It is every driver’s nightmare—you are driving along, paying attention to the road, when suddenly a pedestrian walks right in front of you. You hit the brakes, but it is too late—you hit the pedestrian. You call 911 and check on the pedestrian, but are you going to be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries? Are you going to go to jail?
Jaywalking is illegal in New Jersey. Pedestrians are supposed to use designated crosswalks at intersections to cross the street. If there is no such crosswalk, jaywalkers may still be issued a ticket for crossing the street in the middle of a block. They should cross at intersections instead.
New Jersey follows a no-fault insurance model for motor vehicle accidents—which includes accidents involving pedestrians and jaywalkers. Under the no-fault model, each party’s own personal injury protection coverage provides benefits for any injuries that are sustained in an accident. In the present example, the jaywalker’s own personal injury protection would cover medical expenses.
However, there are exceptions that allow injured victims to step outside of the no-fault model and pursue a personal injury claim against another driver. If an injured victim has suffered certain types of injuries, the victim may file a lawsuit against the alleged at-fault driver. These injuries include:
- Fractures or broken bones
- Permanent injuries
- Serious disfigurement or scarring
- Loss of a fetus
- Loss of limb
Many of these injuries are common in pedestrian accidents.
However, to pursue a personal injury claim against someone else, the victim must prove that the driver was negligent and that the driver’s negligence was the direct cause of the victim’s injuries.
If a driver was texting and driving, was under the influence of alcohol, was speeding, or was committing some other type of traffic violation, the jaywalker may have a valid argument that the driver was responsible for his or her injuries.
However, New Jersey also considers the victim’s own negligence in a personal injury claim. Therefore, even if a driver was negligent, if the pedestrian was illegally jaywalking at the time of the accident, the pedestrian’s compensation is reduced by an amount that is proportionate to the pedestrian’s own negligence. If the pedestrian is entitled to $100,000, but is found to be 30% responsible for the accident, the pedestrian’s damages are reduced by $30,000.
An experienced New Jersey attorney is able to help with these types of claims. Whether you are the pedestrian who suffered injuries in an accident or have been accused of hitting a jaywalker, hiring an attorney should be one of the first steps you take.
If you have been involved in an accident with a pedestrian in NJ, contact our office today for legal guidance you can trust
The attorneys at Lomurro Law represent clients in both criminal and personal injury cases. We have offices in Freehold and East Brunswick for your convenience. To schedule a free consultation, call 732-482-9285 or contact us online. With more than 130 years combined experience, our attorneys provide legal guidance you can trust.