Can a Jaywalker Pursue Compensation After Being Hit by a Car in Wisconsin?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on January 5, 2020 in Personal Injury
Updated on April 25, 2024

jaywalker into oncoming trafficIf a jaywalker is injured by a motor vehicle, he or she may be able to recover damages for his or her injuries, even though he or she may be partially at fault.

Below, learn more about comparative negligence and how it may apply to an accident where the pedestrian is a jaywalker. Schedule a free consultation to find out how our experienced Milwaukee car accident lawyers may be able to help.

Pedestrian and Driver Responsibilities

Pedestrians and drivers both have the obligation to look out for each other to avoid the possibility of an accident.

Under Wisconsin law, pedestrians have the following responsibilities: 

  • Yielding to vehicles that have the right of way when crossing a road that is not a designated intersection, marked crosswalk or that does not have an electronic signal indicating when a pedestrian may walk
  • Not proceeding to walk in front of an approaching vehicle that may not have time to stop for a pedestrian
  • When there is no sidewalk, pedestrians are required to walk along the left side of a roadway

Additional safety reminders for pedestrians:

  • Pay attention to your surroundings – This is not a good time to be distracted by phone messages, digging in a bag, straightening your dog’s leash or counting the cracks on a sidewalk. Look up and around you to remain aware of vehicles and other potential dangers
  • Do not “drink and walk” – Similar to drinking and driving, walking under the influence can put you in a dangerous situation, such as crossing the road when it is unsafe, and result in serious injury or death
  • Take greater precautions when visibility is low – This could be at dusk, on a foggy morning, snowy afternoon or any time when you may not be easily visible to motorists and others on the road. It is a good idea to wear reflective clothing in these conditions – or at night – to protect yourself by being more visible to drivers
  • Take extra safety measures to supervise and protect any children in your care – Little ones may dart out quickly if they are left unattended. For toddlers, especially, it is a good idea to carry them or firmly hold their hand any time you are crossing the road. Consider also the visibility of older children who are dragging their feet to walk behind you as they sometimes do

Under Wisconsin law, drivers have the following responsibilities: 

  • Always look around you for pedestrians when making any turns
  • Reduce your speed and follow the legal speed limits for school zones, neighborhoods and areas with playgrounds, parks and swimming pools
  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians walking across an intersection, legal crosswalk or when a traffic signal indicates a “walk” signal
  • Yield to any pedestrians crossing any roadway, even if there is no legal crosswalk, intersection or walk signal
  • Do not overtake – or pass – a vehicle stopped at an intersection or crosswalk as they may be waiting for a pedestrian to cross
  • Stop at least 20 feet from a bus with flashing red lights and wait until the bus driver has turned off his or her flashing lights, indicating that all of the children have safely crossed the street

Additional safety reminders for drivers:

  • Keep your foot over the brake to enable you to stop more quickly when you spot a pedestrian, children, or a child’s play toy – which may cause a child to dart suddenly into the road
  • Stop for blind or elderly pedestrians. They may have a white cane or a dog guide. Let them complete their crossing before proceeding
  • Yield to pedestrians who are already attempting to cross

How Wisconsin’s Comparative Negligence Law May Impact Your Claim

If two or more people are liable for causing an accident in Wisconsin, the state’s comparative negligence law may impact the claim. As long as the personal injury victim is not determined to carry more fault for an accident than the defendant, the victim can still pursue a claim. However, the damages are reduced by the victim’s degree of liability.

For example, if a driver ran a red light and was assigned 80 percent liability for an accident, and the injured pedestrian was jaywalking and assigned 20 percent of the fault for the same accident, any compensation the victim receives would be reduced by 20 percent.

An Experienced Lawyer May be Able to Help

Even if you share some of the fault for jaywalking, we may be able to help. We offer a free consultation to discuss your potential claim, and if we represent you, we do not charge upfront fees for our services. We only charge you if we first obtain compensation for you.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 414-333-3333 .

Back to top