I Was Jaywalking When I Was Hit by a Car, Can I Still Sue the Driver?

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Unfortunately, many cities have been designed for cars, making traveling by foot much more difficult. Similarly, it makes it more dangerous for pedestrians, as they can be struck by vehicles, resulting in severe injury or death. If you were hit by a driver but are unsure whether or not you can recover compensation because you were jaywalking at the time, you’ll want to keep reading. This blog explores what jaywalking is, how it will impact your ability to file a claim against the driver, and how a Prince George’s County pedestrian accident lawyer can help you.

What Is Jaywalking, and Is It Illegal in Maryland?

Jaywalking is a term used to describe when someone crosses a street outside of a designated crosswalk. However, this term can cover a variety of actions. This includes crossing the street diagonally, walking in the road when there is a sidewalk accessible, or crossing at a crosswalk against the direction of a traffic signal.

While the term jaywalking is not legally recognized, the behaviors under this term are technically against the law in Maryland. As such, you may receive a fine between $40 and $500 if caught.

How Will it Impact My Ability to File a Claim?

Unfortunately, Maryland is one of the few states with a contributory negligence statute. Essentially, this prevents victims of accidents from recovering damages if they were partially at fault for the accident. Even if you are found to be 1% responsible, you cannot recover compensation. As such, this makes it incredibly difficult to recover damages for the injuries you’ve suffered.

However, there are some instances in which a pedestrian may be able to recover compensation. For example, if they are near a crosswalk but a driver is intoxicated and speeding, they may be able to argue that it was reasonable to assume the car was a safe distance away before entering the road just outside of a crosswalk.

Similarly, in instances where there are no traffic lights, you are legally allowed to cross in the middle of the road, so long as you yield to passing vehicles. As such, if a car comes flying around a corner or runs a stop sign, you may be able to recover damages as the roadway was clear before you entered the road, and the driver’s negligence is the cause of your injuries.

Regardless, it’s in your best interest to always use a crosswalk when you want to cross the street. This can help protect you if you are struck by a vehicle while crossing the road.

If struck by a vehicle while walking, you’ll want to contact the dedicated team at McCarthy, Winkelman, Mester & Offutt to help you through these challenging times. We’ll examine the details of your case to determine the best way to help you. Contact us today to learn more.


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