Jaywalking: In an Accident, Where Does the Blame Lie?

by | Feb 6, 2015

In Idaho, it is illegal to jaywalk. Pedestrians are considered to be jaywalking when they cross a highway or roadway in a place not marked by a crosswalk. Unmarked crosswalks at intersections are not pedestrian right-of-way zones. Under Idaho law, pedestrians are required to yield right of way to vehicles.

Even so, many people jaywalk. This can be due to a lack of sufficient marked crossing areas or just due to the convenience of not having to walk a long block to a crosswalk.

Yet, when pedestrians are hit by vehicles, jaywalking can make an investigation more complex, explains KBOI2 News.

While the law for pedestrians is rather clear: walk in a crosswalk or yield to vehicles, the law for drivers is also rather clear. Idaho state law dictates that drivers are required to take care to avoid hitting pedestrians.

KBOI2 News spoke to a Boise police officer about the issue. Officer Everett Corona explained, “It’s kind of a 50/50 relationship when it comes to pedestrians and drivers . . . everyone needs to share the road.”

Every accident is unique, so it can often be difficult to determine who is to blame for an accident. For instance, if a pedestrian suddenly walks out into the middle of the street without looking, and doesn’t walk in a marked crosswalk, can a driver be held responsible for hitting the pedestrian in the event of an accident? Yet, drivers don’t have a free pass to use no caution just because a pedestrian isn’t walking in a marked crosswalk.

In general, pedestrians should make sure that they are giving drivers enough space to stop, even when they are walking in marked crosswalks. In general, safety for both drivers and pedestrians requires mutual due care by both parties to avoid accidents.

Even so, jaywalking is dangerous and some municipalities have taken some serious action against offenders. According to the City of Rexburg Police Website, in Idaho, a jaywalking ticket will set violators back by $76.50. The police department offers classes that allows violators to reduce the fine. To reduce the fine, violators must attend the class and also serve one hour of crosswalk duty. Walking while texting results in even steeper fines. Individuals who text while crossing a street can be fined $101.50 for a first offense and $201.50 for a second offense.

What should drivers and pedestrians do if they are in an accident? Besides obviously seeking medical treatment when necessary, drivers and pedestrians should report the accident to law enforcement. Next, pedestrians and drivers who have suffered damage may consider speaking to a personal injury lawyer to discuss the case. The Law Office of Johnson and Lundgreen, P.C. understands that every case is unique, especially cases involving motor vehicles and pedestrians. If you’ve suffered a personal injury in Meridian or Boise, Idaho, you need a personal injury lawyer who can help you seek justice and defend your rights. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to learn more.

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