Jaywalking occurs when a pedestrian crosses or walks in a street when he or she does not have the right-of-way under applicable traffic laws. For example, a pedestrian crossing the street when oncoming vehicles are passing through a green light would be jaywalking; a pedestrian crossing the street when a traffic signal indicates he or she has the right of way is not committing this crime.
Jaywalking can result in serious penalties for the pedestrian and increases the risk for a collision and catastrophic injuries. In addition, a pedestrian who jaywalks and suffers injuries in an accident can face difficulties securing compensation for his or her injuries.
When Does a Pedestrian Have the Right of Way?
Generally, traffic control lights dictate who has the right of way at intersections. Pedestrians may cross when a light is green, and must remain on the sidewalk or curb if the light is red. If there are no traffic control signals or the signals are not working, Missouri state law Section 300.375 will apply.
Under this law, a pedestrian has the right to cross the street at a marked crosswalk. A driver must yield to the pedestrian when he or she is crossing the half of the road that the vehicle is traveling on or he or she is so close to the vehicle that it would be unsafe for the driver to continue traveling.
However, this law does not provide a pedestrian with the right to cross the street anywhere. A pedestrian cannot leave the curb, sidewalk, or other safe location and walk in the path of an oncoming vehicle that cannot yield safely.
Missouri state law Section 300.390 provides additional rules for pedestrians. This statute states that a pedestrian who crosses the road at any location other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection must yield the right of way to all oncoming vehicles.
Penalties for Jaywalking in Missouri
Although jaywalking is technically a punishable offense, striking a jaywalker does not automatically exempt drivers from punishment. Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians who cross the road, even if the pedestrian does not cross in a legal location.
If you jaywalk in Missouri, you may have to pay a fine. Although this penalty is not as serious as other crimes, jaywalking can place you and others on the road in a dangerous position. For your safety, it is best to avoid jaywalking.
Who Is Liable for a Jaywalking Accident?
Since Missouri follows a fault insurance system for car accidents, liability is a complicated question in cases involving jaywalkers. Drivers who cause accidents generally have to pay for the damages of their victims, including pedestrians. However, if the pedestrian was jaywalking at the time of the accident, he or she may be at least partially liable for his or her damages.
In these situations, Missouri’s pure comparative fault laws will apply. This rule reduces the settlement amount by the portion of liability the victim shares. For example, if you suffered injuries while jaywalking, the court may assign 40% of the liability to you. If you ask for $20,000 in damages, the court will only award $12,000 after reducing your award.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured in a Kansas City, Missouri Car Accident?
If you've been hurt in a Kansas City area car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.