New York City’s streets are chaotic, but laws are still in place. If you are using a crosswalk in proper accordance with the signal being displayed and a motor vehicle hits you, then the driver will most likely be held at fault. Even if a crosswalk lacks signals, drivers are legally obligated to give you the right of way when you cross. If they don’t, they can be held accountable for any resulting injuries.

What if you decide not to use a designated crosswalk and simply dash across the street from the middle of the block? This activity, known as jaywalking, has been illegal in New York City since 1958. Although you face a $250 fine if ticketed, the law is rarely enforced and people are often seen running across the street from Point A to B, even when traffic is heavy. What happens when they are hit by a motor vehicle?

It depends on the circumstances. If you did not jump out into traffic and attempted to cross the street in a reasonably safe manner, then you will probably be compensated for your injuries, as there is an assumption that pedestrians have the right of way. If you were reckless or displayed poor judgment while attempting to cross and a car hits you, then a court may find that you were also at fault and offer reduced compensation or nothing at all.

Negligence factors in jaywalking injuries

In New York State, the amount of compensation you may recover in a personal injury case is commensurate with your level of fault. As a pedestrian, you have a duty to use crosswalks properly and make yourself visible to oncoming drivers. In turn, drivers are required to obey state and city traffic laws and give pedestrians the right of way.

Determining negligence in a jaywalking injury case requires a careful consideration of the extent to which each party was negligent. You may have been crossing illegally, but if the driver who hit you was texting behind the wheel, preventing them from seeing and avoiding you, their culpability increases. In this instance, both of you will probably be held at fault.

If you are struck while jaywalking, don’t assume that you have forfeited your right to any compensation. Instead, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to go over the circumstances of your accident and discuss the strength of your pedestrian accident claim. You may be able to obtain compensation for medical treatment costs, loss of wages and/or future earning ability, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life. An experienced attorney can give you the right advice, prepare your claim, and be your advocate in the fight for a fair and accurate settlement or award. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx accident attorney handling pedestrian injury cases. If you were hurt in a motor vehicle crash, then set up a free in-person consultation by calling 718-514-6619. Visit to learn more.