Jaywalking pedestrians in Wisconsin must follow certain duties, such as obeying traffic control devices and never flinging themselves into traffic directly in front of a vehicle. When pedestrians fail to follow these rules, they can actually cause a collision. On their way to the hospital in the back of an ambulance, many of them wonder, “Can I receive compensation if I was jaywalking?”
At Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC, we help injured pedestrians bring Wisconsin personal injury claims against drivers who hit them. Please contact our firm after a crash. The simple fact of jaywalking does not prevent you from seeking compensation, but everything depends on the facts of the case.
Jaywalking Defined in Wisconsin
Jaywalking involves crossing the street in violation of the rules, such as:
- Pedestrians can only start across an intersection when a traffic control device says “Walk,” and they should never start across when the sign says “Don’t Walk.”
- If there is no traffic control device, pedestrians must cross safely. They can’t suddenly jump from the curb into the road.
- If pedestrians are crossing somewhere other than a crosswalk, they must yield the right of way to vehicles on the road.
Motorists in Wisconsin also have rules to follow. For example, they must yield the right of way when pedestrians are crossing at an intersection or crosswalk without a traffic control device.
Right to Compensation
Most pedestrians struck by a motorist are entitled to sue for compensation. But jaywalking complicates matters. For one thing, you didn’t follow the rules in Wisconsin as a pedestrian. Furthermore, motorists usually expect pedestrians to cross at an intersection. If you suddenly throw yourself into the road, you could surprise a driver.
To determine whether you can seek compensation, we need to take a close look at the accident. Pedestrian accidents including those of jaywalking pedestrians in Wisconsin are analyzed according to fault. We want to know where the accident happened and how much care the pedestrian and motorist exercised.
For example, you might have started across an intersection when the “Don’t Walk” sign was showing. However, a drunk motorist plowed through the red light and struck you. In this example, both you and the driver share blame for the collision.
Wisconsin’s law states that you can seek compensation so long as your comparative negligence was “not greater” than the defendant’s. That means you can be up to 50% at fault for the accident but not over. When we represent jaywalking pedestrians, we compare their negligence to the driver’s.
So, Can You Receive Compensation?
The correct answer is: it depends on the facts. This is where an experienced attorney makes a big difference. Our lawyers can gather all evidence and emphasize the driver’s negligence while minimizing your own. For example, the driver might have been texting and not looking at the road, or driving much too fast for conditions. Even if you were crossing outside the crosswalk, the driver should have slowed down as soon as they saw you.
If you were jaywalking, you should expect to receive less than 100% of your damages. That’s part of the comparative negligence rule. Still, some money is better than nothing, and we do everything in our power to maximize your take-home settlement.