Jaywalking, crossing the street at a location other than at an intersection, is unfortunately a regular occurrence in the Phoenix metro area. It is common to see a person standing in the left turn lane (also called the suicide lane) trying to cross a six-lane street. He/she has made it halfway across the street and is waiting for traffic to clear enough to make it to the other side. Sometimes these jaywalkers are pushing strollers or holding the hands of small children while crossing these dangerous streets.
Drivers have the obligation not to hit pedestrians; however, standing in the middle of the street puts you at increased risk of being hit and possibly killed by a car. In 2011, there were several incidents in Arizona where pedestrians were hit by cars while jaywalking.
- August 2011: Two Phoenix teenagers were hit by a car while jaywalking on their way home from North High School.
- September 2011: A Tucson man died while jaywalking across East Speedway Boulevard.
- October 2011: Two children in Flagstaff, age 14 and 7, died while jaywalking in separate incidents.
According to the National Safety Council, 5,900 pedestrians are killed by automobiles each year and another 84,000 sustain non-life-threatening injuries. Injuries to pedestrians that occur because of jaywalking are completely preventable.
When a jaywalker-car accident occurs, the pedestrian may wish to sue the driver for his/her injuries that were caused by the driver’s negligence. However, the jaywalker may be at least partially at fault for his/her injuries. In Arizona, the concept of pure comparative negligence applies. In this situation, a judge or jury decides how much each party is at fault for the injured person’s damages and apportions the damage award according.
For example, let’s assume that a jaywalker was injured when he was struck by a car while crossing the street and he sustained $100,000 of damages. If the court finds the jaywalker was 40% responsible for the accident and the driver was 60% responsible for the accident, the court will order the driver to pay the jaywalker $60,000. If the jaywalker was 90% responsible for the accident and driver was 10% responsible, the court will order the driver to pay only $10,000.
If a pedestrian is hit by a car when they are lawfully crossing the street, a court will hold the driver 100% responsible for the accident and order the driver to pay for all of the pedestrian’s damages.
Please be sure you always cross the street at intersections and observe all traffic lights and signs to decrease your risk of being hit by a vehicle and to maximize your chance for full compensation of your injuries if an accident occurs.
If you are injured in a pedestrian-car accident, please contact the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at the personal injury law firm Oracle Law Group today.
Photo credit: *Edu Alarcon* from Flickr