A jaywalker was hit by a motorcycle

Unbelievable Consequences: What Happens If You Hit a Jaywalker With Your Motorcycle?

What Happens If You Hit a Jaywalker With Your Motorcycle?


Accidents involving motorcycles and other pedestrians crossing them can be complicated, often leading to severe injuries and complex legal consequences. The question “What happens if you hit a jaywalker with your motorcycle” brings additional layers of nuance to an already complicated situation. Both parties—the motorcyclist and the pedestrian—might find themselves navigating through a maze of legal, ethical, and emotional dilemmas.

The uncertainties that arise from such an unfortunate event emphasize the importance of understanding one’s responsibilities and rights on the road. This article aims to shed light on this specific scenario, discussing everything from the initial steps to take immediately after the accident, to the legal intricacies that can determine who is at fault for the accident. By understanding the complexities involved, you’ll be better equipped to handle this difficult and stressful situation should you ever find yourself in it.

Why Do People Jaywalk?

Jaywalking common despite risks to pedestrians and drivers

Jaywalking is a common practice despite the obvious risks it poses to both pedestrians and drivers. But why do people engage in this behavior? Understanding the underlying reasons can help both motorists and walkers make safer choices on the road.


  • Shorter Distance: People often jaywalk to take the most direct route to their destination, bypassing longer official crosswalks.

  • Wait Time: The impatience of waiting for a traffic light to change can encourage jaywalking.

Environmental Factors

  • Poor Infrastructure: Lack of pedestrian pathways or crosswalks can force people to jaywalk.

  • Inadequate Signage: In some cases, unclear or missing signs can lead to unintentional jaywalking.

Behavioral Factors

  • Risk-Taking: Some people have a higher tolerance for risk and may not fully consider the potential consequences.

  • Peer Pressure: Observing others jaywalking can normalize the act, making it seem less dangerous than it is.

By identifying and understanding these factors, efforts can be directed towards strategies and solutions that can reduce the instances of pedestrian jaywalking, pedestrian distracted, and pedestrian walks and, by extension, pedestrian accidents.

What Happens If You Hit a Jaywalker With Your Motorcycle?

Motorcycle hits jaywalking pedestrian, liability may vary.

In cases where a motorcycle collides with a pedestrian who is jaywalking, liability may be shared or solely attributed to the injured person’s share or to the pedestrian. Despite this, the motorcycle rider could still be accountable for the pedestrian’s bodily injury claims. Generally, both parties are at risk for injury, with the pedestrian usually sustaining serious injuries from the impact and the rider potentially being thrown off their motorcycle.

It’s essential to remember that pedestrians, like drivers, are obligated to obey traffic rules and to obey traffic signals. If the incident takes place in a no-fault insurance state, either the pedestrian’s or the rider’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will cover the injured pedestrian’s all medical bills and expenses, regardless of who was at fault.

If you strike a jaywalking pedestrian, what are the consequences? Find out on Quora—click to learn more!

First Steps After Hitting a Pedestrian While Driving

Dial 911 immediately if you've struck a pedestrian.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of hitting a pedestrian while driving, there are essential steps to follow to ensure the well-being of the injured pedestrian recover compensation for everyone involved in a traffic accident, and adhere to all traffic laws and legal protocols. Here is a detailed summary:

Immediate Actions

  • Stay Calm and Assess Injuries: The first step is to remain composed and quickly evaluate if anyone is injured.

  • Call Police: It’s imperative to report the incident to the police immediately.

  • Exchange Information: Make sure to obtain the driver’s and pedestrian’s information for future legal and insurance purposes.

  • Gather Evidence: Take photographs of the accident scene, any damages, and any road signs or signals that could be relevant.

  • Medical Assistance: Seek immediate medical attention for anyone who needs it, even for minor injuries.

  • Witness Accounts: Collect statements or contact information from any witnesses at the scene.

Legal and Insurance Obligations

  • Contact Authorities: If there are any injuries, even minor ones, you are likely required to report the accident to local law enforcement and your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • Insurance Reporting: Notify your car insurance company about the accident to initiate the claims process.

Special Circumstances

  • Hit and Run: If for some reason you did not stop at the scene, it’s crucial to consult a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Hit-and-run is a criminal offense in every state, and failing to stop could severely worsen your legal situation.

Understanding and following these steps can help minimize harm to the injured person’s negligence, and streamline the legal and insurance processes that follow. Discover methods for ensuring pedestrian safety by accessing our full article. Click here to read more.

Fault When A Motorcycle Hits A Pedestrian

Crosswalk use and signals affect fault determination

Determining fault when a motorcycle hits a pedestrian, especially a jaywalking pedestrian, is a complex issue that involves many variables. These variables often affect whether an injured or killed pedestrian recovers compensation, the fault determines the extent of the driver’s liability coverage, and even the possibility of criminal charges like vehicular manslaughter. Understanding what happens if you hit a pedestrian or jaywalker with your motorcycle is critical for both the motorcycle rider and the pedestrian involved.

Traffic Laws and Rules

  • Obeying Traffic Signals: Whether the pedestrian was in a designated crosswalk and adhering to traffic signals can significantly affect fault determination.

  • Motorcycle Losing Control: If the motorcycle rider was speeding or otherwise violating traffic rules, they could be held responsible for the accident.

Type of Accident and Injuries

  • Traumatic Brain Injury or Spinal Cord Injury: The severity of the injuries, like a traumatic brain injury, could affect liability and compensation.

  • Pedestrian’s Injuries: The extent of the pedestrian’s injuries also plays a role in how fault is determined and what kind of compensation may be given.

Brain injury impacts liability and compensation.

Legal Aspects

  • Experienced Attorney: Consulting a motorcycle accident lawyer is crucial for understanding the nuances of a motorcycle-pedestrian accident.

