Jaywalking, or the act of crossing the road outside of a crosswalk is illegal. It is also dangerous. But does that mean that someone who was jaywalking when they were hit has no right to sue the driver who hit them? Not necessarily. Even jaywalkers have legal rights.
At AZ Legal, we are often asked if jaywalkers can sue a driver who hit them. The answer is “maybe.” It all comes down to fault and negligence. The jaywalker may be considered at least partially at fault for his or her injuries, which can impact the ability to obtain damages. However, the driver may also be considered partially at fault, especially if he or she was disobeying traffic laws at the time of the accident.
This is where negligence comes in. In order to sue a driver, the jaywalker must prove that the driver was negligent. This means proving:
· The driver had a duty of care, meaning he or she had a duty to others to obey the law and drive safely.
· The driver breached this duty. Was he or she speeding, intoxicated, using a cell phone, or running a red light?
· The driver’s breach of duty caused the injuries. If the jaywalker was injured because he or she tripped while running across the road, the driver cannot be held responsible.
· The jaywalker suffered actual losses as a result of the injuries. Examples include medical bills, lost wages, etc.
If the jaywalker can prove these elements, then he or she may be able to sue the driver for damages. However, if the court finds that the jaywalker is at least partially responsible for the injuries, any compensation may be limited.