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Posted in New York Law on October 5, 2022
If you’ve ever walked on an empty street with ample space between crosswalks, you’ve probably been tempted to save some time and cross before the crosswalk. While this little transgression may seem harmless, it’s riskier than you might think.
Whether you’re in Brooklyn or Los Angeles, jaywalking is a crime, one for which you can be ticketed. But what if no one is around?
Jaywalking is when a pedestrian crosses the street without using a designated crosswalk. The seemingly innocuous act is illegal in all 50 states and carries varying penalties.
Although Section 1152 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Laws specifically classifies jaywalking as a crime, it’s still an extremely common occurrence. Many people assume that jaywalking is a harmless crime, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Pedestrians are required by law to obey all pedestrian traffic lights regardless of traffic conditions. For example, if the light is red, a pedestrian must wait until it turns green before crossing the street. This applies regardless of whether the road is empty.
Just because a road appears empty doesn’t mean that it is. A driver could be speeding through, or there could be some other hazard present that could potentially maim or kill a pedestrian.
New York law gives pedestrians the right of way in all crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked. Despite this, they’re still expected to yield to all traffic signals. If a pedestrian crosses an intersection displaying a “stop” signal, they have just jay-walked and could receive a ticket.
Unfortunately, accidents involving pedestrians have a high fatality rate. Even if no one is killed, survivors are often left with serious life-changing injuries that could have been avoided if they had simply obeyed established pedestrian regulations.
Consider your own experiences. How many times have you seen drivers run red lights? What about a driver appearing out of nowhere to make a decisive left turn through an otherwise empty intersection?
Now imagine you were standing right in front of that car. Do you think the driver would have time to stop? What might happen if they hit you with the full force of their vehicle? Sadly, the real-world implications of these scenarios are all too common.
While jaywalking may be illegal, it’s still possible for pedestrians to recover damages if they’re struck while illegally crossing the street. Whether they win in court depends on several factors that are unique to each situation.
Typically, when a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the driver of the vehicle is the one at fault. However, a pedestrian can be found responsible for an accident if they crossed the street unlawfully, and the driver who hit them did not violate any laws.
New York is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that a pedestrian could potentially be at fault for an accident and still recover compensation from a driver. The court would basically reduce compensation by the percentage of the fault each party bears.
Imagine that a pedestrian is hit by a car while jay-walking. Since the pedestrian technically broke the law, the court could assign them 25% of the fault while assigning 75% to the driver. Any amounts awarded would be reduced in accordance with those percentages.
Clearly, these are the sorts of instances where having an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner is indispensable. Contact the Law Offices of Jay S. Knipel Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
If you need legal assistance, contact the Brooklyn car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.
We have two convenient locations in New York:
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242