Can I Still File a Claim if I Was Looking at My Phone When I Was Hit?
November 3, 2020
Pedestrians who cross the street while distracted can be held partially or fully liable for their accident when their failure to pay appropriate attention while crossing contributes to or causes their accident. This is typically because the pedestrian crosses against a red light or no-walk sign or steps out in front of oncoming traffic too close to safely stop.
Pedestrians may be distracted from looking out for oncoming traffic for any number of reasons. Most frequently, pedestrians are distracted by looking at their cell phones while walking, paying no attention to where they are crossing the street or whether it is even safe to cross the street — namely, whether they have a green light or walk sign to cross or whether there is oncoming traffic they are stepping in front of. Pedestrians can also be distracted by wearing headphones and listening to music or podcasts while walking, which can prevent a pedestrian from hearing oncoming vehicles or other sounds that might warn of danger. In some cases, pedestrians may see but simply ignore lights and signs, causing accidents when other motorists and bicyclists on the road assume that a pedestrian will follow lights and signs and other rules of the road.
How Distracted Pedestrians Can Distract Drivers
A distracted pedestrian can also distract a driver to the extent that the driver gets into an accident with the pedestrian, bicyclist or other motorist on the road. If a motorist notices that a pedestrian isn’t paying attention to the road and may endanger himself or herself by stepping out in front of the motorist, that motorist may focus his or her attention entirely on the pedestrian. As a result, the motorist may do something that other motorists on the road might not expect, like slamming on the brakes or stopping at a green light. Or the motorist may inadvertently hit another vehicle or bicycle on the road that he or she doesn’t notice due to being entirely focused on the pedestrian. As a result, a pedestrian can cause an accident, even if the accident doesn’t result in any injury to the pedestrian himself or herself.
How Distracted Pedestrians Can Affect Their Injury Claim
If a distracted pedestrian is injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, the fact that they were distracted at the time of the accident can affect their legal claim for compensation from the motorist who hit them. In New Jersey, personal injury claims are subject to the modified comparative negligence rule, which states that an injured party who is 50 percent or less at fault for his or her accident and injuries can still recover compensation, but the compensation will be reduced to reflect his or her share of fault. The insurance companies or a jury may determine that an injured pedestrian shares some or potentially all of the fault for his or her accident and injury by distractedly walking in front of a vehicle. Walking against a red light or no-walk sign into oncoming traffic is illegal, and may be cited as a basis to find the pedestrian partially at fault and reduce any compensation he or she is awarded. Or if a distracted pedestrian jaywalks directly in front of an oncoming vehicle which has no reasonable possibility of avoiding the collision, the pedestrian may be found mostly or entirely at fault for his or her own accident, barring him or her from obtaining compensation.
If you were injured while crossing the street and have questions about whether or not you’re entitled to compensation, our team of lawyers at the Epstein Law Firm, P.A. can help. Call us today for a consultation.
Read more: How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Pedestrian Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a pedestrian accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm, P.A. represent clients injured because of pedestrian accidents in Englewood, Fair Lawn, Fort Lee, Garfield, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.