Close calls between vehicles and pedestrian crossing them

Unexpected Catastrophe: What Happens if You Hit a Pedestrian Jaywalking?

What happens if you hit a pedestrian jaywalking?


Navigating the bustling streets, it’s not uncommon to witness or experience close calls between vehicles and the pedestrians crossing them. Often, these near misses involve a pedestrian darting across the street away from designated crosswalks, an act commonly referred to as ‘jaywalking’. But what happens if you hit a pedestrian jaywalking? The consequences of hitting a pedestrian jaywalking a designated crosswalk are multi-faceted, encompassing legal, emotional, and ethical dimensions.

In this article, we’ll delve into the intricate interplay of responsibility between a pedestrian crossing irresponsibly and a driver who might not have been expecting them, aiming to shed light on the potential ramifications, the process of determining fault, and the steps one should take in the aftermath of such an unfortunate event.

Can a Pedestrian Get a Settlement in an Accident?

Yes, a pedestrian can receive a settlement if hit by a vehicle, but the amount and likelihood depend on various factors like who was at fault, the severity of injuries, and local laws. Settlements can cover medical bills, lost wages, and more. However, if the fault determines the injured pedestrian recovers compensation or is partly to blame, the settlement amount could be reduced. Consulting an attorney is usually advisable to navigate these complexities.

What Happens if You Hit a Pedestrian Jaywalking?

Ignoring traffic signals could be deemed negligence

When a car accident involving a jaywalking pedestrian occurs, the situation becomes complex for both the driver and the pedestrian. Unlike two-vehicle accidents, a pedestrian walks a car versus a pedestrian jaywalked accident brings a different set of traffic laws into play, complicating who is at fault for the accident.

Immediate Consequences:

  • Emergency Services: Generally speaking, the first step involves calling emergency services to treat any serious injuries.

  • Accident Report: Law enforcement will generally file an accident report, which can be crucial in any subsequent legal claim.

  • Car Insurance Company: The driver will need to report the incident to their car insurance company, which might cover some costs depending on the driver’s liability coverage.

Determining Fault:

  • Traffic Signals and Rules: If a pedestrian fails to obey traffic signals or walks outside a designated crosswalk, their own safety is compromised, and they may be considered negligent.

  • Driver’s Conduct: Factors like distracted driving, failure to obey traffic lights, or any other traffic rule violations also play a significant role in determining fault.

  • Legal Concepts: Terms like pure comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence, and contributory negligence come into play in deciding how an injured pedestrian recovers compensation.

Legal and Financial Ramifications:

  • Criminal Charges: Depending on the severity of the accident injuries, and if the violation of traffic laws results in serious injury or death, a driver might incur criminal charges such as vehicular manslaughter.

  • Financial Recovery: The fault threshold and the injured person’s share of the blame can affect their financial recovery. This might involve car insurance policy coverage limits and possibly even the pedestrian’s own health insurance policy.

  • Legal Claim: Both the driver and the injured pedestrian may need an experienced attorney to navigate the legal complexities, especially if the accident injuries are severe.

Long-Term Consequences:

  • Medical Bills: Both parties may face substantial medical bills, especially if the accident resulted in serious injuries.

  • Insurance Premiums: Both the driver’s and possibly even the injured person’s insurance premiums could rise.

  • Psychological Impact: The emotional toll can be significant for both parties, affecting their perception and comfort with road safety long after the accident occurred.

Navigating accidents involving jaywalking pedestrians is complex. Both parties have safety duties and must know traffic laws. Legal advice is crucial for simplifying this process.

Click here to understand “How is Personal Injury Compensation Calculated?”

Pedestrian Jaywalking Hit by Car, Who is at Fault

Both the driver and the pedestrian face complexities when a car accident involves someone jaywalking.

In incidents where a pedestrian is accidentally hit by a car while jaywalking, determining fault isn’t always straightforward and hinges on the specific details of the car versus pedestrian accident, and the applicable state laws. Contrary to popular belief, the driver isn’t always to blame. Several factors come into play:

  • Jaywalking: Pedestrians are expected to use designated crosswalks, especially when traffic signals are operational. Should an accident occur while they are not using these crosswalks, they might be deemed negligent.

  • Insurance States: The type of insurance state—no-fault or fault—also influences the outcome. In no-fault states, the car insurance policy of either the pedestrian or the driver covers the pedestrian’s injuries, regardless of who was at fault, through the “personal injury protection” (PIP) clause. In contrast, in fault states, pedestrians can only seek damages from the driver if the driver is proven to be at fault.

  • Pedestrian Right-of-Way: While pedestrians typically have the right-of-way in crosswalks and intersections, they still have a responsibility to act with reasonable care for their own safety.

Given the intricacies involved in determining who other at-fault parties are in pedestrian jaywalking accident incidents, seeking guidance from a legal expert is highly recommended to clarify liability and explore available legal avenues.

When Does a Driver Face Criminal Liability for Hitting a Pedestrian?

