Seattle has a unique, if unfounded, reputation for being one of the few cities where the police dole out jaywalking fines to pedestrians, even when there is no traffic and no car in sight. While this may or may not be true, we certainly are an active city and, despite the rain, many of the 230,000 workers in the downtown core and the millions of residents throughout our neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs use our sidewalks and crosswalks every day. Unfortunately, we also see many pedestrian accidents in the Seattle area and throughout Washington.
Under Washington law, pedestrians have the right of way at any uncontrolled intersection, marked or unmarked. If a pedestrian is at an intersection that does not have a traffic signal, all vehicles are required to yield to the pedestrian when he or she is crossing the street. While you are not permitted to simply jump out in front of a moving vehicle, you are granted the right-of-way to safely enter the intersection and walk directly across to the other side.
Controlled intersections are treated differently under Washington law. When there is a traffic light at an intersection, you can only cross with the light. Most controlled intersections in Seattle have “Walk” and “Do Not Walk” signals that will light up or flash depending on the circumstances. When the “Walk” signal is illuminated, you have the right-of-way and any vehicle turning right from an adjacent street must yield to you. Obviously if the sign says “Do Not Walk”, you do not have the right-of-way.
Even if you are crossing against the light, a driver does not have the right to simply run you over. If a driver saw you or should have seen you and hits you anyway, you may have a claim depending on the circumstances. Washington law relies on a comparative fault system and while you may share some of the blame, the driver may also share a percentage that a jury would determine on a case-by-case basis.
If you or a loved one suffer an injury while on-foot or in a crosswalk, a pedestrian injury attorney can help you recover for your injuries. You may also be entitled to payment of medical expenses through the driver’s no-fault insurance if he or she is insured. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation and let us help you if you are involved in a Washington pedestrian accident.