Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of pedestrian fatalities and deaths. This is why Indiana has several laws to help protect people who are out walking or jogging. Despite these protections, there are times when pedestrians cross the road when they’re not supposed to. This can endanger their own lives as well as those of people in motor vehicles who may have to swerve, stop quickly, or even run into them.
If you have been hurt in a crash involving a pedestrian who was jaywalking, learn about your legal rights today. Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Truitt Law Offices for a free case review.
Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right-of-Way in Indiana?
Pedestrians are much more vulnerable than people in motor vehicles. Drivers should always watch out for people who are walking or running along or on the street. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that pedestrians always have the right-of-way. In fact, Indiana law says that in most situations when a pedestrian is on a road, the person must yield the right-of-way to vehicles, except in special situations.
Some of the other traffic laws that pedestrians must follow in Indiana include:
- If crossing a street anywhere outside of a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to vehicles.
- Pedestrians may not stand in the road to solicit business or a ride from drivers.
- At intersections with pedestrian control signals, pedestrians may only cross when there’s a steady or flashing “walk” signal.
- Pedestrians should not step off a curb suddenly into the path of a vehicle.
- Pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk if one is available. If there isn’t a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk only on the shoulder of the road or as far away from the edge of driving lanes as possible.
- Pedestrians should not cross a roadway diagonally, unless they are at an intersection with a pedestrian control signal that officially allows diagonal crossing.
Despite the laws governing pedestrians, drivers still have a duty to watch out for them. This includes taking extra precautions like double-checking for pedestrians in crosswalks before turning right at a red light, moving to give people extra room when they’re walking on the shoulder, and paying close attention in neighborhoods, school zones, or along crowded streets.
Drivers must watch out for all designated crosswalks, especially those that are outside of typical intersections. When one driver stops to allow someone in the crosswalk to cross the street, other cars are not allowed to overtake and pass the vehicle since this could lead to a deadly collision.
Can a Pedestrian Be Partly at Fault for an Accident?
A pedestrian might hold some liability for an accident, especially if the person was doing something negligent or careless. For example, if someone crosses a highway at night or jaywalks on a city road, then he or she might be partly to blame for a collision. Additionally, pedestrians may hold some responsibility if they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if they are walking while distracted, such as if they’re texting or checking email while walking.
It’s important to note that Indiana is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that any party might be able to recover compensation for the damages they suffer in an accident if they are 50 percent or less at fault for the collision. However, the compensation they receive would be reduced by their percentage of fault.
What Is Considered Jaywalking in Indiana?
People are “jaywalking” any time they’re crossing the street illegally or violating a traffic law related to pedestrians. According to Indiana law, pedestrians who jaywalk and violate state law can be charged with a Class C infraction and may face a fine of up to $500. Additionally, some cities or jurisdictions within Indiana might have local laws related to jaywalking.
What Does the Law Say About Jaywalking and Accidents?
Determining fault for an accident depends heavily on the circumstances of the collision. It’s difficult to determine liability without a full investigation.
For instance, a driver might falsely claim that a pedestrian was jaywalking as a way to deflect blame from themselves, when in reality, the driver didn’t see the person walking because he or she was distracted. In another example, a driver might think he or she had the right-of-way because a person was illegally standing in the road and blocking traffic to ask for money, when the pedestrian was actually trying to get a ride because of an emergency around the corner. Only a thorough investigation can uncover what truly happened in a crash.
Even if the pedestrian was jaywalking when the accident occurred, the driver might still share some or all of the blame. Any time a driver can safely avoid hitting a pedestrian, the driver should do everything possible to prevent the collision by either swerving or sounding their horn.
What Are the Laws About Yielding for Pedestrians in Crosswalks?
Indiana law requires pedestrians to use crosswalks to cross the street whenever they are available. Pedestrians must walk along the right half of the crosswalk whenever possible. They must also obey pedestrian control signals. This means that pedestrians can only cross the road when they have a steady or flashing “walk” signal. They are prohibited from crossing when they have a steady “don’t walk” signal.
Additionally, if a pedestrian is already crossing a street when a “don’t walk” signal starts to flash, the person is allowed to finish walking to the other side of the road. Vehicles must yield the right-of-way until the pedestrian gets to the sidewalk or safety island.
However, if the “don’t walk” sign is already flashing when a pedestrian reaches an intersection, the person is prohibited from starting to cross the road.
Talk to an Indiana Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a traffic accident involving a pedestrian, contact Truitt Law Offices right away. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience helping clients across Northeastern Indiana fight for their rights after tragic accidents. We have the skills and resources to tackle even the toughest cases.
Our compassionate pedestrian accident attorneys are dedicated to doing all we can to help you recover. Contact us today for your free consultation.