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While walking is an environmentally friendly mode of transportation that allows you to stay active while traveling to your desired destination, it comes with significant risks. Unfortunately, there has been an increasing number of pedestrian accidents in recent years. While negligent motorists cause most pedestrian accidents, they can occur due to careless pedestrians. In New York, pedestrians are required to walk in and cross the street within the lines of a designated crosswalk. When pedestrians do not use marked crosswalks, it is considered jaywalking. Jaywalking is illegal and incredibly dangerous as it increases the likelihood of an accident. As such, pedestrians often wonder whether they can still file a personal injury claim if they were jaywalking at the time of an accident. Please continue reading to learn how jaywalking can impact your case and discover how a determined New York City Pedestrian Accident Attorney can help you fight for the just compensation you deserve. 

What is jaywalking?

Jaywalking refers to crossing or walking on the road unlawfully without regard for approaching traffic. Essentially, it is the illegal action of crossing a street outside the lines of a designated area. Despite most roadways being primarily built with vehicles in mind, official and unmarked crosswalks allow pedestrians to cross the road safely. Pedestrians can legally cross the street from the nearest intersection when crosswalks are unavailable or inaccessible. In New York, it is imperative to understand that motorists have the right of way when crossing the street from anywhere other than a marked crosswalk or intersection. As mentioned above, jaywalking is not only dangerous, but it is illegal in most jurisdictions, including New York. In most cases, those caught jaywalking can be ticketed with fines of up to $250.

Can I still file a personal injury claim?

When an individual is struck by a vehicle while jaywalking, they often wonder whether they can still file a personal injury claim to seek monetary compensation for their damages, as jaywalking is illegal. Fortunately, New York follows comparative negligence rules. Therefore, even if you were jaywalking at the time of the accident, you still have a right to take legal action to recover compensation for any injuries and damages you’ve incurred as long as you can prove the other driver was also at fault for the cause of the collision. For example, if you were jaywalking and the motorist that struck you was texting and driving, the responsibility for the cause of the accident will be split between the involved parties. This is because the pedestrian was negligent for jaywalking, and the driver was negligent for distracted driving. In a pure comparative negligence state like New York, an injured individual can claim damages for the 1% they are not at fault even when they are found 99% at fault for the cause of a collision. Essentially, if you are partially at fault for the cause of the accident, you still have a right to be compensated for your losses.

If you were hit by a vehicle while jaywalking, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a skilled attorney from the legal team at Swerling Law as soon as possible. Our firm is prepared to help you secure the fair compensation you deserve.


Settlement to a barista who slipped and fell on a defective stairwell while working for Starbucks who sustained back injuries requiring multiple surgeries in 2012.


Settlement to a woman who was assaulted and sustained back/hip injuries in 2015.


Verdict to a high school student who was assaulted by a school dean during her lunch period dislocating her hip in 2014.


Settlement to a man who was run over by a dump truck on a Brooklyn street causing him to sustain multiple injuries, including but not limited to a broken leg and detached urethra in 2019.


Settlement to a woman who slipped and fell down a wet stairwell in a New York City Housing Authority building requiring a back surgery in 2018.

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