Drivers are not always at fault for car accidents involving pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks, even if there is a pedestrian crossing sign. In cases where a pedestrian has violated a traffic rule (such as jaywalking laws), it can be difficult to bring a valid claim against the driver.
If you’ve been injured while crossing the road at an “unmarked crosswalk,” you may be entitled to compensation. The unique circumstances of your case will determine whether liability can be attached to the driver (or some other party). For this reason, an experienced attorney is a valuable resource at an early stage. They can evaluate the facts of the case and provide detailed guidance on whether you have a claim, and how you should proceed.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is the Difference Between a Marked and Unmarked Crosswalk?
A crosswalk is technically defined as an area of road that is included in the prolongation or connection of sidewalk boundaries, where intersecting roads meet at approximately right angles. This includes marked crosswalks, where signs are in place to warn you, and unmarked crosswalks, those that are “implied” by connected sidewalk boundaries.
Unmarked crosswalks involve any area where you can cross two intersecting roads at a right angle. That being said, signage can make the crossing illegal.
If you imagine a four-way stop where two roads have sidewalks on their border and meet at an approximate right angle, an unmarked crosswalk exists between all of the corners that connect the sidewalks. This may not be obvious, but pedestrians sometimes have the right of way when crossing between the ends of these sidewalks.
What Is the Purpose of an Unmarked Crosswalk?
Pedestrians always have the right of way when crossing a marked crosswalk. With unmarked crosswalks, the right of way is not absolute. As such, suffering an injury at an unmarked crosswalk can be more complicated (legally).
How Can You Avoid an Accident in an Unmarked Crosswalk?
Drivers must operate their vehicles with reasonable care and safety. Pedestrians, meanwhile, are required to yield right of way to vehicles (if they are not crossing via a crosswalk). If a driver fails to slow down or stop for a pedestrian, then they could be held liable should this lead to a collision.
If the driver who caused your injuries was breaking traffic laws by speeding or intoxicated or distracted driving, they may also be found liable for negligent or reckless driving.
Is Liability For Unmarked Crosswalk Accidents Shared?
Liability may be shared, depending on the state and the facts of your case.
Comparative negligence laws reduce the damages in proportion with the plaintiff’s own contribution of fault. In pure comparative negligence states, like California, there is no fault threshold. For example, if the plaintiff is found 10 percent at fault for their own injuries, they have the right to recover up to 90 percent of the total damages. This is important in crosswalk accident disputes, as pedestrians may be partially at fault.
Modified comparative negligence states, like Oregon, are different. There, the plaintiff’s fault cannot exceed 50 percent. If the plaintiff is 51 percent at fault for the accident, for example, they cannot recover ANY damages from the defendant. However, if they are 50 percent at fault or less, they can recover damages.
Injured at an Unmarked Crosswalk? Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Guidance.
Pedestrians who are trying to cross at any roadway other than a marked crosswalk are legally expected to give the right-of-way to passing vehicles. That being said, if you were hit at an unmarked crosswalk, you may have a right to recover damages.
Unmarked crosswalk cases are inherently complex, and the amount of compensation you can potentially recover depends on the circumstances of the case. You’ll need extensive legal knowledge, experience, and expertise to succeed. As such, an attorney is a valuable resource at every stage.
Take the first steps by working to find the right pedestrian accident lawyer for your case. Call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 or contact us to get started with a free legal consultation.