Ralph A. Schwartz, P.C.

Do injured jaywalkers have a case?

If pedestrians lawfully crossed the road, then it stands to reason that they have a good chance of winning a lawsuit if a car hit and injured them while they crossed. However, what about jaywalkers, these people who violate Nevada statutes governing crossing at a designated crosswalk and at a traffic signal, among others? 

In many situations, these jaywalkers have a case and can get the compensation they need. This is because drivers are still responsible for driving safely.

Why a driver would not see a pedestrian

Suppose Pedestrian Joe sees a car coming and calculates he can cross the street without it hitting him. Except - the car hits him. It is a clear day, and there seems to be no reason the driver would not have seen Joe and slowed down or stopped.

So, what are the reasons a driver might not see a pedestrian even if the outside conditions are ideal? They include the driver speeding, being under the influence or chatting on his cellphone (being distracted). Alternatively, it could be that the driver was sleepy.

If you have sustained an injury while jaywalking, it can be a good idea to consult with a lawyer even if you believe you are more responsible for the accident than the driver is. A lawyer might be able to see the case differently.

Modified comparative fault

In Nevada, if a jury finds that the jaywalker is at least 51 percent responsible for the accident, he or she cannot recover anything. On the other hand, if a jury finds that he or she is less responsible for the accident than the driver, then there is likely a case for compensation. The less at fault the jaywalker is, the greater the compensation he or she is eligible for. Say that Driver Jason hits Pedestrian Joe. The jury determines that Joe's total damages are $200,000 and that Jason is 75 percent at fault. Joe would get 75 percent of $200,000, which is $150,000. If the jury found Jason to be 55 percent at fault, the amount awarded would be less at $110,000.

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