Jaywalking Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

man about to cross into street with a stop painted on street Queener Law

Most people think that jaywalking accidents are the fault of the motorist, but under certain situations, the pedestrian may be partially or totally at fault. Liability in jaywalking accidents depends on proof of fault.

Jaywalking Laws

According to law, jaywalking violates pedestrian traffic laws set by each state. While it’s a low-level offense, most jurisdictions impose fines to violators. Jaywalking laws cover a variety of pedestrian behaviors, and they can vary from state to state. In some cases, jaywalking laws enacted by local jurisdictions are more stringent than state laws.

Jaywalking laws in all states require pedestrians to obey traffic control signs and signals. In general, traffic laws require pedestrians to yield to motorists when they are outside of a crosswalk to avoid the risk of being hit by a car. A personal injury attorney commonly sees serious injuries and fatalities caused by jaywalking accidents.

Under Tennessee pedestrian laws, pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections and driveways, but they are required to obey traffic signals when available. In Tennessee, pedestrians have a duty of care for their own safety. They must yield the right of way to all moving motorists on the road. They must look both ways and exercise safe behavior when crossing the road at any point other than in a marked crosswalk or at an intersection. On roadways without sidewalks, pedestrians must walk facing oncoming traffic.

Determining Fault for Jaywalking Accidents

Tennessee traffic laws are enacted to protect both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the street in crosswalks and school zones. They must come to a complete stop and wait until pedestrians have safely crossed. Drivers are expected to do everything possible to avoid hitting pedestrians, even if they are illegally jaywalking. Pedestrians are also required to obey traffic laws. Pedestrians who ignore traffic signs and signals put drivers and themselves at risk. A Tennessee personal injury attorney often sees pedestrian injuries that range from broken bones to death.

When dealing with car accidents, Tennessee is a “fault” state. Generally, motorists have the right of way on the road and pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. If a pedestrian jaywalks and gets hit by a motorist, the pedestrian may be found at fault for the accident. If the motorist is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he/she will likely be found liable, even if the pedestrian is jaywalking.