It is commonly believed that walking is a safer alternative to driving. However, that may not always be the case. Motorists and pedestrians have a legal duty toward one another to adhere to the rules of the road to prevent accidents and injuries. Despite traffic laws being implemented to ensure the safety of these parties, some parties disregard them. When traffic laws are violated, it puts everyone on the road’s safety at risk. Pedestrians who fail to cross the street using designated areas, commonly known as jaywalking, significantly increase the risk of serious accidents. If you were struck by a vehicle while jaywalking, you might wonder whether you are still entitled to file a personal injury claim to seek monetary compensation for your damages. Please continue reading to learn how jaywalking at the time of an accident can impact your accident claim and how a knowledgeable Prince George’s County Pedestrian Accident Lawyer can help you understand your legal options. 

What is jaywalking?

Jaywalking refers to the illegal act of pedestrians crossing or walking in the street outside designated areas without regard for approaching traffic. Essentially, it is when pedestrians cross the street outside the lines of a crosswalk or unmarked designated area. Maryland, like many other jurisdictions, enforces strict jaywalking laws. If you are caught jaywalking, you can be subject to steep fines.

Crosswalks were designed to keep vulnerable users like pedestrians safe. Jaywalking is illegal and extremely dangerous, as motorists are not required to yield to pedestrians when they cross from anywhere other than a designated crosswalk or intersection. Motorists cannot always anticipate pedestrians who abruptly appear in their path, increasing the likelihood of collisions.

Can I file a personal injury claim if I was jaywalking at the time of the accident?

Although most states follow the rule of comparative negligence when determining fault in personal injury claims, Maryland is one of the five jurisdictions that does not. Maryland follows contributory negligence rules, which bar accident victims from recovering damages from the defendant if they contributed to the cause of their injuries. Essentially, the contributory negligence system will bar an accident victim even if they are found just 1% at fault for the cause of the crash and the other party involved is found 99% at fault.

Therefore, if you were struck by a vehicle while jaywalking, you will be barred from recovering in a personal injury claim as you contributed to the cause of the accident as you were engaging in an illegal act at the time of the accident, making you negligent.

If you have been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident due to jaywalking, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled Prince George’s County pedestrian accident lawyer from Timian & Fawcett, LLC. With years of experience, you can trust our firm to represent your interests.