Is Jaywalking Legal in California?

by Staff Blogger | February 28th, 2022

Jaywalking is the act of crossing a road somewhere other than at a designated crosswalk. Jaywalking is illegal in California and can result in a fine of up to $250 for the guilty party. Even so, if you were hit by a vehicle while jaywalking, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

California’s comparative negligence laws and the road rules in the Vehicle Code combine to give those injured as a pedestrian legal recourse even if they were jaywalking. If you or someone you know was injured while jaywalking, contact a California car accident lawyer to determine if you are due compensation.

Who is at Fault?

Multiple considerations are necessary to determine fault when a vehicle hits a jaywalking pedestrian. Pedestrians must use due care when entering a road at a crosswalk and cannot stop unnecessarily while crossing. Pedestrians can be deemed negligent and partially at fault for an injury.

However, vehicles are not free of legal blame just because a pedestrian contributed to their own injuries. The California Vehicle Code holds that drivers have the duty to exercise due care for pedestrians when they are jaywalking. If they do not exercise due care, they may be classified as a negligent driver and liable to pay compensation for the pedestrian’s injury.

Comparative Negligence

California operates under the law of comparative negligence, which means that an injured party may recover damages from liable parties in accordance with their level of responsibility in the accident.

In the case of a jaywalking injury, if the court decides the jaywalker is 30% responsible for the injury while the driver is 70% responsible, the jaywalker can only recover 70% of the damages because of their percentage of fault.

How to Prove the Driver’s Negligence

If you were injured while jaywalking and believe it was at least partially the fault of a negligent driver, you may be due compensation for your injuries. To prove that the driver was negligent, you and your lawyer need to demonstrate three things.

The driver owed you a duty of care

The California Vehicle Code establishes that the operator of a vehicle owes a pedestrian due care. The mere fact that you are a pedestrian and that they are a driving a vehicle establishes that they owed you a duty of care.

The driver breached their duty of care

Drivers have a duty of care to act as a reasonable person would in the same situation to avoid harming others.  In the context of driving, this could mean that if a driver is on the phone and eating while driving, they are not acting as a reasonable person would and have breached their duty of care.

Evidence that the driver did not act as a reasonable person is essential to win a jaywalking injury case. Eyewitnesses, videos, and police reports are a few pieces of evidence that can help your case.

Contact California car accident lawyers as soon as possible after the accident to give yourself the best chance of collecting the essential evidence.

Experienced personal injury attorneys know what evidence proves a driver’s negligence. They can gather essential documents and interview witnesses while you recover from your injuries.

The driver caused your injuries

To prove a driver was negligent, you must show that the driver’s breach of duty caused your injury. Filing a police report of the accident and saving all medical records from the accident create a paper trail of critical evidence. Injuries can often be long-lasting, so getting written doctor’s opinions about the lasting effects of your injuries helps build your case.

Injuries can lead to lost wages and lost jobs. If this occurs, talk with your lawyer about compensation for these financial damages. Personal injury lawyers also know about the pain and suffering caused by others’ negligence, which represent another set of damages to consider.

Do not let a small mistake like jaywalking get in the way of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Contact a Lawyer Immediately

It is important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a jaywalking injury. The evidence collection process is time-sensitive, and an experienced attorney can fight on your behalf while you focus on recovering.

Contact Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation with a California car accident lawyer. With 40 years of experience, we are prepared to take on your case and help you fight for maximum compensation.