Can Pedestrians Hit While Jaywalking Sue for Damages?

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Can Pedestrians Hit While Jaywalking Sue for Damages?

jaywalkers sue for damages

Yes – in some circumstances. If you’re injured while illegally crossing the street you will undoubtably share some or potentially all of the blame for your own injuries, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the driver of the vehicle that hit you did nothing wrong.

Any person who gets behind the wheel has a duty of care they must uphold. When a vehicle hits a pedestrian – even one who is illegally in the road – there’s a chance that duty of care was breached in some way.

It’s easier to collect damages for jaywalking injuries in Florida than it is in a lot of other states thanks to pure comparative negligence laws.

Many states maintain modified comparative negligence doctrines, which means you can’t recover any damages if you’re found to be mostly at fault for your own injuries. Florida’s pure comparative fault system allows injured people to be mostly at fault and still collect some damages.

Pure comparative negligence means whatever damages are awarded at trial would be reduced by your percentage of culpability. If the jury on a jaywalking injury case decides the jaywalker is 70 percent at fault and the driver is 30 percent at fault, the jaywalker would receive 30 percent of whatever compensation the jury awards.

Assumptions May Be Against You

A case involving a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle while legally crossing the street in a crosswalk is generally straightforward. In nearly every circumstance the driver would be considered negligent.

If a pedestrian is illegally in the street when they are hit by a vehicle, the assumption of negligence will be directed towards the pedestrian. Responding law enforcement will investigate the scene of the accident but they may not find any obvious evidence that the driver was doing anything wrong.

There could be a situation where responding law enforcement suspect the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. If it turns out the driver who hit the jaywalker was drunk at the time of the accident, the jaywalker may have a better chance for monetary recovery during claim negotiations or at trial. If an intoxicated driver hits a pedestrian, even one who is crossing the street illegally, that pedestrian could potentially be entitled to punitive damages.

Proving a Personal Injury Case

Every plaintiff in a personal injury case, whether it’s a slip and fall in a store or an auto accident injury, must prove:

  • The person who caused their injury owed them a duty of care
  • The person who caused the injury breached that duty of care (acted negligently)
  • The negligent actions caused the injury
  • The injury resulted in damages that cost the injured person money (medical bills, property damage or lost wages) or caused emotional/psychological trauma (pain and suffering) of some kind

Proof of negligence can be a bit harder to come by in a jaywalking injury case. The defense may argue the driver wasn’t expecting a person to be in the road, they didn’t have time to react and therefore didn’t breach their duty of care.

That doesn’t mean a driver can get away with intentionally hitting jaywalkers.

Anyone operating a vehicle has a duty to be prudent and reasonable. That includes keeping their eyes on the road for potential obstructions or people. Every driver is also required to avoid causing property damage or injuries with their vehicle.

Any driver who can avoid hitting a pedestrian, regardless of the pedestrian’s location, needs to do so. Failing to avoid hitting a jaywalker when avoiding them is possible is negligent.

If you’re hit by a vehicle while crossing the street illegally, the extent to which the driver breached their inherent duty as a motorist will depend on the specifics of your case. It’s possible they should be held liable for your bodily injuries and medical costs, at least to some degree.

Finding an Attorney in Florida to Represent You

Negotiating with the insurance company and potentially even taking your case to trial will be a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. Some car crash lawyers may be uninterested in taking your case because your damages will be too low to justify the investment of time.

Whether or not your case is attractive to auto accident attorneys will depend on the available damages and your chance for success. If your injuries are serious or there are other circumstances that implicate the driver in illegal activity your chance of finding an attorney to take your case will likely increase.

If you believe the driver who hit you was acting recklessly or driving illegally and they’re getting let off the hook just because you were jaywalking, it may be in your interest to speak with a lawyer.

There’s no guarantee the Florida car accident lawyers you contact will take your case or that you’ll win, but you lose nothing by scheduling free consultations.