Is the driver liable in a pedestrian accident if the pedestrian was jaywalking?

Being involved in a pedestrian accident is an overwhelming experience that can be more difficult to hear when the accident was caused by a reckless or negligent driver. Although many people commonly assume that the vehicle driver is always at fault, there are occasions when the pedestrian may have caused or contributed to the accident, such as by jaywalking or violating another traffic rule. Regardless of the circumstances, it is crucial for injury victims to have proper legal representation.

What is shared fault in a pedestrian accident?

All pedestrians must exercise reasonable care for their own safety and follow traffic laws — such as obeying traffic signals and signs, using marked crosswalks, and not walking on areas of a road or highway where pedestrians are not permitted. A pedestrian who violates any of these rules and is injured in an accident may be found partially at fault.

In a pure comparative negligence state like New York, this means that the plaintiff’s degree of fault will determine the amount of damages he or she can recover. As an example, if a jaywalking pedestrian is struck by a speeding driver, the court or a claims adjuster may determine that the pedestrian was 40 percent at fault for the accident, while the reckless driver was 60 percent at fault.

If the pedestrian sustained $100,000 in injuries, the damages would be reduced by 40 percent (or $40,000), and the injury victim would be awarded $60,000. If the speeding driver was also driving under the influence, punitive damages may also be awarded. Such damages are intended to punish the driver’s egregious behavior as well as to deter others from drinking and driving.

On the other hand, if a pedestrian crosses an intersection where “no crossing” signs are posted and the pedestrian is struck by a driver who did not violate any traffic laws, the court may determine that the pedestrian is 95 percent at fault. Nonetheless, it is still possible for the injured pedestrian to recover damages. Using the figures cited above, the amount of damages would be reduced by 95 percent to $5,000.

Determining Fault for a Pedestrian Accident

As you can see, determining who is at fault in a pedestrian accident is critical in determining the amount of compensation that may be awarded. It is likely that a pedestrian who fails to obey traffic laws or who was not aware of his or her surroundings — either because they were listening to music on their phone with earbuds or texting — will be assigned a portion of the fault. With this in mind, the surest way for pedestrian accident victims to obtain the maximum compensation they deserve is by enlisting the services of experienced personal injury attorneys. Contact NYC personal injury attorneys, Scaffidi & Associates, today.

Posted in: Personal Injury Law


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