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Jaywalking and Pedestrian Accidents


The term “jaywalking” first gained prominence in the 1920s amidst the rise of the American auto industry. Although about 80% of citizens still traveled by foot, the supply and demand of cars expanded very rapidly in a short period of time, leading to widespread problems caused by pedestrians in increasingly-busy roads. “Jaywalking” – crossing a road where there is no crosswalk – was condemned by powerful figures in the auto industry in order to clear the roads and make room for more and more new vehicles.

If you, as a pedestrian, are ever involved in such an accident and held accountable due to your own negligence, there are a few things to remember. Legally speaking, sidewalks are whatever parts of roads which are meant for pedestrians, even if real, actual sidewalks are unavailable. If your accident occurred where you had no choice but to walk precariously close to the road, you certainly may have a case.

Drivers approaching crosswalks are legally obligated to yield to any crossing pedestrians. If you approach a vehicle stopped at a green light, it may be safe to assume they are letting a pedestrian pass. The worst thing to do in this situation is attempt to drive around the vehicle; if your blocked view causes you to hit someone crossing the road, you will almost always be held responsible. If he/she did not have a “walk” signal, however, liability may shift dramatically.

What qualifies as a “crosswalk” is often a gray area. Unmarked crosswalks often count, and “sidewalks” which are not marked or paved may still be considered sidewalks, especially when connected across roadways. Pedestrians still have their rights in such areas, and all cases must be evaluated individually and detail-by-detail to accurately determine who was at-fault for the accident.

It is unfortunately common for pedestrians to be held legally responsible for accidents for which they weren’t at-fault, often because they are unaware of their rights and do not learn them while pursuing their claims. Don’t make this mistake; speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible for your best chance of earning compensation.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a pedestrian, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.

Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorney’s fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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