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Can You Still Seek Compensation After A Pedestrian Accident If You Were Jaywalking?


Being a pedestrian in a city like Seattle is dangerous. Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed in pedestrian accidents. If you were involved in an accident while crossing the street illegally, you might be wondering if you can seek compensation for your injuries. In some cases, even if you were jaywalking when the accident occurred, you may still be eligible for financial compensation.

Consider speaking with our Seattle pedestrian accident lawyers at Emerald Law Group to discuss everything you need to know about Washington’s laws surrounding jaywalking and injuries sustained by pedestrians when crossing the street illegally. We can help you protect your rights and ensure that you obtain the compensation to which you may be entitled.

What Is Jaywalking?

Pedestrian accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, and are more likely to occur when someone is crossing the street illegally (i.e., jaywalking). However, it’s important to understand that just because someone was illegally crossing does not automatically absolve them from seeking compensation after being hit by another driver operating negligently on the roads or highways, even if they were not following traffic rules themselves at the time of the collision.

Jaywalking generally refers to crossing a street or roadway at any point other than within a marked/unmarked crosswalk. The term is used to refer to pedestrians who cross streets carelessly or otherwise illegally — in other words, walking against traffic signals or crossing outside of designated crosswalks. In most states, including Washington, jaywalking is against the law. However, that doesn’t mean that pedestrians who do so cannot seek compensation if they are involved in an accident.

Pedestrians Have Rights, Too

When it comes to car-pedestrian accidents, pedestrians have rights, too—even if they are jaywalking when the accident occurs. This means that if a driver hits a pedestrian who was illegally crossing the street, then that driver could be responsible for the injuries and damages suffered as a result of the crash. Determining who was at fault in these types of cases can be complex and requires a thorough investigation by experienced attorneys who specialize in this area of law.

The Doctrine of Comparative Negligence

When both parties share part of the blame for an accident—such as when one party was jaywalking—the doctrine of comparative negligence may apply. Washington follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence pursuant to RCW § 4.22.005.

This legal concept essentially states that each party’s responsibility will be determined based on their involvement in causing the incident. Thus, if both parties were partially responsible for the crash (e.g., one party was speeding while the other was jaywalking), then they must each bear responsibility for their portion of the fault in causing the accident and its resulting damages.

Discuss Your Individual Case with Our Lawyers at Emerald Law Group

If you were hit by a car while jaywalking in Seattle and sustained serious injury as a result, don’t hesitate to contact our skilled and results-driven lawyers at Emerald Law Group. We can help you determine whether you have grounds for seeking compensation from the driver who hit you even though you were crossing the street illegally when the accident occurred. Seek legal counsel today for more information regarding your individual case. Call 206-826-5160 for a free consultation.

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