Can a Driver Be at Fault for Hitting a Pedestrian Who Was Jaywalking in California?

Jaywalking occurs when a person crosses a street where there is no crosswalk. When no cars are coming, running across the street may seem harmless, but it can be quite dangerous. Sometimes a pedestrian can’t see when a car is nearby, and the person jaywalking can suffer a harmful collision.

Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. is a personal injury law firm in California with over 25 years of experience helping people who have been in accidents involving jaywalking. It is important to know if a driver can be at fault for hitting a pedestrian who was jaywalking in California.

What Are California’s Jaywalking Laws?

While jaywalking may be illegal in many states, that is not the case in California. California Vehicle Code 21954 states that if a pedestrian crosses the street anywhere besides a marked or unmarked crosswalk area or at an intersection, they should yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the road close enough to be an immediate danger to them. Therefore, pedestrians may legally jaywalk as long as they do so with caution.

A pedestrian is not automatically held liable in the event of a car crash if they were jaywalking at the time of the collision. To determine who should be held liable, an investigation will ensue to understand the details of the accident and who the negligent party was. Because it is legal for pedestrians to jaywalk if they do so carefully and without stepping out into traffic, it is important to understand both parties’ responsibilities in order to determine who was at fault.

What Is a Driver’s Duty of Care to Pedestrians in California?

While it is required by law that pedestrians who choose to jaywalk do so carefully, it does not excuse drivers from their own duty of reasonable care for the safety of pedestrians along the roads. In the event that a pedestrian who is jaywalking does step out into traffic, a driver must make a reasonable effort to stop the vehicle to avoid hitting them. Driver’s duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians on the road includes:

  • Paying attention and being alert to one’s surroundings
  • Obeying traffic signs and signals
  • Driving at the legal speed limit
  • Driving while sober

If a driver is found to have been behaving negligently or recklessly at the time of the accident, they may still be held liable, even if the jaywalker stepped out in front of their vehicle. However, because California is a comparative state, both parties may share partial liability depending on the details of the accident.

Contact a California Jaywalking Accident Lawyer for Help

If you were hit by a car while jaywalking, you may be owed compensation for your injuries. To get help with your injury claim, contact a jaywalking accident lawyer.

Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. has over 25 years of experience assisting clients with personal injury claims in California. Pedestrian accident attorney Eric Ratinoff is dedicated to helping clients pursue the justice they deserve as they get through this difficult time. To schedule a free consultation, fill out our online contact form or call (916) 970-9100.