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Is the pedestrian automatically at fault if hurt while jaywalking?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2021 | Pedestrian Accidents |

Jaywalking is an informal term that refers to a pedestrian unlawfully crossing the street where they are not supposed to do so. This is a dangerous, yet common, practice throughout California. Like most states, jaywalking is illegal in California.

Jaywalking is dangerous for pedestrians and motorists alike. While drivers are obliged to slow down and let pedestrians cross the street at the designated crosswalks, they do not anticipate people jumping into the road out of nowhere. However, while jaywalking is illegal, there are instances when an injured pedestrian may be eligible for compensation following the accident even if they were partly to blame.

Will you automatically be responsible for the accident if you were jaywalking?

No, not always. While jaywalking is illegal in the state, California law will apportion you a “rebuttable presumption” of negligence. This means that you will be deemed responsible for the accident unless you can prove that your jaywalking did not in any way violate your duty of care to other road users under the circumstances. Even if the court finds you negligent, you may still retain legal rights to a claim if you can prove that the motorist who hit you was equally negligent.

California is a pure comparative negligence state

The state of California applies a “pure comparative negligence” system in personal injury claims. This means that each party in the case is assigned a percentage of fault based on their contribution to the accident. For instance, if you are awarded $10,000 in damages, and you are ruled to have contributed 40% to the accident, you will lose $4,000. This will leave you eligible for $6,000. In addition, you will be liable for 40% of the other party’s damages.

If you are hurt in a car accident while crossing the street at the undesignated spot, you may be eligible for compensation based on the state’s comparative negligence law. However, it is important to understand how the law works, and what you need to prove negligence on the part of the other party.



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