When a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian has a right to pursue compensation for the costs of their injuries. But what happens when a pedestrian had some degree of fault in the collision? For instance, if a pedestrian was jaywalking, can they still file a compensation claim?
If You Were Struck by a Car While Jaywalking, Can You Still Sue the Driver?
First, you can file a lawsuit for pretty much anything, but it doesn’t mean you’ll win. When it comes to jaywalking, the likelihood of a successful result depends on many factors, the most important being whether the driver who struck you was negligent.
If your injuries are costly and the driver was at fault (at least partially), you should explore your legal options. Even if your actions contributed to the accident, you might still be able to get some form of compensation for your injuries due to the state’s comparative negligence principle.
Understanding Comparative Negligence
Massachusetts law says that even if you bore some responsibility for an incident, you can still seek compensation for your damages. However, this only applies if your percentage of fault was equal to or less than that of the other party or parties involved.
To simplify this concept: Were you no more than 50% at fault for the accident? If so, you can seek compensation. The amount of compensation you’re eligible to receive depends on your percentage of fault.
For example, if your jaywalking contributed 20% of fault to the accident, then the amount of compensation you can receive will be reduced by 20%. However, if jaywalking contributed 60% of fault to the accident, you won’t be able to recover any compensation.
How Can You Prove Percentage of Fault?
If you’re thinking that proving percentage of fault seems abstract, you’re not wrong. It can be a difficult thing to prove, and this is where experienced personal injury attorneys become very important after a serious accident.
Arguing percentage of fault means getting into the weeds of Massachusetts law and building a solid case to make your argument. If you have little to no experience with these types of cases, you’ll be at a major disadvantage if you try to obtain compensation on your own. An experienced attorney, however, can gather evidence, review the facts of a case, talk to witnesses, and do a number of other things to build a case.
So, Do You Have a Case?
It depends on the role that the driver’s negligence played in the accident. If a driver was intoxicated or driving recklessly, then you could have a strong case. Though the amount of compensation you receive could be reduced by your own percentage of fault, the payment could still be substantial.
In another example, if you suddenly left the sidewalk without giving the driver sufficient time to see you or take evasive action, you may have a greater percentage of fault assigned to you.
The best way to determine whether you have a case is to consult an experienced injury attorney. They can assess your case to help you figure out whether you should file a claim.
Injured in Boston? Contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers.
If you’ve been struck by a negligent driver, contact the Boston pedestrian injury attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to help you better understand your legal options.