Can you still pursue compensation from a driver that hits you while you're jaywalking and you are injured? You were breaking a law when jaywalking under New Jersey law, but does that affect your opportunity to seek compensation?
The short answer is: Yes, you can seek compensation; and yes, it could affect your compensation. There are some legal issues you should know and how it may or may impact any compensation you are entitled to.
Before reading ahead and before taking your own action, speak to an experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyer who can give you advice about your specific incident. Brandon J. Broderick can evaluate your case and go over the options available to you.
Jaywalking in New Jersey: What To Know
Jaywalking refers to the act of crossing the street without using a crosswalk. This is the common way to define jaywalking across the United States. If a pedestrian crosses the street at a crosswalk, but the stoplight or sign is red, this is also considered jaywalking.
Under New Jersey Statute 39:4-36, pedestrians are mandated by the law to "obey pedestrian signals and use crosswalks at signalized intersections,” and that “every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”
The laws are in place to ensure a pedestrian's personal safety as well as the safety of others, the same as motor vehicles. A police officer has the authority to stop and ticket someone who they witness jaywalking.
How Does Jaywalking Impact Your Injury Case?
Your personal negligence may have an impact on the case if you are pursuing an accident claim against a driver you believe to be at fault for an accident. Because New Jersey adheres to "modified" comparative fault standards, accident victims can still be awarded damages even if they contributed to the accident.
However, individuals who are more than 50% at fault are ineligible for compensation, and any percentage below 51% will proportionately lower the amount of damages a person is entitled to. Therefore, if a pedestrian violates New Jersey's laws against jaywalking, they could share liability. As long as they are not more than 50% liable, they can collect compensation.
The amount of compensation a pedestrian receives will be impacted by whether or not they shared some of the blame for the accident. Therefore, it's important that you seek legal assistance in the event of an accident and to determine the at-fault driver.
If a pedestrian is entitled to $100,000 in damages but is found to be 30% at fault for the collision, their losses are reduced by $30,000 ($100,000 minus $30,000).
Who's Insurance Pays in a Pedestrian Accident Resulting in Injury?
In New Jersey, accidents involving motor vehicles—including those involving pedestrians and jaywalkers—are covered by no-fault insurance. Each party's own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage under the no-fault system pays benefits for any injuries incurred in an accident. In this scenario, medical costs would be covered by the jaywalker's personal injury protection.
There are, however, some situations in which an injured pedestrian can file a personal injury lawsuit against another driver. A victim of an accident may sue the alleged at-fault driver if the victim sustained a serious injury, such as:
- Broken bones or fractures
- Permanent injuries
- Severe scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Loss of a limb(s)
Unfortunately, these injuries frequently occur in pedestrian accidents.
In order to pursue a personal injury claim against another party, the victim must demonstrate both the driver's negligence and how that negligence contributed to the victim's injuries.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney At Law, is Here To Help
Pedestrian accidents happen frequently. In many cases, it is not always evident who is at fault and who is not in an accident between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian. Both the driver and the pedestrian may have contributed in some way.
Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers have represented victims of pedestrian accidents and other forms of motor vehicle accidents for decades, and have helped them get substantial compensation.
Give us a call today, and together, we can determine what options you have and what you are entitled to.