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If a Truck Hits a Jaywalker, Who Is at Fault?

truck hits jaywalker

What you will learn in this article:

  • Fault in a truck-pedestrian accident cannot be automatically determined based on whether the pedestrian was jaywalking or not.
  • Truck blind spots are a common cause of accidents involving pedestrians, as truck drivers may not be able to see them.
  • Both truck drivers and pedestrians have right-of-way laws that they must follow, and violation of these laws can determine fault in an accident.

Despite what most people tend to assume, the driver is not always the one at fault when they hit a pedestrian. However, it’s also important to understand that even if a pedestrian is jaywalking, which is illegal, this does not mean they are automatically at fault either. 

Who is at fault can depend on several different factors, and as such, each case is unique and must be carefully evaluated to determine who is responsible. Thus, if a truck hits a jaywalker, it doesn’t necessarily mean the truck driver is at fault. 

What happens if you hit a pedestrian jaywalking? Let’s find out. 

If you still have questions after reading and need help with a jaywalking truck accident claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of Kentucky pedestrian accident attorneys for assistance. 

The Dangers of Truck Blind Spots and Pedestrians

Before we dive into fault when a jaywalker is hit by a truck, it’s helpful to understand why these accidents happen. Though truck accidents can happen for many reasons, one of the most common causes of these accidents when pedestrians are involved is blind spots. 

Semi-trucks have huge blind spots, which means it’s very easy for things to completely disappear when around a truck, especially when that thing is much smaller, like a person. Truck drivers typically cannot see anything within the first 20 feet directly in front of the truck, within 30 feet behind the truck, directly next to the truck on the right about 10 feet down the length of the truck, and to the left of the truck about ¾ of the way down the length. 

If a pedestrian walks by a truck in any of these areas, the truck driver will likely have no idea that they are there, which could lead to an accident. While truck drivers have a responsibility to be cautious when driving in places where someone could be in their blind spot, they can still miss things. This is why it is also important for pedestrians to be mindful of where they are walking when around large trucks. 

When crossing in front of, behind, or next to a large semi-truck, the pedestrian should put as much space between them and the truck as possible. If a pedestrian knowingly walks into a truck’s blind spot, they are putting themselves at risk. 

When Are Truck Drivers at Fault for Hitting Pedestrians?

To determine fault when a truck hits a jaywalker, you first need to consider the right-of-way laws. A truck driver can be held liable for hitting a pedestrian, even if that pedestrian was jaywalking if the driver did not have the right of way.

According to Kentucky law, drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and unmarked crosswalks at intersections. Drivers are also not permitted to pass other vehicles that are stopped at an intersection or crosswalk, as the stopped vehicle could be doing so to allow a pedestrian to pass. 

If a truck driver violates these laws when they hit a pedestrian, they will likely be held liable. 

When Are Pedestrians at Fault for Accidents

Just like truck drivers, pedestrians also have right-of-way laws they must obey. If they ignore these laws, they could be held liable for any accident they cause. 

Pedestrians in Kentucky are not permitted to suddenly leave a curb and walk or run directly into the path of a close vehicle. Pedestrians are also not allowed to cross intersections diagonally unless authorized to do so by a traffic control officer or device. Pedestrians must use a sidewalk if one is available. If a sidewalk is not available, the pedestrian is permitted to walk on the shoulder of the road or as far to the outer edge of the road as possible.

If a pedestrian is crossing the road at a point where there is no crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked, they must yield the right-of-way to vehicles. This is otherwise known as jaywalking. 

Truck Hits Jaywalker: Who Is at Fault?

What happens if you hit a jaywalker? 

With the above laws in mind, it’s easier to understand when a truck driver is or is not at fault. If the truck driver was obeying all right-of-way laws when they hit the jaywalking pedestrian, then they are most likely not the one at fault. If they hit the jaywalking pedestrian because they were disobeying the law, then they will be held liable. 

However, aside from the right-of-way laws, you must also consider if any other laws were being disobeyed. For example, if the pedestrian was jaywalking but the truck driver was speeding, running a red light, driving under the influence of alcohol, or acting negligently in any other way, then they could carry some or even the majority of the blame in the accident.

Both the pedestrian and the truck driver can be at fault. If this is the case, the fault will be distributed based on percentages. So if a truck driver was speeding but the pedestrian was jaywalking, then the truck driver could be viewed as 70% at fault and the pedestrian could be viewed as 30% at fault. 

This is just an example, and the percentages could be different depending on the specific case, but it gives you an idea of how sharing fault works. When both parties are at fault, either party can still file a claim to recover damages. However, the compensation they are awarded will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. 

Trust McCoy & Sparks—Premier Personal Injury Attorneys in Central Kentucky

Though right-of-way laws help more clearly define who is at fault when a truck hits a jaywalker, these cases can still be complex and challenging to navigate. Again, just because the pedestrian was jaywalking doesn’t mean they are automatically at fault for disobeying the right-of-way law, especially if the truck driver who hit them was also doing something they shouldn’t have been doing, such as speeding or running a stop sign. 

Whether you are a pedestrian or a truck driver filing a claim for a jaywalking accident, your best chance of winning your case and ensuring the right party is held liable is by working with a lawyer. An attorney can help protect your rights, assist in investigating exactly what happened, and handle negotiations with insurance to ensure they compensate you fully and fairly for the damages suffered. 

Recognized as one of Central Kentucky’s best law firms, McCoy & Sparks represents thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service. Our goal is to help you reach the best possible result. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to (844) 4KY-WINS for a risk-free consultation with one of our attorneys today.