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David G. Smith, Attorney At Law

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Representing Bay Area Clients
In Personal Injury Claims Since 1978

Can jaywalkers get compensation in car accidents?

Car accidents that involve jaywalkers can result in serious injuries. Jaywalking is a right-of-way traffic violation. Two wrongs do not make things right, but when it comes to jaywalking and motor vehicle accidents, the solution often involves comparative fault.

To avoid car accidents and maintain road safety, there are crosswalks and public access paths for pedestrians to use. Though pedestrians do bear some type of responsibility for their circumstances. The law allows the courts to use comparative negligence standards to determine liability/fault percentages.

Comparative fault basics

Victims of car accidents have the right to sue the party(ies) they believe are responsible for their trauma, which includes jaywalking pedestrians. In collisions, drivers are negligent if they fail to maintain proper control of their vehicles, even when they encounter sudden hazards unexpectedly like pedestrians who cross streets and into traffic in non-designated areas.

Using the principle of comparative negligence, the courts can determine which party is responsible for compensation. Jaywalkers who sustain injuries are eligible to file claims for compensation for their injuries and trauma. However, compensation for jaywalking personal injury claims is dependent on liability percentages in the case.

Liability determines compensation

Comparative negligence means both parties share liability. The most negligent party is responsible for compensating the other parties at their respective comparative fault levels. For example, if the courts determine that Joe Jaywalker is at least 40 percent liable for his jaywalking accident, then the max amount the higher negligent parties must pay them is 40 percent. Though Joe has a personal injury claim for $5,000, his 40 percent accident liability means he can only receive 40 percent of $5,000 or $2,000.

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