Truck Hits Jaywalker: Who Is at Fault?

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Truck Hits Jaywalker: Who Is at Fault?

truck hits jaywalker

Key Points of This Article:

  • Jaywalking is illegal in Michigan.
  • The pedestrian is not necessarily at fault if they were hit while jaywalking.
  • Drivers must take all necessary precautions to avoid hitting pedestrians, even those who are jaywalking.

Though the term jaywalker might seem to imply that the pedestrian is automatically at fault, this isn’t always the case. While jaywalking is illegal, drivers still have a duty to pay attention and remain alert in case anyone walks into the road.

That being said, what happens when a truck hits a jaywalker? Who is at fault? Let’s take a look below to find out. 

do not walk signal

If you have questions and need help with a jaywalking accident case, our Maryland pedestrian accident attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm can assist you. Give us a call today for a free consultation at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733).

What is Jaywalking?

In Michigan, jaywalking refers to any person who crosses a street outside of a designated crosswalk or anyone who crosses when the traffic control signal is showing the “Do Not Walk” signal. It’s important to note, however, that crosswalks in Michigan can be both marked and unmarked, but they are typically located at intersections. 

What Happens if You Hit a Pedestrian Jaywalking?

What happens if you hit a jaywalker?

If a truck hits a jaywalker, or any other vehicle, how the situation plays out will depend on the steps you take following the accident. Even if a pedestrian was jaywalking, it’s important not to automatically assume they are going to be the one at fault or to yell at or blame them. Depending on the situation, you as the driver could still be held liable, so it’s important to stay calm and be compliant. 

The first thing you should do is call 911 to report the accident and request emergency services if the pedestrian or yourself are injured. Do not attempt to flee the scene as this could cause further problems as leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. 

Once the police have been contacted, offer assistance to the pedestrian if they need it and exchange contact and insurance information with them. After this, you can speak to any witnesses who might have seen what happened and get their contact details as well if they are willing to give a statement. 

pedestrian at fault

Additionally, it can help if you collect evidence from the scene, such as photos and videos to help prove what happened. After the accident, you should report the incident to your insurance company so they are aware of what happened and are prepared to deal with the claim, and you should contact a lawyer as well. 

Again, though jaywalking is illegal, this does not automatically mean that the pedestrian will be the one at fault. The pedestrian may try to file a claim against you and your insurance company, so having a lawyer can help in case you need to build a case to protect your rights. 

Michigan Pedestrian and Jaywalking Laws

Before you can understand who is at fault when a truck hits a jaywalker, you’ll need to know how the laws in Michigan work concerning pedestrians, jaywalking, and motor vehicles. 

Technically, Michigan does not have any specific laws that reference the term “jaywalking.” That said, there are right-of-way laws that pedestrians and motorists need to follow. 

According to Michigan vehicle code 257.655

  • Except when crossing the road in a designated area or crosswalk, pedestrians are not permitted to walk on the road. 
  • Pedestrians are not permitted to start crossing the road once the “Do Not Walk” signal has started flashing. 
  • Pedestrians MAY walk on the road only if a sidewalk is not provided or accessible. When doing so, they must walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic. 

Is jaywalking illegal in Michigan? Yes, if a pedestrian disobeys the right-of-way laws above, they are essentially jaywalking and thus are seen as having done something illegal. 

However, drivers as well also have laws they must follow with regard to pedestrians. 

  • Drivers must yield to pedestrians lawfully crossing at a designated area or crosswalk.
  • Drivers must stop before a crosswalk or limit line when the light is red to avoid hitting pedestrians.
  • Even if a pedestrian is jaywalking and crossing illegally, drivers must still take all necessary precautions to avoid hitting the pedestrian. 

If You Hit a Jaywalker, Who Is at Fault?

Based on the right-of-way laws above, either the driver or the pedestrian can be at fault when a truck hits a jaywalker. If the driver did everything within their power to avoid hitting the jaywalking pedestrian, and the accident still happened, then it is likely that the pedestrian will be at fault. 

However, if the truck driver acted in any negligent manner that contributed to the accident, even though the pedestrian was jaywalking, then the truck driver could be held liable or partially liable. For example, if the driver was speeding, talking on their phone, running a stop sign, or was distracted by something in their vehicle, then they could be viewed as having contributed to the accident.

It’s important to note that Michigan is a comparative fault state, so more than one party can share the blame in an accident. The truck driver could file a claim against the pedestrian so long as they were not more than 50% to blame for the accident. But this also means that the pedestrian could file a claim against the truck driver if they were not more than 50% to blame.

When this happens, the compensation awarded for any damage suffered will be reduced based on the percentage of fault. For example, if the pedestrian suffered injuries and needs to file a claim to have their medical bills covered but they were 40% at fault for the accident, the final settlement they receive will be reduced by 40%.

Lee Steinberg Law Firm: Michigan Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Proving fault after a pedestrian accident is not easy and you will need to work with an attorney to help you build a strong case that ensures the right party is held accountable. Our team will guide you through the claims process, help you gather evidence, handle communications with the other parties, and ensure you are fully and fairly compensated for the damages you suffered. 

Let our team of experienced pedestrian accident attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm help. Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or contact us online. Our consultations are free and confidential, and you’ll pay nothing until we settle your pedestrian accident case.