Who is at Fault in an Accident in Arkansas if a Person was Jaywalking?
A car accident could be devastating. However, passengers in vehicles are afforded some protection by the vehicle’s structure and other safety measures, such as airbags and seatbelts. On the other, pedestrians are completely unprotected. When a car collides with a pedestrian, the resulting injuries are often catastrophic or deadly. Many of the most vulnerable individuals, such as children, the elderly, or those with a disability, are more likely to be unaware that they are in danger of being struck by a car.
When a pedestrian is struck by a car, they likely have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. However, many people mistakenly believe that a pedestrian is never at fault if they are hit by a moving vehicle. It is important to understand Arkansas laws regarding pedestrians, especially when a pedestrian is jaywalking. When crossing a road outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk, a pedestrian is required, by law, to yield to oncoming traffic. Therefore, a significant part of the fault will rest on a pedestrian who was hit while jaywalking.
This does not mean you are out of legal options if you were hit by a car while jaywalking. Our Fayetteville, AR personal injury lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the rights of all injured pedestrians. While you might bear partial responsibility, you still might be entitled to some compensation. Call (479) 316-0438 to discuss your case in more detail.
Jaywalking in Arkansas
Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian attempts to cross a road at any place that is not a marked or unmarked crosswalk, disregarding Arkansas’s traffic laws. The term was first used to describe “jay-drivers” who drove horse-drawn carriages or automobiles on the wrong side of the road. It derives from the word “jay,” meaning rube or greenhorn.
Under Arkansas law, a pedestrian is supposed to cross a roadway at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. If they are crossing at a different point, a pedestrian should yield the right-of-way to all cars and vehicles.
Nonetheless, Arkansas still requires that every motorist exercise due care to avoid striking a pedestrian crossing a roadway. This obligation includes giving fair warning, such as sounding their horn. Furthermore, a driver should exercise proper precaution if they see a child or a person who appears confused or disabled on the road.
Therefore, even if you were struck while crossing the middle of a stretch of road, you should contact our Arkansas personal injury lawyers. While you might share a portion of the blame, a motorist should still be held partially responsible for the injuries they caused. What role a pedestrian will be determined by a jury or through negotiations with an insurance company.
Pedestrians in Arkansas Do Not Always Have the Right-of-Way
Drivers in Arkansas have a legal duty to exercise reasonable caution to avoid injuring any pedestrians, regardless of whether they were jaywalking or not. However, as stated above, a person who is crossing anywhere other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk must yield to any oncoming traffic.
Legal responsibility becomes a complicated issue if a pedestrian is struck while jaywalking. If this occurs, it could be reasonably argued that the pedestrian failed to yield the right-of-way while the driver failed to exercise proper caution. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
Prudent drivers are supposed to pay attention to the current road conditions –including being aware of any pedestrians on the side of the road that might attempt to cross the road. Just because a person was jaywalking does not give a motorist a license to strike the individual.
However, like some drivers, people are not always paying attention while walking or crossing a roadway. Many people are texting or otherwise distracted when crossing a street somewhere other than a crosswalk. If this is the case, a pedestrian could be found to be largely at fault for the accident. However, the driver is still not free from blame, especially if they had an opportunity to avoid the crash or was otherwise distracted.
Arkansas Modified Comparative Fault and Jaywalking Accidents
To recover in a personal injury lawsuit, an injured pedestrian must demonstrate that a driver’s conduct constituted negligence. For example, a driver might have been traveling over the posted speed limit or was texting when the accident occurred. However, when filing a personal injury lawsuit, you need to understand how the court’s modified comparative fault doctrine works.
Our Rogers personal injury lawyers will also have to prove that your conduct did not contribute to the accident. If you were jaywalking, you might have been at least partially at fault. The question is, “how much?” The answer is up to the jury. If you are awarded any damages in the case, they will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if a jury determines that by jaywalking, you contributed 40% to the accident, a compensation award of $100,000 will be reduced to $60,000. If the jury believes your actions contributed 50% or more to the accident, you will not receive any compensation.
So, while it is possible to successfully sue a driver if you were jaywalking, your compensation will likely be reduced.
Our Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyers Handle Difficult Jaywalking Accident Cases
When a moving vehicle hits a pedestrian, the injuries and medical expenses are likely to be significant. Our Springdale personal injury lawyers believe in holding negligent drivers financially liable when they hit a pedestrian – even if that person was jaywalking at the time. While jaywalking makes a case more challenging, it does not make it impossible. If you or a loved one were hurt by a car while crossing a street, call our law offices at (479) 316-0438.
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