Driver Face Criminal Liability for Hitting a Pedestrian

When a driver hits a pedestrian, the specter of criminal liability can loom large, but it’s not automatic. Circumstances surrounding the incident are pivotal in determining whether criminal charges are warranted. Here are some key factors:

Illegal Behavior:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Excessive speeding

  • Running a red light

Severity of the Outcome:

  • Serious injury or death of the pedestrian can elevate the incident to vehicular manslaughter or even homicide charges.

Gross Negligence:

Civil vs. Criminal Liability:

  • Even if acquitted in criminal court, a driver can still face civil liability for damages.

Given the severe consequences involved, both legally and ethically other at-fault parties, for the accident, it’s essential for drivers to strictly adhere to traffic laws and exercise the utmost caution. Consulting legal experts is advisable when such unfortunate incidents occur, to navigate the complexities of potential criminal charges.

Determining Fault When a Pedestrian Is Hit by a Car

Determining who is at fault when a pedestrian or injured party is hit by a car can be a complicated affair, requiring a meticulous review of evidence and circumstances surrounding the accident. While the immediate assumption might be that the driver is at fault, especially if the pedestrian or injured person was in a crosswalk, this is not always the case.

Driver’s Liability:

  • More often, the driver is found at fault if the pedestrian was within a crosswalk or not actually on the roadway.

Pedestrian’s Liability:

  • If the pedestrian was jaywalking, particularly from between parked cars, and the driver had no way to avoid the collision, the pedestrian may be found at fault.

  • Additional scenarios include the pedestrian being under the influence, distracted, or failing to use designated crosswalks.

Shared Liability:

  • There can be situations where both the driver and the pedestrian share the fault. This might come into play in states with “comparative negligence” laws.

Failure to Exercise Care:

  • If the pedestrian did not act with reasonable care and this lack of care led to the accident, they can be deemed at fault.

Legal Counsel:

  • If injured in a pedestrian versus vehicle accident, consulting with a car accident attorney is advisable for handling the investigation and insurance claims.

Fault is not a black-and-white issue and often involves a grey area that takes into account various factors from both parties involved in two vehicle accidents. Therefore, seeking professional legal advice is strongly recommended to protect pedestrians navigate the complexities of fault and insurance claims in pedestrian-car accidents.

What Damages Can You Sue for in a Pedestrian Accident?

The impact on a pedestrian's life and injuries can be severe.

In cases where a pedestrian is hit by a car and the driver is at fault for underlying accident, the injured who hit a pedestrian has the option to sue for a range of damages. These can vary significantly depending on jurisdictional laws and the unique circumstances surrounding the accident.

Common Damages in Pedestrian Accidents:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation can be sought for medical bills incurred due to injuries from the accident.

  • Lost Wages: If injuries prevent the pedestrian from working, they may claim compensation for lost income, which can include salary, benefits, bonuses, and tips.

  • Pain and Suffering: Damages can be claimed for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental suffering incurred because of the accident.

  • Property Damage: If personal belongings like clothing are damaged, the pedestrian may recover costs for these items.

  • Loss of Consortium: In some scenarios, if the injuries adversely affect the pedestrian’s relationship with their spouse or family, damages for loss of consortium may also be pursued.

Damages after hitting a pedestrian vary based on negligence, injury severity, life impact, and local laws. Consulting a lawyer is advised for specific guidance.

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim After a Pedestrian Accident?

After a pedestrian or car accident occurs, there are specific time limits within which you must file a claim, and these limits can vary based on the state and nature of the claim. Here’s a concise breakdown:

  • Immediate Action: Generally, you should file an insurance claim shortly after the accident, preferably within 30 days.

  • Statute of Limitations: If you’re considering a lawsuit, the timeframe is typically longer. For instance, in New York City, a pedestrian hit by a privately-owned vehicle has up to three years to initiate a lawsuit.

  • Varied Timeframes: The time limit for filing personal injury or property damage claims can range between one to six years post-accident, depending on the state’s laws.

It’s crucial to act within these limits. Delaying the filing process can hinder evidence collection and jeopardize your ability to present a strong case in court.


Hitting a pedestrian who is jaywalking can open up a complex web of legal and insurance-related challenges. While many might assume that the pedestrian is always at fault when a jaywalking accident, the reality is more nuanced. Both the driver and the jaywalking pedestrian have a duty of care on the road, and the allocation of fault can depend on multiple variables including state laws, the circumstances of the accident, and the actions of both parties involved.

Navigating this complicated situation necessitates specialized knowledge, which is where the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn, P.A., also known as Hire Jared, can be invaluable. With extensive experience in handling serious pedestrian traffic and accidents involving pedestrians, our team can guide you through the process, from filing timely claims to gathering crucial evidence and expert testimonies. Remember, time is of the essence both in filing claims at-fault parties and in gathering evidence, so contacting a legal expert like Jared Spingarn can be a crucial first step in safeguarding your interests.

Similar Posts