According to DMV statistics, Wisconsin sees about 40 to 50 pedestrian fatalities each year. An additional 1,500 to 2,000 injuries are additionally caused by a vehicle striking a pedestrian.
The Department of Transportation works to protect pedestrians with lights, signs, reflective strips and crosswalks among other measures. However, no matter how many safety measures are put in place, pedestrian safety relies on drivers both adhering to the rules of the road and paying attention at all times while driving their vehicle. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, leading to pedestrian accidents even in safe zones such as crosswalks and sidewalks.
If you were following the rules of the road and were struck by a distracted or reckless driver, an attorney may be able to help you to obtain fair compensation for your injuries and any difficulties the accident may have caused.
Pedestrian Right-Of-Way In Wisconsin
Laws regarding how drivers and pedestrians are to interact are found in Chapter 346 of the Wisconsin State Statutes.
Though it is never OK to hit someone, pedestrians do have some legal responsibilities to adhere to when moving through traffic. It can hurt a pedestrian’s case if they were out of compliance with these requirements when the accident occurred.
For example, a pedestrian at a crosswalk that has a light is expected to wait for the signal to begin crossing. Drivers do have right of way when the light is green for them. Some crosswalks do not have lights, however, such as those that are in the middle of a long stretch of road between two intersections. In these cases, the pedestrian does have right of way, but the law requires them to yield to oncoming traffic that is too close to safely stop.
It is always wise for pedestrians to wait for oncoming drivers to come to a complete stop as they do not always see crosswalks of this type, especially in low-light conditions. Pedestrians should also be aware of oncoming traffic passing a stopped vehicle from the rear. Unfortunately, many drivers do not look to see why a vehicle in front of them has stopped and simply barrel around them, even though this is illegal when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.
Wisconsin law states that pedestrians must yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles when crossing outside of a crosswalk. Children under the age of seven and blind pedestrians have special protection under the law that may render a motorist liable even if they were outside of a crosswalk when struck, however.
Pedestrians are allowed to walk on roads when no sidewalk is present; however, the law requires them to walk on the left-hand side whenever possible and to move as far to the outer perimeter of the road as possible to keep a safe distance from vehicles.
Distracted Driving In Wisconsin
Wisconsin has had a ban on texting while driving for some years now. As of October 2016, the state now also prohibits talking on or otherwise using a phone while driving through a work zone.
As far as criminal penalties go, these actions only bring relatively small fines to drivers. However, they may well show clear responsibility in a civil suit. In addition, the fact that state law does not prohibit drivers from talking on cell phones outside of work zones does not automatically mean that the driver will not be found to be distracted and at fault in a civil case due to their phone use.
Technically Jaywalking, But The Driver Had Time To Respond And Hit You Anyway?
If you were technically jaywalking and got hit while crossing, that doesn’t necessarily absolve the driver of responsibility under Wisconsin law. Drivers are still expected to make an effort to avoid a crash even if the other party is not fully complying with traffic law. If the driver had adequate time to response and did not, they may still be legally responsible for being negligent, reckless or distracted.
If you have been in an accident in Wisconsin in which the other driver was at fault, contact us for a free consultation.