Can a Jaywalker Pedestrian Sue a Driver for Damages in Texas?

Man crossing at a crosswalk

In a traffic-rich city like Dallas, we see far too many accidents in which pedestrians are struck by motorists in busy streets and intersections. When a driver hits a pedestrian who is walking across a crosswalk at a stop sign or with the green light, in most cases, the driver will clearly be found negligent for violating the pedestrian’s right-of-way, and the pedestrian can recover damages. But what about a situation where the pedestrian is jaywalking, meaning he or she has entered the road where there is no crosswalk, thus failing to yield the driver’s right of way? In many cases, that pedestrian still may be able to successfully recover.

How Modified Comparative Negligence Works in Texas Pedestrian Accidents

The Texas civil code does prohibit pedestrians from entering roadways where there is no crosswalk, and thus for a pedestrian to do so could be considered negligent under the law. But, in Texas, it is important to understand that a plaintiff who acted negligently can still recover from a defendant who acted negligently, under the modified comparative negligence system that Texas employs in pedestrian accident cases.

This system says that, so long as the pedestrian plaintiff’s negligence was less than 50% at fault for the accident occurring, the pedestrian can recover, although the recovery will be lessened by the pedestrian’s proportionate level of negligence. Thus, the courts will weigh the pedestrian’s negligence with the defendant’s negligence, and if the defendant is found to be more at fault, the plaintiff can recover.

An Example of Modified Comparative Negligence in Texas Personal Injury

Take, for example, a pedestrian who is trying to cross a street where there is no crosswalk for a very long distance. If the pedestrian looks both ways, but a drunk driver texting on his phone races into traffic and hits the pedestrian, it is very likely that a judge and jury looking at the situation would find that the drunk driver’s negligence was more to blame for the accident than the pedestrian.

Perhaps the jury finds the pedestrian was 10% at fault and the driver 90% at fault. If the pedestrian suffered $1,000,000 in total damages, the pedestrian would recover $900,000, which is the full $1,000,000 lessened by the 10% ($100,000) that the jury found proportionate to the plaintiff’s fault.

Speak to a Texas personal injury attorney about your pedestrian accident and your potential for financial recovery.

Work With Experienced Dallas Personal Injury Attorneys

The Kelley Law Firm PC in Dallas, TX represents the rights of personal injury victims and family members of those killed wrongfully. We have successfully recovered numerous 7-figure settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients, and are passionately committed to obtaining the maximum financial recovery that our clients deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation regarding your personal injury or wrongful death matter.