What You Should Know About Jaywalking in New Jersey
Say you are driving within the speed limit, obeying traffic laws, and minding your own business. Then, out of nowhere, you hit a pedestrian who is illegally crossing the street. When pedestrians are involved in a car accident, it is easy to assume the driver is at fault because pedestrians will always suffer the worst injuries. However, New Jersey does not tolerate jaywalking and pedestrians who disobey street laws can be held accountable, even when they get injured in a crash.
The experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at Lynch Law Firm, PC can meet with you and discuss your particular accident and determine who was at fault. If you have a viable claim, we can discuss your legal options for pursuing compensation.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Even though jaywalking may be more convenient, it puts you at much greater risk of an accident. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 72 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred at non-intersections in 2015 (jaywalking is certainly a part of that).
In 2016, 166 pedestrians were killed on New Jersey roadways, accounting for a shocking 27 percent of motor vehicle deaths that year. The national average for the percentage of pedestrian deaths that year was just 15 percent.
The NHTSA reports that pedestrians are killed somewhere in the U.S. about every two hours and are injured about every seven minutes. The most common time for these accidents is during the early evening hours from six p.m. to nine p.m.
New Jersey Law on Jaywalking
New Jersey law specifically states that pedestrians must obey pedestrian signals and use crosswalks at designated intersections. Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to cars if they are outside of a marked or unmarked intersection. Violating these laws can cause the pedestrian to be charged with a $54 fine.
Drivers are required to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks at intersections, whether they are marked or not. An exception to this is when traffic is being regulated by police officers or traffic control signals. Drivers who violate these laws face a fine of $200 and potentially up to 15 days of community service.
The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety provides the following safety tips for pedestrians to help minimize pedestrian accidents:
- Cross at corners or marked crosswalks whenever possible
- Yield the right-of-way to vehicles if you are crossing somewhere else
- Look left, right, and then left again before crossing
- When crossing the street, watch for turning cars
- Obey all traffic signals
- When walking on the roadway, walk facing traffic
- Avoid distractions when walking
- Wear reflective clothing when walking at night
- Avoid drinking before walking
New Jersey Comparative Negligence Law
New Jersey uses a comparative negligence structure when more than one party’s negligence resulted in harm. Under this system, the claims adjuster, judge or jury assigns a percentage of fault to each party that contributed to the accident. If the victim was more responsible for the accident than the other party, he or she will not be able to pursue compensation. If the victim was less responsible than the other party, he or she can pursue compensation, but the award will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
This law can have a significant impact on jaywalking accidents. If the decision maker decides that you were more at-fault for the accident, you will not be able to recover any damages. For example, if the jury finds that the jaywalking pedestrian was 40 percent at-fault for the accident and you were 60 percent at fault because you were speeding, you cannot recover compensation from the negligent jaywalker. If the percentages were reversed, you could pursue compensation, but any award you received would be reduced by 40 percent.
Seek Legal Help from an Experienced Lawyer
If you were injured in an accident caused by a jaywalking pedestrian or were a pedestrian and got hit by a car, it is important that you seek skilled legal assistance. The New Jersey car accident attorneys at Lynch Law Firm, PC understand the complications often involved in pedestrian accidents and will fight for your right to recover for your injuries. We can let you know about your legal rights during a free consultation.
Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.