  • Insurance Company: Both parties’ insurance companies will also be deeply involved in determining fault, often through their own investigations.

Special Situations

  • Oncoming Traffic: The presence of oncoming traffic at the time the accident occurs can complicate fault determination.

Understanding these variables can help both accident victims and legal practitioners navigate the complex realm of fault determination in motorcycle-pedestrian accidents. It’s not simply a matter of “who hit whom,” but rather a layered issue involving protocol and safety signals accident injuries, personal injury cases, and sometimes even criminal charges. Therefore, securing a police report, knowing your car insurance policy, and consulting with experienced attorneys are vital steps in the aftermath of such an accident.

Comparative Negligence vs. Contributory Negligence

Comparative negligence adjusts damages based on each party's fault.

Comparative negligence and contributory negligence are both used to assess fault in personal injury cases, but they function differently:

Comparative Negligence:

  • Determines the degree of fault for both the injured party and the defendant and adjusts damages accordingly.

  • The injured party can still recover damages even if they played a role in the accident.

  • Fault is assigned as a percentage to all involved parties.

  • There are two main types:

Pure Comparative Negligence: Allows the injured party to claim damages proportionate to their own fault threshold non-fault percentage shared fault, even if they were majorly at fault for a car accident.

Modified Comparative Negligence: Caps the injured party’s ability to claim damages if they or other at-fault parties are held liable or either 50% (or 51% in some jurisdictions) at fault for the accident.

Contributory Negligence:

  • If the injured party is found to have any fault in the accident, they are barred from receiving damages.

  • This approach is more absolute and can be seen as an all-or-nothing system. For example, in Maryland, if plaintiffs contribute in any way to the accident, they cannot claim damages.

  • Many states are shifting from contributory negligence to comparative negligence due to its strict nature.

How a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help With Pure Comparative Negligence Law

Lawyer & Pedestrian Comparative Negligence

A pedestrian traffic accident lawyer can play a critical role in cases involving pure comparative negligence law and serious injury, particularly in states like New York where this law is applicable.

Key Roles of a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer:

  • Building a Strong Case: One of the primary functions of a pedestrian accident lawyer is to help gather relevant evidence and construct a compelling case. This helps to demonstrate the extent of the defendant’s negligence, as well as the extent and impact of the plaintiff’s injuries.

  • Negotiating Fair Compensation: A skilled lawyer can negotiate effectively with the defendant’s insurance company. This is crucial for ensuring that the plaintiff receives fair compensation for their injuries, even if they were partially at fault in the accident.

  • Clarifying Legal Complexities: Pure comparative negligence law can be complicated. A lawyer can clarify these complexities, helping the plaintiff understand their legal rights and available options.

  • Court Representation: If the case progresses to court, a lawyer can serve as the plaintiff’s representative, arguing the case in front of a judge or jury to seek a favorable outcome.

New York’s Pure Comparative Negligence Law:

  • In New York, this specific type of negligence law allows plaintiffs to seek financial compensation even if they share some of the blame for the accident.

  • Under this system, the amount of compensation a plaintiff can recover is reduced in proportion to their share of negligence, as determined by the jury.

Pedestrian lawyer assists with comparative negligence, especially in states like New York.

Insurance Implications

Pedestrian hit by motorcycle can file insurance claim

If a pedestrian is hit by a motorcycle, they typically have the option to file an insurance claim against one or more insurance policies. The financial repercussions of a motorcycle accident can be similar to those of car accidents, impacting the cost of auto insurance. Several factors, such as driving history, the insurance provider, and other circumstances, influence whether and how much the car insurance rates may increase.

Insurance Impact on Vehicles Involved:

  • Usually, the insurance policy covering the vehicle involved in the accident will see a rate increase.

  • The impact on auto policies can vary: the motorcycle insurance policy could either influence the auto policy or be separate from it, depending on the specific conditions of the policies in question.

Types of Coverage:

  • Collision insurance specifically covers the damage to both the motorcycle and the pedestrian’s or another party’s vehicle if the accident was a result of the rider’s negligence.

The summary suggests that both pedestrians and riders should be well-versed in how their respective insurance policies work, especially for motorcycle accidents to protect pedestrians, considering that insurance rates may be affected by such incidents.

Will You Go to Jail if You Hit a Jaywalker?

Jail for Hitting a Jaywalker?

The question of whether you’ll go to jail if you hit a jaywalker is not straightforward and depends on a variety of factors including the specific circumstances of the accident, your actions before, during, and after the incident, and the traffic laws, of the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Generally speaking, hitting a jaywalker might not automatically lead to jail time, especially if the pedestrian was clearly violating other traffic or pedestrian violating laws or rules or laws. However, if you were speeding, intoxicated, or fled the scene after hitting the jaywalker, you could face criminal charges that might include jail time.

It’s also crucial how you respond immediately after the accident: failing to stop and render aid or not reporting the accident to the police could potentially lead to hit-and-run charges, which are criminal offenses that can result in imprisonment. Therefore, while a car versus pedestrian accident or hitting a pedestrian crossing a jaywalker doesn’t guarantee that you’ll go to jail, certain actions and circumstances can certainly escalate the situation to a criminal level. Consulting with an experienced attorney is advised to understand the legal repercussions of a car accident fully.


If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of hitting a jaywalker while riding your motorcycle, remember that both parties could share legal responsibility under comparative or contributory negligence laws. It’s crucial to stay at the scene, report the incident, and seek medical help for any injuries. Legal complexities often arise in such situations, making expert legal counsel essential. The Law Offices of Jared Spingarn, P.A., also known as “Hire Jared,” can guide you through the legal maze, ensuring that your rights are protected and helping you navigate any potential consequences.

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