any vehicles were coming your way. At the same time, the driver was distracted by their phone while driving when they hit you.
When both parties have their fair share of fault for the accident, you or the driver can claim compensation for the damages. In California, an individual has the right to receive a payout for the damages of a crash regardless of how much they are at fault for the accident.
Suppose the driver is 80% responsible for the crash. In this case, they may claim 20% of the settlement amount.
This is why contacting a personal injury lawyer after the accident is essential to avoid missing your opportunity to file a claim and maximize your payout.
Can I File A Claim Against the Driver If I’m Hit While Jaywalking?
You may file a claim against the driver if you get hit by a car while jaywalking and you can prove that the accident was due to their negligence. You may do this by presenting solid evidence, such as:
- the driver’s name, home address, and insurance provider,
- photos or videos of the accident,
- witness testimonies,
- the police report,
- your medical bills and records, and
- your vehicle’s repair or replacement expenses.
Suppose you were severely injured in the accident and failed to gather evidence at the accident scene. In that case, a personal injury lawyer can examine the crash and collect proof to support your claim.
How Much is my Settlement Worth If I’m Hit While Jaywalking?
Your settlement value will depend on the severity of the damages from the accident. For example, a pedestrian with a broken leg may collect a higher compensation than a vehicle driver with a few bruises and lacerations from a crash.
The following factors will determine your compensation amount:
- the severity of your injuries,
- your past, present, or future medical bills related to the accident,
- property damage expenses,
- pain and suffering,
- lost wages, and
- future loss of income.
While all these factors may be considered when determining your settlement, how will you quantify pain and suffering? A personal injury lawyer has the expertise to calculate a maximized payout, including all economic and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
How Can an Escondido Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
Dealing with a personal injury claim may be challenging, especially if you suffer severe injuries from the crash. Additionally, it will be difficult to prove the driver’s negligence if you are partly liable for the collision.
In some cases, victims of pedestrian accidents fail to recover compensation if they fail to file a claim within two years after the crash. It is best to hire an accident lawyer to avoid these challenges.
An Escondido personal injury lawyer can help with the following tasks when handling your case:
- Collect the necessary evidence to support your claim.
- Prove liability.
- Calculate the total damages.
- Defend your case.
- Meet legal requirements and deadlines.
- Proceed to trial if needed.
If you get hit by a car while jaywalking, and you want to claim compensation for the damages, Jacoby & Meyers has passionate accident lawyers with expertise in pedestrian accidents in California. We will examine the facts of your accident and provide legal options that best suit your needs. Contact us at 800-992-2222 for a free consultation today!