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If a Jaywalker Gets Hit – Who Is at Fault?

Posted May 22, 2018 | Personal Injury Blog

Jaywalking is one of the least-monitored laws. Many law enforcement officers across the country do not enforce jaywalking laws as much as other, more serious offenses. However, jaywalking is a dangerous action that can easily lead to an accident, and if a jaywalker gets hit, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for the injury.

Pedestrian Legal Obligations

Similar to motor vehicle operators, pedestrians have a duty of care they must uphold while on the road. They are legally required to adhere to traffic laws, such as walking signs, whenever applicable. A pedestrian ignoring traffic laws could be partially at fault for an accident.

Texas courts adhere to the comparative negligence rule, which gives the court the right to adjust compensation according to how at-fault you are. If you are a jaywalking pedestrian, the court will most likely determine that you are partially responsible for the incident and adjust your compensation accordingly. For example, if the court determines you are 15% responsible for your injury, it will reduce your compensation by 15%. You can still receive a certain amount in damages as long as the defendant is more responsible than you for your injuries.

Determining Liability

Both parties could have violated traffic laws, so it is difficult to determine liability in a jaywalking accident. The victim would not have suffered an injury if he or she had not jaywalked, but is it possible he or she also would not have suffered an injury if the driver had obeyed the traffic laws. If both parties contributed to the incident by ignoring a traffic law, there may not be one clear person who is most liable for the incident.

To determine liability, the court will usually look at how each person should have reacted to the situation. Adhering to traffic laws is not the only factor in a jaywalking injury claim; the court must also consider who exercised due care. Both the pedestrian and the motorist have a legal duty to act in a way that keeps him- or herself, and others, reasonably safe. If one person was negligent or reckless, the court will most likely find him or her liable.

For example, the court could determine that the pedestrian is responsible even if he or she did not walk until given right of way. If he or she had headphones on, was texting, or was distracted in any way, the court could still find him or her at least partially liable because he or she should have been aware and would not have suffered an injury if he or she had exercised reasonable care and paid attention to the surroundings.

Compensation for a Pedestrian in a Jaywalking Accident

If you suffered an injury while jaywalking, getting compensation is not as easy as in other pedestrian-involved accidents. The court will need to thoroughly examine the circumstances of the incident.

Texas is a traditional fault state. If you are a pedestrian in a jaywalking accident you may only be able to receive compensation if you can prove the other party is at fault, which can be difficult in jaywalking incidents.

There are various types of damages the court could award to you if it determines the other party is responsible. Some of the damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In extreme cases, the court may also award punitive damages, which are meant to punish the at-fault person further for his or her actions. The court will only assign punitive damages if it believes the defendant acted intentionally. If there are questions we didn’t answer in this article, feel free to contact our personal injury lawyers.


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Text edited by Mitchell Fielding, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Fielding Law. Mitchell is known for his hard work ethic, friendly personality and dedication to the law. You can find out personal injury law offices in Taylorsville, UT and Mesquite, TX.