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What Happens if You Hit a Pedestrian Jaywalking?

It is illegal to jaywalk in Las Vegas. If someone wants to cross the street, they should go to the intersection and cross in the crosswalk. Nevertheless, countless people shoot out into the road to get across.

What happens if you end up hitting someone who was jaywalking? Are you still responsible for the accident? Or is the pedestrian responsible?

Actually, there are no simple answers to these questions, which might be surprising. Our firm regularly fields questions from the public, and most people seem to assume that the motorist is “always” to blame. Instead, under Nevada law, we need to closely analyze the circumstances to determine who is at fault.

Both Motorists and Pedestrians Owe a Duty of Care

Fault is determined under the principles of negligence, which is the legal term for failing to use sufficient care. Both motorists and pedestrians owe each other a duty to be careful, which really means they owe a duty not to cause an accident that ends up injuring someone.

If your carelessness causes injury, then you are “at fault” for the accident. This is important because, under Nevada law, the party at fault must pay compensation to the victims.

So it’s wrong to say that the driver of a vehicle is “always” at fault, because the pedestrian also owes the driver a duty to act carefully.

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Both Motorists and Pedestrians Can Be Negligent

Both motorists and pedestrians owe each other a duty to be careful. And when they break that duty, they have breached it and been negligent. Nevada has many traffic safety rules that are important to analyzing negligence. But there are two things you need to know:

  • Breaking the law does not make you automatically negligent
  • Someone can be negligent without breaking the law

Instead, we need to ask, “How would a reasonably careful person have acted in the same situation?” If a driver or pedestrian’s conduct falls below this standard, then they can be liable for any collision they cause.

How Motorists Can Be Negligent

Passenger vehicles are a clear danger to pedestrians, so drivers need to operate their motor vehicle in a safe manner. Unfortunately, too many drivers end up:

  • Drive too fast for conditions
  • Run a red light
  • Fail to stop at a stop sign
  • Drive while distracted
  • Pass on the shoulder
  • Drive while intoxicated
  • Illegally pass
  • Fail to yield to pedestrians

When a motorist engages in any of these behaviors and hits a pedestrian, they are usually at fault.

A Pedestrian Who Jaywalks is also Probably Negligent

Nevada’s statute § 484B.287 lays out certain rules for a pedestrian to follow with respect to yielding the right of way. For example, the law clearly states that a pedestrian who crosses a highway at any point other than a crosswalk at the intersection must yield the right of way to vehicles on the road.

There is rarely a good reason to jaywalk. It certainly is risky behavior, and a pedestrian needs to exercise caution before crossing the road.

Of course, breaking the law is not definitive proof that the pedestrian has been negligent, but it is very compelling evidence. If you are a pedestrian involved in an accident, you need to come forward with a legitimate reason why it was not dangerous to jaywalk in that particular situation.


Comparative Fault

As you can probably guess, there are many situations when a motorist hits a jaywalking pedestrian, but both are at fault. For example, the pedestrian is jaywalking, but the driver is speeding. Or a pedestrian steps off the curb into traffic, but the motorist is reading a text message and not paying attention. When vehicle and pedestrian collide, it is hard to say only one is to blame. Both are.

Nevada law has a concept for this situation: comparative fault. It recognizes that both parties can contribute to a crash. But can both sue?

Under the law, you can sue for compensation if your fault was not greater than all other parties’ combined. In effect, you can be up to 50% responsible for the accident—but not more. So, in theory, sometimes both the jaywalker and the motorist will have valid claims against the other.

If you prevail in a lawsuit, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So a jaywalking pedestrian might be 30% to blame and the motorist 70%. If the pedestrian’s injuries are worth $50,000, then the most she can receive is $35,000 in compensation.

Proving Fault

If you have been in an accident, you should begin to collect evidence immediately. This evidence can help establish who is at fault for the collisions, which is vital if you want to receive compensation. The following evidence helps:

  • Witness testimony. They can testify as to what they saw.
  • Your own memories. Write down as soon as possible how you remember the accident unfolding. If a pedestrian just suddenly appeared in the road, you should write that down.
  • Surveillance video. Some stores have security cameras that are pointed at the parking lot or the road. The camera might have picked up the accident.
  • Photographs of the accident scene, just as skid marks and debris, can help an auto accident attorney reconstruct what happened.

You should also call the police. An officer can write a police report. This report might assign fault, but the officer’s opinion isn’t the final word on this issue. Instead, the report is helpful for establishing when and where the accident happened and who was involved.

Stay Safe on the Road. Contact Naqvi Injury Law

If you have been involved in a collision, please contact us today. Naqvi Injury Law is a leading personal injury law firm in Las Vegas that has been representing injured victims for years.

We have experience helping both pedestrians and motorists. Our goal is to carefully identify who is at fault and to build a strong case for compensation that will fully reimburse you for your suffering.

Reach out to us today. You can speak with a Las Vegas pedestrian accident attorney by calling or writing us online. We offer a free, confidential consultation.

“When I came to Naqvi, everything was taken care of. From the moment you walk in the door, Naqvi Injury Law treats you like family. They’re very upfront and communication with them is excellent.”

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