What If a Pedestrian Causes or Contributes to an Accident?  

pedestrian almost hit by car
Posted: November 1, 2022

New York follows a “comparative fault” rule, meaning that an injured person’s own negligent behavior will not necessarily prevent them from receiving compensation for pain and suffering. New York’s comparative negligence law states that:   

“In any action to recover damages for personal injury, injury to property, or wrongful death, the culpable conduct attributable to the [plaintiff] … shall not bar recovery, but the amount of damages otherwise recoverable shall be diminished in the proportion which the culpable conduct attributable to the [plaintiff] bears to the culpable conduct which caused the damages.” 

This rule is important because sometimes those who injure others on New York roads try to blame them for their own injuries. Assuming it’s established that the injured person engaged in behavior that partially contributed to the injury, that is not a complete defense, especially where the other person also caused or contributed to the injury. Instead, the injured person’s bodily injury recovery would only be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.  

Determining Fault in a Pedestrian Accident  

Pedestrians should always follow the rules of the road. Pedestrians can, unfortunately, increase the risk of injury by:   

  • Disregarding traffic signals and signs;  
  • Walking where pedestrians are not permitted;  
  • Not checking for cars before crossing and/or jaywalking; and 
  • Failing to pay attention while walking.  

It’s possible that the driver and pedestrian are both at fault, as may be the case when someone starts crossing the street without carefully looking for oncoming traffic and is struck by a car whose driver is texting. Drivers, of course, must also comply with the rules of the road. Drivers can increase the possibility of a car crash when engaging in dangerous driving behaviors.  

Generally speaking, drivers who fail to comply with the rules of the road, resulting in injuries to a pedestrian, can be liable for their injuries even where that pedestrian also engaged in negligent behavior. A major issue will be the allocation, or division of fault, between the driver and pedestrian. This can be a factually sensitive issue that requires consideration of all circumstances. An experienced personal injury lawyer can examine the unique circumstances and try to obtain evidence pertaining to this issue.  

Injured in an Accident? Call William Mattar, P.C. 

If you were in an accident as a pedestrian, you may be looking for an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you receive maximum compensation for your injury. The experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. can review your case and help determine your options moving forward.  You can contact us 24/7 by submitting a contact form online, or by calling (844) 444-4444.   

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