Jaywalking, which is when a person crosses a roadway outside of a crosswalk or against a “don’t walk” signal, is quite common in Florida. However, when a driver hits a jaywalking pedestrian, it raises the question of who is at fault. Determining fault in pedestrian vs. driver accidents in Florida depends on the specific circumstances.
Who Has Right of Way?
In Florida, pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing legally at intersections or crosswalks. However, when a pedestrian crosses mid-block or against traffic signals, fault determination becomes more complicated. Under Florida Statute 316.130, pedestrians crossing outside of a crosswalk or against a signal shall yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles.
If a driver with the right-of-way hits a jaywalker, the pedestrian is likely at fault. However, drivers still have a duty of care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, even if they are jaywalking. So, a driver may share partial fault if they were driving too fast, not paying attention, or could have safely stopped but failed to do so.
To determine relative fault, investigators will examine the actions of both parties. Key considerations include:
- Vision obstructions – Was visibility limited by darkness, sun glare, parked cars, etc.? This may reduce driver fault.
- Speed – Was the driver within the speed limit? Excessive speed increases driver negligence.
- Distracted driving – Was the driver distracted by a cell phone, passengers, etc.? This points to driver fault.
- Pedestrian visibility – Was the pedestrian difficult to see due to dark clothing, location, etc.? This may increase pedestrian fault.
- Driver attempts to stop – Can skid marks or other evidence show the driver tried to stop? This reduces driver liability.
- Pedestrian recklessness – Did the pedestrian dart out suddenly into traffic? This increases pedestrian fault.
- Right-of-way – Did the pedestrian cross against signals or outside crosswalks? This points to pedestrian fault.
- Age factors – Children under 14 rarely carry fault. Seniors over 70 may have reduced fault.
In short, the pedestrian often carries more fault for an illegal crossing. However, drivers are still obligated to exercise caution and can share fault for inattentive, reckless, or impaired driving.
Pedestrians Can Claim for Injuries
If a driver is found primarily at fault, the injured pedestrian can make an injury claim against the driver’s insurance. Payouts cover medical bills, lost wages, pain/suffering damages, and other losses. If the pedestrian shares fault, their claim amount may be reduced by their percentage of fault.
How to Prevent Jaywalking Accidents
To avoid jaywalking accidents, pedestrians should cross legally and make eye contact with drivers before proceeding. Drivers should watch carefully for pedestrians, drive sober and attentively, and slow down – especially in areas with frequent jaywalking.
While jaywalking itself just warrants a small fine in Florida, an illegal crossing can have tragic consequences in a collision. Understanding pedestrian vs. driver fault principles can help all road users stay safer and determine liability when accidents do occur. Exercising caution and common sense on both sides can help reduce avoidable jaywalking tragedies.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a jaywalking pedestrian, visit our offices in Tampa or Panama City Beach. We have offices in 32 locations across 19 states.
Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 if you are involved in a jaywalking lawsuit.