Let’s be honest, who hasn’t jaywalked at some point in their life? While this seemingly innocent act happens on a daily basis, it can sometimes lead to serious consequences. After all, a pedestrian is no match for a speeding car. If you’re struck by a car while jaywalking in Texas, can you file a personal injury claim? What does the law say about jaywalking? Let’s find out below.
Is Jaywalking Illegal in Texas?
Simply put, yes. In Texas, jaywalking, or crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk, is illegal. In fact, the law even states that jaywalking pedestrians do not have the right of way and must yield to motorists.
Can You Still Receive Compensation If You Jaywalked?
The state of Texas employs a system of modified comparative negligence. This means that though the act of jaywalking is illegal, you may still be able to receive compensation if you can prove that the driver shares a portion of responsibility for the accident. In fact, Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Sec. 33.001 states that an injured party can receive compensation if they are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
Let’s examine a scenario in which a jaywalker may still be able to receive compensation:
- A pedestrian crosses the roadway outside of a crosswalk and is struck by a motorist. The driver of the vehicle was speeding and intoxicated during the accident. Because the driver was acting negligently, they share a large portion of responsibility for the accident.
In the above scenario, the pedestrian could file a personal injury lawsuit. Because the driver was partially liable for the accident, the pedestrian would more than likely win their case. However, it should be noted that the amount awarded would be decreased by the amount the jaywalker is found responsible. The more responsible the pedestrian is for the accident, the less awarded.
Pedestrian Right-of-Way Laws in Texas
Texas law declares that motorists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or on sidewalks. Basically, once a pedestrian enters a driver’s half of the roadway in a crosswalk, that driver must stop their vehicle until the pedestrian reaches the other side. This gives pedestrians the right of way when crossing through a designated crosswalk.
When crossing at a marked crosswalk, both pedestrians and drivers must obey all traffic signals. This means that pedestrians can only cross once the signal shows a “walk” symbol. If the signal shows a “do not walk” sign, then a pedestrian cannot cross. Entering the roadway before a traffic signal denotes the walk symbol can shift a portion of the blame for an accident onto the pedestrian.
Are Unmarked Crosswalks Considered Jaywalking?
An unmarked crosswalk is a pedestrian crossing point that is not marked by indicators or painted lines. Essentially, an unmarked crosswalk can be any corner of intersecting roads whether there are indicators or not. To answer the above question, no, when you cross an unmarked crosswalk, you are not considered jaywalking.
Furthermore, under the law, pedestrians have the right of way when walking across an unmarked crosswalk. This means that a motorist must yield to a pedestrian crossing the sidewalk on a private road, alley, driveway, building, or other similar points of intersection in the roadway.
When Isn’t Crossing Considered Jaywalking?
We often see motorists attempt to place blame for an accident solely on the pedestrian by claiming that they were jaywalking at the time of the accident. Jaywalking in Texas can only occur if a pedestrian walks across the street outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. That means that it is not considered jaywalking if you were walking through a parking lot or another similar area devoid of roadways. If you are facing a similar circumstance, then an experienced personal injury attorney can help prove that you were not jaywalking at the time of the accident.
Were You In a Pedestrian-Related Accident?
Were you jaywalking in Texas and hit by a motorist? Though jaywalking is illegal, you still may be able to file a personal injury claim. Contact our seasoned legal team at Brylak Law to begin the process of recovering your damages. We will examine your case and lay out all of your options. Contact us today.