Pedestrians in Connecticut must navigate busy intersections, dangerous situations and distracted drivers. Pedestrians are the state’s most vulnerable road users. Unfortunately, many drivers do not give pedestrians the respect and space that they deserve. This can result in harmful vehicle-pedestrian collisions. However, pedestrians can also be at fault for collisions if they violate traffic laws. This includes jaywalking.
Jaywalking is a term that refers to a pedestrian crossing the road where there is no crosswalk or intersection (marked or unmarked). According to Connecticut General Assembly Section 14-300b, jaywalking is against the law. The law states that no pedestrian shall cross a roadway between adjacent intersections where traffic control signals are in operation, except within a marked crosswalk.
At a point between two signaled intersections (either traffic or pedestrian control signals), it is unlawful for a pedestrian to cross the road at a place other than a crosswalk. It is also against the law for a pedestrian to suddenly leave a curb, sidewalk or crosswalk and enter the path of an oncoming vehicle if the vehicle is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. Finally, the law states that no pedestrian who is intoxicated shall walk or stand upon any part of the roadway.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks in Connecticut. This means that drivers must come to complete stops to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. According to a new law in effect as of October 2021, drivers must also stop if pedestrians signal their intent to cross a road at a crosswalk’s entrance by raising their hands, arms or extensions of a body part, such as a walking stick or cane. The failure to yield at a crosswalk can result in a $500 fine.
Even if a pedestrian is jaywalking, a driver has a responsibility to slow down, stop or otherwise avoid striking the pedestrian if reasonably practicable. However, a driver is not responsible for stopping if a pedestrian steps away from the safety of a curb and into the road when a vehicle is so close that it is dangerous or impossible to slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid hitting the pedestrian. Rather than potentially causing a car accident with these actions, it is the pedestrian’s responsibility to exercise a reasonable duty of care under the circumstances.
Jaywalking in Connecticut can be viewed as a violation of the law as well as an act of negligence on the part of a pedestrian. This can interfere with the pedestrian’s ability to recover financial compensation for his or her injuries. Pedestrians have an obligation to act in a way that a reasonable and prudent person would in similar circumstances. If an investigation finds that a pedestrian was not exercising normal care (he or she was negligent) at the time of the accident because he or she was jaywalking, the pedestrian could be held responsible.
The answer to this question depends on the specific circumstances. Liability, or financial responsibility, for a pedestrian accident will go to the person or party with the majority share of fault. If it is determined that both parties involved in the accident are partially responsible, they may both have to pay for the crash.
Connecticut is a modified comparative fault state, meaning that as long as an injured accident victim (a plaintiff) is found to be 51 percent or less at fault for an accident, he or she can still recover at least partial financial compensation. A collision involving a jaywalking pedestrian may utilize this rule to reduce the pedestrian’s financial compensation by his or her percentage of fault – possibly barring the pedestrian from making a financial recovery at all. If the driver was also at fault, however, such as for distracted driving, the pedestrian could still be eligible for compensation.
For more information about this type of claim, contact an attorney in Connecticut to request a free injury case evaluation.