Can You Sue If You Were Hit by A Car While Jaywalking in New York?
If you were hit by a car while jaywalking in New York, you may be concerned as to whether you can recover for injuries. You may also be concerned that if you were found to be partially at fault for the accident, you are excluded from financial recovery.
Under New York law, you may potentially still recover money damages even if you were jaywalking when struck by a car. Since jaywalking is illegal, a jaywalking pedestrian may be found partially responsible if a car strikes them. Nonetheless, New York law still allows victims to claim partial damages for the defendant’s share of fault, potentially allowing you to still get damages in an injury lawsuit.
If you were injured while jaywalking, call our New York car accident attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review.
How Comparative Fault Laws Affect Injury Cases for Jaywalking Pedestrians in New York
Plaintiffs can obtain financial compensation in court for their injuries even when they were partially at fault for the accident – and even when they have been found to be more at fault than the defendant. One New York appellate court held in the case of Casey v. Ross that a plaintiff’s negligence is not a bar to their recovery unless their negligence is found to be the legal cause of the accident, as opposed to a remote cause. Courts determine what percentage of fault each party bears for the accident, and award damages accordingly.
Examples of NY Cases Where Courts Awarded Jaywalking Pedestrians Damages
For example, in another New York case, a plaintiff was awarded money damages even though the jury found that he was 45% at fault for the accident. There, the plaintiff recovered even though he was not only jaywalking but intoxicated as well. The appeals court even agreed that the plaintiff should receive $3,500 more for pain and suffering over what the trial court awarded.
Still another New York appellate court awarded damages to a plaintiff who bore even more responsibility for the accident than the defendant did. In that case, the plaintiff was found to be 65% at fault and the defendant 35% at fault. Even so, the jury awarded the plaintiff $100,000 for past pain and suffering and $50,000 for such suffering in the future. Furthermore, the court even agreed with the plaintiff that such awards were inadequate, and ordered a new trial unless the defendants would agree to increase the awards to $900,000 for past suffering and $900,000 for future suffering.
Steps Your Attorneys Will Take to Strengthen Your Injury Claim
Returning to the issue of whether you can sue for injuries even if you were jaywalking at the time, the answer is yes. Your attorneys will present your case in such a way as to minimize your fault as much as possible. Ultimately, it is the court or jury who will decide your degree of fault. The question of how much fault each party shares is commonly determined by a jury. As Americans, we usually have a constitutional right to trial by jury for civil cases, unless this right is waived or taken away by a narrow set of circumstances. Your attorneys will most likely request a trial by jury in your complaint.
The case begins at the moment you are injured, and you should do your part to help the attorneys you later retain get sufficient evidence to prove the driver’s fault. As soon as you are injured, you should call the police so that they can file a report. Even if they issue a citation for jaywalking, as previously mentioned, this does not automatically defeat your claim against the defendant. Take pictures of the scene if possible and gather what evidence you can as soon as possible. Then, you should immediately retain an attorney. Personal injury cases, especially when the plaintiff is partially at fault, can be very complex. The lawyer will know what steps to take and whether your case should be taken to trial or possibly settled out of court.
Your attorney will most likely obtain your medical records information from the defendant and anyone else injured in the accident. They will do more fact finding to develop the case, such as interviewing witnesses to the accident, obtain police reports, review relevant insurance policies, and more… Your legal team may also recommend hiring expert witnesses to testify at trial, to help explain to the jury how serious your injuries and why the jury should give you a greater financial recovery than the defendant, if they award the defendant any money at all.
Handling Settlement Offers
The defendant or their insurance company may make you an offer to settle the case out of court. A good personal injury attorney will know whether you should accept the offer or continue negotiations to obtain an even better settlement. Sometimes, your attorney will advise you not to settle at all, depending on the strengths of your case. In that case, your attorney will proceed with setting the case for trial. In choosing an attorney, you should also look at how much trial experience they have and their success rate at trial. Litigating a case through trial is very different than just seeking a quick settlement, and you should choose an attorney who is not afraid to try a case and who has confidence and success in front of a judge and jury.
Call Our New York Car Accident Attorneys Today
Our Queens car accident attorneys eagerly await the opportunity to assist you – call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review.