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Who is At-Fault if a Jaywalker is Hit in Texas?

In most situations, vehicle drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians, particularly if they see them and have the ability to stop before an incident occurs. When a failure to do so results in an crash, the end result is often a personal injury lawsuit in Houston. The reality is that there are various laws in place to prevent jaywalking, but what happens if a jaywalker gets struck by a vehicle? Who is at fault when this occurs? Here, we want to discuss liability issues if a jaywalker is struck by another driver.

Texas Pedestrian Laws and Responsibilities

The state of Texas has various laws in place to help protect pedestrian safety when they are around or entering roadways. Some of the most pertinent of these laws include:

  • All vehicles must yield the right of way to pedestrians who are inside marked or unmarked crosswalks. This can include crosswalks with painted lines at intersections, but not every intersection has painted lines. In these unmarked areas, including places where there are T-intersections and stop sign intersections, pedestrians still have the right of way when crossing.
  • Vehicles must yield the right of way to pedestrians when the pedestrian crosses entrance gaps such as a leap and sidewalks at driveways or the entrance to alleyways or parking lots.
  • Pedestrians are required to abide by traffic signals when crossing at a controlled intersection. This includes all traffic or pedestrian lights that are present. When a pedestrian disobeys traffic signals, they forfeit their right of way.
  • Pedestrians are required to yield the right of way to traffic if they wish to cross the street where there is no intersection or marked crosswalk.
  • Pedestrians are required to use marked crosswalks or intersections when they are available. Failing to use one when it is available means the pedestrian forfeits their right of way.
  • Pedestrians cannot enter an intersection or roadway in an area where a car is not able to safely slow down or stop in time to yield.

Struck While Jaywalking – Who is Responsible?

We wanted to review some of those basic pedestrian safety laws in order to discuss who may be at fault if an accident occurs when a pedestrian is jaywalking. Anytime a pedestrian is legally crossing the roadway, it is very likely that a vehicle driver will be held responsible if an accident occurs.

Jaywalking, by its definition, means that the pedestrian crossed in an area where they should not or when they should have otherwise yielded to traffic on the roadway. In situations where a pedestrian has forfeited their right of way, there is a decent chance that the pedestrian will be held responsible for causing any injuries or property damage if an accident occurs due to their negligence.

However, this can get a little murky, especially if the driver of a vehicle still had time to slow down and avoid the pedestrian, even if a pedestrian did not have the right of way. For example, if a pedestrian decides to cross the road in an unmarked crosswalk even though there is a marked crosswalk nearby, they technically forfeit their right of way. However, if a vehicle driver sees the pedestrian doing this and has ample time to slow down and move out of the way to avoid striking them but does not, the driver may still be at fault for the incident.

If you are struck by a motor vehicle while crossing the street, seek medical care immediately. Once you are on the road to recovery, speak to a pedestrian accident attorney in Houston to discuss the specific details of your case.

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