Jaywalking, crossing the street at any area other than the designated crosswalk, is not legal in New York City. It was first outlawed in 1958 and initially, the number of accidental pedestrian deaths dropped. Today, New York’s jaywalking law is rarely enforced and pedestrians can be seen crossing roadways in the middle of city blocks frequently, putting themselves at risk of injury and a $250 fine if they are ticketed for the offense.

It can be easy to assume that when a jaywalking accident occurs, the pedestrian is the negligent party and thus, liable for any victims’ damages. However, pedestrians generally have the right of way when crossing the street and often, car accident cases are not always straightforward. More than one party may be deemed to be at fault and sometimes, even the negligent parties can recover some compensation for their damages.

Factors Used to Determine Negligence in a Jaywalking Case

In New York, an injured victim can recover compensation for his or her damages even if he or she is 99 percent at fault for the accident. However, the amount of compensation the victim can recover is reduced according to his or her level of fault.

All parties have the duty to take care to protect others from accidental harm. For pedestrians, this means using crosswalks and making themselves visible to drivers. For drivers, this means giving pedestrians the right of way and obeying posted traffic laws.

To determine negligence in a jaywalking case, both parties’ acts of negligence are considered. For example, although a pedestrian was jaywalking, the driver who hit him or her might have been text messaging or speeding. In this case, both parties are somewhat at fault for the accident.

How Does a Victim’s Pain Factor Into Determining Negligence?

The victim’s pain from the injury does not play a role in determining his or her level of negligence, but it can be considered when determining a fair compensation settlement for him or her. Personal injury compensation is divided into two categories:

  • Special damages. These are the tangible expenses that have specific dollar amounts, like the victim’s medical bills and lost wages; and
  • General damages. These are damages like reduced quality of life, physical pain, and a reduced capacity to work and engage in other activities because of the injury.

Evidence is needed to demonstrate the victim’s need for compensation in both categories. To demonstrate his or her physical pain, the victim can provide scripts for pain medication, therapies he or she has received to reduce pain, testimonies from loved ones, and testimony from his or her doctor discussing the expected pain level and length of time it is expected to persist for his or her injury.

Work with an Experienced Bronx Auto Accident Lawyer

Do not assume that because you were jaywalking when your accident occurred that you cannot recover compensation for your damages. You can file a personal injury claim and potentially receive compensation for your medical bills and other expenses. To learn more, contact a Bronx wrongful death attorney or personal injury lawyer at Grant & Longworth, Attorneys at Law, to discuss your case in greater detail during your initial consultation.