Determining liability in a pedestrian accident case is often a challenging process, but what if the pedestrian was jaywalking? In that case, fault will come down to who had the right of way. However, the driver and the pedestrian will often share the blame.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way in Florida?
Florida law requires pedestrians who cross a street without an intersection or when there’s a “do not walk” signal to yield the right of way. However, drivers are required to show due care and avoid collisions with pedestrians if possible, even if they are jaywalking. Since children can be unpredictable in their movements, drivers must exercise extra care in residential areas and around schools or playgrounds.
When a pedestrian is hit while jaywalking, it can be difficult to determine who deserves blame for the accident. In cases where the pedestrian stepped into traffic so close that there was no time for a vehicle to stop, the pedestrian will hold the majority, if not all, the responsibility for the collision. Whereas, if the driver had more time to stop but failed to do so, they may be primarily responsible for a jaywalking accident. In many cases, both parties will share fault.
Pure Comparative Negligence in Jaywalking Accidents
Florida’s pure comparative negligence law will be applied when liability is determined in a jaywalking pedestrian accident. Under this law, each party’s compensation will be reduced by their assigned percentage of fault. For example, if a pedestrian is awarded $100,000 and found 30% to blame because they were jaywalking, but the driver had enough time to stop, they will recover 70% or $70,000. The higher the percentage of fault, the less compensation a party will receive. This law can make it challenging for jaywalking pedestrians to recover compensation that fully reimburses them for their losses.
Determining Fault for a Jaywalking Pedestrian Accident
When determining liability after a pedestrian is hit while jaywalking, the insurance company will look at evidence such as:
- Available photos and videos of the accident scene
- Whether there are skid marks (evidence of braking)
- Available traffic or surveillance footage of the accident
- Each party’s statements on how the collision occurred
- The police report findings
- Witness statements
- Whether either party was distracted (cell phone records, witness statements)
- Vehicle damage and the point of impact
- Road conditions at the time and if there was inclement weather
- The clothes worn at the time of the crash
- The applicable laws (e.g., speed limits)
- Whether there was a crosswalk close by
- Copies of medical records
- Expert testimony (if necessary, e.g., accident reconstructionist)
After an accident, the most effective way to prove that another party is responsible is by notifying the police, taking photos and/or video of the entire scene, and your injuries. The police report can significantly influence an insurance company’s decision on fault, since it provides an objective third-party opinion.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a jaywalking pedestrian accident in West Palm Beach, contact LaBovick Law Group. We can help ensure the appropriate party is held responsible. Call (561) 623-3681 or request a free consultation online today.