Jaywalking Laws: Illegal or legal in Washington?

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Accidents involving pedestrians are frequent in Washington, and can lead to serious injury for those on two feet. The 2012 Washington State Annual Collision Summary published by the Washington State Department of Transportation provides that in 2012 a pedestrian or bicyclist was killed in a crash every four days, which amounted to 75 pedestrian deaths throughout the year, as well as 337 serious injuries.

In some cases though, it may not be the motorist who is automatically liable for the accident that occurred. Jaywalking is one such issue that often arises, leading to questions about who was responsible for any subsequent damages in the pedestrian accident.           

What is jaywalking?

Jaywalking refers to crossing the street while outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Jaywalking across the street may provide convenience, but is ultimately against Washington's crosswalk laws.

Pedestrian Jaywalking Laws in Washington

Because jaywalking can lead to pedestrian accidents and catastrophic injuries to those involved, the state of Washington takes pedestrian law seriously and regulates specific actions. According to Section 504-14-940 (4) of the Washington Administrative Code, “pedestrians who are between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation must not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.”

Further, the law also provides that pedestrians are not allowed to suddenly leave the curb, preventing drivers from being able to safely yield. Section 46.61.240 also states that pedestrians must not cross roads where an official sign is in place preventing such actions, and that pedestrians who do cross outside of a crosswalk must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the road.

What happens if you were hit when jaywalking in Washington?

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident while violating jaywalking laws though, this does not necessarily mean that all liability will be automatically assigned to you in a personal injury case. The driver may have been distracted at the time of the accident, placing part of the blame on him or her. Or, the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol, causing him or her to be unaware of your presence on the roadway.

Whatever may have been the case, Washington follows the system of pure comparative negligence, which allows an injured party to recover damages even if he or she was up to 99 percent responsible for the accident. An accident attorney can identify any additional factors that might have led to the accident, like whether or not you were jaywalking at the time.

We encourage you to also review our article that discusses what to do if you were hit by a car.

Contact a Washington Attorney for More Information

The laws regarding jaywalking and pedestrian accidents may seem simple, but in practice they can become extremely complex, depending on the nature of the case. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident while jaywalking, contact the accident attorneys at Max Meyers Law PLLC. We can gather information to help you in your pursuit for compensation, and help you file a claim to recover what is due. You can reach us today by calling 425-399-7000.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.