When a person is attempting to cross a busy street, he or she is in a very vulnerable position. Thousands of pounds of steel, rubber, and plastic are flying past, each vehicle capable of inflicting serious injury or death with just a single moment of inattention. In less than a second, the pedestrian’s life can be changed forever, and, in many cases, the results are beyond tragic. Pedestrian safety, however, is not entirely the responsibility of car and truck drivers; when you are walking, it is also up to you to ensure that you are following the rules of the road to help prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities.
Marked and Unmarked Crosswalks
Downtown and urban areas can be incredibly frustrating for drivers and pedestrians alike. Too often, cars and trucks simply refuse to yield to those who are walking, while far too many pedestrians dart out into traffic. In many cases, neither drivers nor pedestrians really understand the applicable laws and who is supposed to have the right of way.
In Connecticut, a pedestrian is presumed to have the right of way to cross a street when he or she is at a marked crosswalk that is not controlled by a traffic signal. A crosswalk is defined in Connecticut law as the part of a public road that laterally connects sidewalks at an intersection. Unmarked crosswalks may connect sidewalks at an intersection but do not grant pedestrians with the same right of way.
Right of Way
Any vehicle—with the exception of emergency vehicles—must grant you the right of way if:
- You are in a marked crosswalk or at the curb waiting to enter marked crosswalk;
- There is no traffic signal, or you have a green light or a “walk” signal; and
- You are not attempting to cross the street diagonally.
If you are not at a marked crosswalk, you must be aware of the passing vehicles and yield the right of way to each one. It is still technically against the law to cross diagonally.
Possible Effect on a Personal Injury Claim
Beyond the physical danger, failure to comply with crosswalk laws can have financial consequences as well. While it is possible to receive a citation for crossing the street illegally—as a 23-year-old woman in Fairfield recently discovered—your decision could potentially impact your ability to collect damages if you are hit by a car.
Recovering compensation in a personal injury lawsuit is dependent on determining liability for your injuries. If you are hit by a negligent driver, he or she should be responsible for the damages caused. However, if you are hit by a car because you violated the state’s crosswalk laws, you could share responsibility for the accident. Under the law in Connecticut, the damages you are entitled to recover will be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility for your own injuries. If you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, you will not receive any compensation.
Get Help With Your Case
If you have been injured in a car accident or while attempting to cross the street, it is important to understand your legal options. Contact an experienced Hartford personal injury attorney today to discuss your case. Call [[phone1]] for a free, initial consultation at the Woolf Law Firm, LLC.