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Who’s Liable When a Driver Hits a Jaywalker in Ohio?

Pedestrian accidents are unfortunately all too common, and they can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. In 2022, pedestrian fatalities hit a record high nationwide, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, with 7,508 deaths reported, marking the highest toll since 1981.

In Ohio, like in many other places, determining fault can be complex and depends on various factors. Below, we’ll delve into Ohio’s laws regarding pedestrian accidents, explore scenarios where the fault may lie with the driver or the pedestrian, and provide examples to illustrate these situations.

Ohio Pedestrian Laws

In Ohio, pedestrians generally have the right of way when crossing the road at marked crosswalks or intersections. Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians in these designated areas. However, pedestrians must also exercise caution and follow traffic signals when crossing. Jaywalking, which refers to crossing the road outside of designated crosswalks or intersections, may shift liability towards the pedestrian, depending on the circumstances.

Examples of Driver Liability:

Scenario 1: A driver is speeding through a residential area and fails to notice a pedestrian crossing the street at a marked crosswalk. The driver strikes the pedestrian, causing injuries.

Liability: In this case, the driver would likely be liable for the accident due to their failure to adhere to the speed limit and yield to the pedestrian in the marked crosswalk.

Scenario 2: A driver is distracted by their phone and fails to see a pedestrian crossing the road at a designated crosswalk. The driver hits the pedestrian.

Liability: The distracted driver would likely be considered at fault for the accident since they were not paying attention to the road and failed to yield to the pedestrian.

Examples of Pedestrian Liability:

Scenario 1: A pedestrian suddenly darts out into the street between parked cars, giving the driver little to no time to react. The driver hits the pedestrian.

Liability: While the driver still must exercise caution, the pedestrian’s sudden and unexpected entry into the roadway may shift some liability toward them for not crossing at a designated crosswalk or intersection.

Scenario 2: A pedestrian disregards a “Do Not Walk” signal at a busy intersection and attempts to cross against the light. A driver with a green light hits the pedestrian.

Liability: The pedestrian is likely at fault for the accident since they violated traffic signals and entered the roadway when it was unsafe.

Determining fault in pedestrian accidents involving jaywalking in Ohio requires careful consideration of various factors, including the actions of both the driver and the pedestrian. While drivers are generally expected to exercise caution and yield to pedestrians, pedestrians also have a responsibility to follow traffic laws and cross the road safely.