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I was hit by a vehicle while jaywalking, what do I do?

by Personal Injury Claims Blawg on June 4, 2020

In my personal injury practice, I frequently represent individuals who have been injured in pedestrian accidents. There are instances when pedestrians bear some responsibility for being struck by vehicles, such as by jaywalking. Whether an injured jaywalking pedestrian can recover damages hinges on the negligence laws of the state in which the accident occurred. Let’s take a look at the impact a pedestrian’s conduct can have on an injury claim.

Pedestrian Accidents at a Glance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 129,000 individuals are injured in pedestrian accidents each year; almost 6,000 are killed. Although all drivers have a duty not to cause injuries to others, pedestrian accidents are frequently caused by driver errors, such as:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to yield
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence

It is worth noting that pedestrians are also required to exercise due care for their own safety by obeying traffic laws. This includes waiting for the walk signal at traffic lights, using marked crosswalks, not walking alongside the road, and using a sidewalk when provided.

Don’t pedestrians always have the right of way?

While laws vary from state to state, pedestrians generally have the right-of-way when there is no traffic control signal. If it’s not working, a driver must yield right of way whether the pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk or not. This means the driver must slow down and allow the pedestrian to cross. At the same time, crossing a street or walking in the road without regard for approaching traffic, known as jaywalking, is unlawful.

Nonetheless, drivers are responsible for using caution when driving to avoid a collision with a pedestrian. They must also use a higher level of caution near schools, parks, and neighborhoods where children are known to gather. Finally, drivers must be mindful of children and adults who may not have full mental capacity, or have a disability (e.g. are using an assistive mobility device), or are likely blind or hearing impaired.

When is a pedestrian responsible for an accident?

Some states — Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia — have contributory negligence laws that bar pedestrians who are responsible for an accident in any way from recovering damages, even if the driver was speeding, impaired or driving recklessly.

The remaining states use comparative negligence that can assign some blame to the jaywalker and some blame to the driver. In a pure comparative negligence state, a pedestrian who is injured while jaywalking is partially responsible for the accident and therefore not permitted to recover from the driver. In a modified comparative negligence state, an injured pedestrian can recover damages even if he or she was jaywalking. The amount of any award will be reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to the victim by a court or an insurance adjuster.

If you’re uncertain which negligence laws your state follows, a personal injury attorney can provide you with guidance, explain all your rights, and explore your options for obtaining compensation.

What To Do After Being Hit By a Car

If you’re hit by a car, contact the police and seek medical treatment for your injuries. If you have been injured, let’s say you hit your head, don’t get up and try to move around. Let the first responders assess your injuries and transport you to the hospital if necessary.

If you are able to do so, get the name and contact information of the driver, as well as witness names and contact information, though the police will gather this information when they arrive at the scene. Also, if possible, get photos of the accident scene, your injuries, signage, and traffic lights. It may also be possible to get video surveillance footage of the scene from roads with traffic cameras or stores with security cameras.

Finally, you should follow all your doctor’s orders for medical treatment, keep all medical bills, and keep track of missed work time and other accident-related expenses. The medical record will be important evidence in your pedestrian accident claim. Once you’ve begun to recover, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in the negligence laws of your state.

The Takeaway

Let’s face it: many of us have engaged in jaywalking. Whether or not it’s a wise thing to do is the subject of another discussion. While walking alongside the road may be unavoidable at times; however, being injured while jaywalking will have an impact on the viability and value of your injury claim. The best way to protect your right to the maximum compensation you deserve is to consult with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer.A

David Jones is a founder and co-managing partner of Jones Kahan Law. Mr. Jones’ practice is heavily focused on personal injury and civil litigation. He has dedicated his career to assisting victims of injuries, taking a hands-on and personal approach to every case. He strives to treat his clients that way he would treat his family, with respect and honesty.

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

PI claims blogger at PIClaimsBlawg
Personal Injury Claims Blawg is a personal injury law blog, inviting contributions from practitioners, PI law firms and legal academics across the UK, US and beyond. The post above has been published because of the high value associated with the author's work. Contact us if you'd like to get published today.
Personal Injury Claims Blawg

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