Who is Liable in a Jaywalking Accident?

Posted on 09/20/21

It’s not uncommon to hear people talking about how dangerous cars are and how careful drivers need to be. While this is absolutely true, it’s also essential to remember that pedestrians also need to be careful and make sure they’re following all of the rules. If a car hits a pedestrian, but the pedestrian was crossing in the wrong place or at the wrong time, it can be challenging to determine who is responsible.

Who Was Negligent?

When there is a jaywalking accident, one of the first issues to determine is who was the negligent party. If the pedestrian was jaywalking – they crossed the street in the wrong place – they are being negligent by failing to follow the rules of the road and cross at the appropriate crosswalk. What if the driver who hits the jaywalker was driving over the speed limit or they were distracted by their phone? In this circumstance, both the driver and the jaywalker can be responsible for the accident. It’s not always this easy to determine, though.  

Determining Fault

While it’s easy to say that whichever party was negligent is responsible for the accident, it can often be challenging to determine the true liability of each party. When a pedestrian fails to use a crosswalk to cross the street, it’s relatively simple to say that they were negligent. So how do you determine if the vehicle that hit the pedestrian was also negligent? This is an issue that an experienced lawyer will assist with. They can help make this determination by taking the following steps:

  • Reviewing the police and accident report
  • Speaking to witnesses
  • Collecting video footage from nearby houses or stores
  • Collecting video footage from dashboard cameras
  • Consulting with an accident reconstruction expert
  • Subpoenaing phone records if there’s reason to believe the driver was texting or distracted by their phone at the time of the accident 

What Happens if Both Parties are at Fault? Modified Comparative Negligence 

Connecticut personal injury claims are governed by the rule of modified comparative negligence. If you as the pedestrian or the driver file a lawsuit against the other party, and the court determines that you were 51 percent or more at fault, you won’t be able to recover any damages. If you are found to be 49 percent responsible, you can successfully recover compensation. Any compensation you’re awarded will be reduced by the percentage that you’ve been found responsible for.

For example, you are awarded $100,000. If you were found to be 49 percent at fault, you would only receive $51,000 of the $100,000 reward. 

What To Do After A Jaywalking Accident

If you’re a pedestrian involved in a jaywalking accident, don’t immediately assume you’re at fault. If you’re the driver, you also shouldn’t assume you’re at fault just because you are in a car. Regardless, there are steps everyone should take after an accident involving a jaywalker, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Call the police and make an accident report
  • Take photos of the scene
  • Take photos of your injuries
  • Seek medical attention
  • Take photos of any cars involved in the incident
  • Take notes so you remember what happened and how you were feeling right after the accident 
  • Get names and contact information for any witnesses in the area 

Contact An Experienced Attorney For Help

If you were in an accident, either as a driver or a pedestrian, and you believe you have a claim against the other party, it’s always wise to contact a lawyer right away. A Waterbury pedestrian accident attorney can help you determine if you have a valid basis for filing a suit.