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If You Hit Someone Jaywalking, Who Is At Fault in New York?

Navigating the Gray Areas: Fault and Responsibility in Pedestrian-Vehicle Incidents in New York


New York is a busy place with lots of people. Here more than some other places, pedestrians and vehicles share the road, and accidents are not uncommon. A particularly contentious scenario arises when a vehicle hits a pedestrian who is jaywalking. Understanding the nuances of fault and liability in these situations is crucial for both drivers and pedestrians. Here, we delve into the complexities of New York law to shed light on this matter.


Understanding Jaywalking in New York


Jaywalking refers to the act of crossing the street outside of designated crosswalks or against traffic signals. While commonly practiced, it is technically a violation of traffic rules. However, the occurrence of an accident under such circumstances does not automatically place the blame on the pedestrian.


New York's Comparative Negligence Law


New York operates under a comparative negligence system. This means that in the event of an accident, the fault can be shared between the driver and the pedestrian. The degree of fault assigned to each party can vary depending on the specific details of the incident.


For drivers, the law mandates a duty of care towards pedestrians. Even if a pedestrian is found to be jaywalking, drivers are still required to exercise reasonable care to avoid hitting them. This includes being vigilant, slowing down in crowded areas, and yielding the way when necessary to prevent harm.

Conversely, pedestrians are expected to adhere to traffic signals and use crosswalks where available. When a pedestrian decides to jaywalk, they are taking a calculated risk. However, if an accident occurs, the pedestrian's actions will be scrutinized to determine their share of fault.


Determining Fault in Jaywalking Incidents


So, if you hit a jaywalker who is at fault? The determination of fault in jaywalking incidents is highly fact-specific. Several factors come into play, including:

  • Visibility: Was the pedestrian visible to the driver?

  • Driver Behavior: Was the driver speeding, distracted, or otherwise negligent?

  • Pedestrian Behavior: Was the pedestrian acting recklessly or unpredictably?

  • Traffic Conditions: Were there any extenuating circumstances that influenced the incident?


In New York, if a pedestrian is found partially at fault due to jaywalking, their compensation for damages may be reduced proportionately to their degree of fault. For example, if a pedestrian is deemed 30% at fault for an accident, their recoverable damages would be reduced by 30%.


What to Do After an Accident Involving a Jaywalker


  • Safety First: Ensure the safety of all parties involved and call emergency services if necessary.

  • Document the Scene: Take photos, gather witness statements, and document the conditions of the road, traffic signals, and any relevant signs.

  • Report the Incident: Report the accident to the police and your insurance company, providing a factual account of what occurred.

  • Seek Legal Advice: Consider consulting with a personal injury law firm like Curan & Ahlers to understand your rights and obligations. An experienced attorney can help navigate the complexities of your case and work towards a fair resolution.


Curan & Ahlers: New York Personal Injury Attorneys


In conclusion, accidents involving jaywalking pedestrians present complex legal challenges in New York. Both drivers and pedestrians should exercise caution and respect for traffic laws to minimize the risk of accidents. If you find yourself involved in such an incident, seeking professional legal guidance can provide clarity and support through the legal process. Remember, each case is unique, and the determination of fault will depend on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the accident.


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