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Who is Liable in a Pedestrian Accident Involving Jaywalking?


Pedestrian accidents almost always cause severe injury to the person walking, and very little harm to the driver. However, the level of injury sustained by the pedestrian does not necessarily mean the driver is completely at fault.

Crosswalks, sidewalks, parking garages, and gas stations are all common sites of pedestrian accidents. In these areas, people are legally allowed to walk, and drivers should expect that pedestrians may be present, and drive with caution (of course, this doesn’t mean every pedestrian accident case in permitted areas are the driver’s fault). But who is liable in cases of jaywalking?

The legal consequences for jaywalking alone vary between municipalities, but if you are found guilty of jaywalking in relation to a pedestrian accident, it can negatively affect your chances of recovering compensation.

Determining Negligence

Like any case involving an injury, negligence will be the deciding factor in the issuing of compensation. South Carolina follows modified comparative negligence laws, so it must be determined that either party was less at fault for the accident than the other in order to receive compensation. The state law defines this threshold at 51%, meaning whoever is determined to be more than 51% liable for the accident will not receive compensation. For example, if by jaywalking a pedestrian is deemed more than 51% at fault for the accident and their own injuries, they will not be paid damages. But if they were jaywalking and the driver was on their phone when the accident occurred, the plaintiff could be found less than 51% liable, and therefore entitled to some kind of compensation.

The definition of negligence will be different in each case, as will the compensation issued as a result. Although it is possible to recover damages if you’ve been hit by a car while jaywalking, the behavior certainly will not help in a pedestrian accident case. It is best to avoid jaywalking for your own safety.

Call (843) 968-0886 or use our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation with the Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC legal team.
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