When a Truck Hits a Jaywalker: Who is at Fault?

truck hits jaywalker

Truck drivers want to be safe on Indiana’s roadways, but that gets complicated when other drivers – or even pedestrians – pose a safety hazard. 

Accidents involving trucks and jaywalkers are almost always catastrophic or fatal for the jaywalker. While there are not a lot of available statistics on these kinds of accidents, the sheer size of a truck compared to a pedestrian is a clear indicator of how serious they are. 

If you are driving and your truck hits a jaywalker, you likely have a lot of questions. You may wonder if you are open to a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit from the jaywalker or their family. And if you were injured in the accident, you may wonder if you can sue the pedestrian who was jaywalking. 

Because these accidents are so often fatal, can you sue for damages if the other party – the jaywalker – was killed in the accident? 

These are complicated questions, and the answers depend on the unique circumstances of your accident. We highly recommend that you reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to talk about what should happen next. 

Let’s take a look at the legal realities that drivers and pedestrians may face in the days, weeks, months, and even years following an accident involving a truck and a jaywalker. 

How is Fault Determined in a Jaywalking Accident? 

Jaywalking is when a pedestrian crosses a street in an unmarked crossing area.

Jaywalking is generally illegal in Indiana. It is a fineable offense in most of the state, although it is generally only enforced in urban areas like cities and busy neighborhoods. 

Still, motor vehicle operators owe all pedestrians a duty of care to drive carefully, pay attention to the road, and watch for people, animals, and other obstacles in the road. If a jaywalker is struck by a driver, the question of who is at fault is not immediately clear. 

at fault for pedestrian accident

Indiana’s car accident laws are governed by the comparative fault statute, which states that whoever is 51% or more responsible for an accident through their actions may be held accountable by a civil court. The more fault a person bears, the more likely they are to be held accountable. 

If both parties were at fault but one party was less than 50% responsible, that party’s court award or settlement will often be lowered according to their level of responsibility. For example, if a jaywalking pedestrian was 80% responsible for the accident, but the driver was 20% responsible because they could have responded faster to avoid hitting the jaywalker, then the driver’s settlement would be reduced by 20%. 

Indiana’s Pedestrian Laws

In Indiana, IC 9-21-17 governs how pedestrians have to behave on the roads and sidewalks. 

Some examples: 

  • Pedestrians must abide by any installed Walk or Don’t Walk signs
  • Pedestrians who have already started crossing the road may continue crossing the road after the “Don’t Walk” sign starts to flash
  • Pedestrians may not cause an immediate hazard by suddenly leaving a curb or other place of safety 
  • Whenever they can, pedestrians should walk on the right half of the crosswalk
  • If there is no sidewalk or shoulder, pedestrians should walk as far as possible to the outside edge of the road
  • Pedestrians should walk on the left side of a two-way road
  • Pedestrians should yield the right-of-way to vehicles on the road

How Can a Pedestrian Cause a Truck Accident?

If you hit a jaywalker, who is at fault? Most of the time, people assume that drivers are at fault for pedestrian accidents. However, that is not always the case. 

A truck/pedestrian accident could be caused by the pedestrian if they were breaking the law by being a safety hazard on the road, or if they were somewhere that they were not legally allowed to be, such as on the side of the interstate.

Because trucks are so large, when a jaywalker is hit by a truck, the individual is likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. But you, as the truck driver, may have suffered injuries and experienced property damage, too. If the accident was the fault of the pedestrian, you may be able to bring a claim against them to prove that they should be held accountable. 

What Happens if You Hit a Pedestrian Jaywalking?

If you hit a pedestrian jaywalking, your next steps will depend upon your injuries. 

If you are uninjured, it is important to stay at the site of the accident and call the authorities. Do not leave the scene until you are cleared by the authorities to do so. 

If you are injured, seek medical attention right away. You may need to be transported to the hospital or cleared by emergency personnel. 

After an Accident

After seeking medical attention, these are the steps you should take: 

  1. Record everything you can about the accident, including taking video footage and pictures and collecting contact information from witnesses. 
  2. Exchange information with the other party or parties involved in the accident, including insurance and contact information. 
  3. Don’t post everything on social media. Even though you may want to seek out reassurance and support from your friends, insurance companies will use these posts to try to deny any claims that you are seeking. 
  4. Keep track of your medical bills, property damage receipts, and any other expenses related to the accident and your recovery. 
  5. Speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options

What Can a Personal Injury Lawsuit Include? 

After a truck accident, you can seek compensation for damages, including but not limited to: 

  • Ambulance transportation to the hospital
  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation and therapy costs
  • Property damage
  • Disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • And more

Poynter & Bucheri – Personal Injury Attorneys in Indiana

The attorneys at Poynter & Bucheri take your pain and suffering seriously. Even in a complicated situation like a truck hitting a jaywalker, we know how Indiana’s motor vehicle and pedestrian laws affect your case. 

You need a compassionate and competent personal injury attorney who will fight for your rights. Let our Indianapolis attorneys help you navigate the legal process of getting compensation for the damages you have suffered because of your accident.

Contact us for a free case review today.