Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian fails to follow traffic laws and illegally crosses a street. All states have their own set of jaywalking laws, but overall, all pedestrians must follow crosswalks, obey the pedestrian walk signals and yield to cars in the absence of either of the two.
Some states take the law a bit further, prohibiting pedestrians from walking diagonally across a street or from walking in a street when there is a nearby sidewalk. If there is construction nearby or police presence with “do not walk” barriers, pedestrians must also legally follow these.
Breaking any of these laws is considered jaywalking.
What is the penalty?
Jaywalking isn’t at the top of any list when it comes to crimes, but there is still a penalty for offenders who fail to follow the rules of the road. Most states will issue a small fine to anyone caught jaywalking and be let go with a simple infraction. Other states consider jaywalking a misdemeanor, which is a bit more serious and can carry a heavier fine.
But, while the initial fine is minimal, the backlash that comes with jaywalking can be quite large. For one, when you jaywalk, you are putting not only yourself in danger, but also those around you, including vehicles. A pedestrian who runs across traffic without a walk signal can cause cars to break suddenly and create an accident. You can also injure yourself by getting hit by a car or bike that did not see you. When this occurs, the accident is likely to be your fault and you will be in for a lot more than just a small fine.
If you, as a pedestrian, fail to follow the rules and in turn, cause an accident you could be held liable for negligence. If an accident occurs because of this negligence, you could be at fault for the entire, or part of, that accident. Suddenly, you will be involved in a lawsuit, court cases and hefty fines.
On the other hand, pedestrians that were not jaywalking and still get injured may have a personal injury case on their hands and will need to work with an attorney to receive the compensation they deserve for their injures or lost wages.
If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, contact the attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.