What Happens if You Hit a Jaywalking Pedestrian in Pennsylvania?

Jaywalking, or crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk or intersection, is unfortunately common in Pennsylvania and other states. However, jaywalking is illegal and can lead to dangerous situations where pedestrians are struck by vehicles. If you hit a jaywalking pedestrian while driving in Pennsylvania, there are a number of legal considerations and consequences you may face.

Laws Regarding Jaywalking in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, pedestrians are required to cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections with traffic signals if they are available within 300 feet. Jaywalking laws prohibit crossing in the middle of the street or outside of designated intersections.

While jaywalking itself is illegal, the pedestrian usually has the right-of-way if they are struck by a vehicle while jaywalking. However, both the driver and pedestrian may share fault for the accident. Determining fault will depend on the specific circumstances and details of how the accident occurred.

Determining Fault in a Jaywalking Accident

In any auto-pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania, the police will conduct an investigation and prepare an accident report. This report will provide details on contributing factors and may make a preliminary determination on fault. However, the ultimate decision on fault and any compensation for injuries comes down to insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits.

Several factors are considered when determining fault, including:

  • Road conditions at the time (wet, dark, etc.)
  • Speed of the vehicle
  • Location of impact on the vehicle
  • Witness statements
  • Visibility of the pedestrian

Even if the pedestrian was jaywalking, the driver may bear partial or full responsibility if they were speeding, distracted, or clearly could have avoided hitting the pedestrian. Pedestrians always have a duty to exercise reasonable care when crossing streets outside of intersections.

Possible Charges Against the Driver

If you strike and injure a jaywalking pedestrian in Pennsylvania, you may face criminal charges and traffic violations depending on the investigation findings. Some possible charges include:

  • Careless or reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
  • Passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian
  • Aggravated assault by vehicle (felony if serious injuries)

These charges can lead to fines, license suspension, and even jail time in serious cases. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney is important if you are facing charges after hitting a jaywalking pedestrian.

Liability in Civil Claims and Lawsuits

In addition to criminal charges, hitting a pedestrian while driving exposes you to potential civil liability and lawsuits by the injured person. They may seek compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Your auto insurance policy will provide liability coverage up to your policy limits. If the pedestrian’s damages exceed those limits or you did not have adequate coverage, you could be held personally responsible for their losses.

An experienced personal injury attorney can defend you against claims by a jaywalking pedestrian and ensure any settlement or damages awarded are fair given the circumstances of the accident.

Contact Us Today

Jaywalking accidents present unique legal situations given the pedestrian is also acting negligently by illegally crossing the street outside of an intersection. Never flee the scene after hitting a jaywalker, as this will lead to serious criminal charges. Cooperate fully with the police investigation and consult a defense attorney as soon as possible. While jaywalking pedestrians share some of the blame when hit by a car, drivers still need to exercise caution and drive defensively to avoid these often-tragic accidents.

With 32 offices in 19 states, including Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia, we have decades of experience working on personal injury cases.

Contact our experienced Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm today on (888) 477-0597 to discuss your case.