Can I Still Sue for a Pedestrian Accident if I Was Jaywalking?

Pedestrian accidents in Manhattan are all too common and often result in severe injuries for the victim– who is no match for 5,000 pounds of steel. While it’s easy to assume the driver of the car is always to blame in these accidents, there are times when a pedestrian may be partially at fault. An individual who is violating traffic rules at the time of an accident is a prime example. Can a person who is jaywalking sue the driver who struck them? The short answer is yes, but the legal compensation may be limited.

Whatever the circumstances of the accident, it’s best to consult with New York City personal injury lawyers about legal options for recovery.

Can a pedestrian who was jaywalking still sue?

If a pedestrian crosses a road illegally, and their actions contribute to an accident with a motor vehicle, they will assume some liability for the incident. New York is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that injury victims whose own actions contributed to the accident can still pursue legal compensation. However, their monetary recovery is reduced by their percentage of assigned fault.

For example, let’s say the accident resulted in $50,000 worth of damages, but the pedestrian is determined to be 60 percent at fault, and the motorist 40 percent to blame. In this scenario, the pedestrian would be entitled to $20,000.

Unlike other states that adhere to contributory negligence laws, New York makes it easier for pedestrians to sue for their injuries, even if they were jaywalking, and deemed to be 95 percent to blame for the knock-down.

Determining fault for pedestrian accidents

While New York laws are more favorable for accident victims, there is still the issue of demonstrating the percentage of fault in these cases. The defense will attempt to limit liability by showing that the jaywalker was distracted, ignored crosswalk signs, and, therefore, negligent. The only way to prove what happened, and which parties violated traffic rules or rights of way is to retain New York City pedestrian accident lawyers who are savvy with local laws and leverage a strong track record of success.

At Douglas & London, our attorneys conduct in-depth investigations to help our clients maximize their personal injury settlement. Evidence may include eyewitness testimony, traffic camera footage, cell phone records, and police reports. We examine all channels of legal recovery, which may include the pedestrian’s own PIP coverage, or that of the driver.

If the damages exceed the policy coverage limits, or the pedestrian suffered catastrophic harm that meets the “serious injury” threshold, individuals may be able to sue for additional compensation to account for pain, suffering, and non-economic losses.

If a jaywalking pedestrian is struck by a motorist, liability may be shared if:

  • The driver was intoxicated or impaired by drugs
  • The driver was texting or otherwise distracted
  • The driver ran a stoplight or other traffic signal
  • The driver was speeding
  • The driver ignored crosswalk signs

Contact us for a free consultation

As with any accident resulting in bodily injury, it’s crucial to align yourself with an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your rights given the circumstances. If you were injured while jaywalking, we encourage you to reach out to Douglas & London to schedule a complimentary case review. Our legal team works on a contingency-fee-basis and offers high-caliber representation with no upfront costs.