Pedestrians are typically able to navigate busy areas safely and reach their destinations without issue. Unfortunately, some are struck by negligent motorists and suffer extreme injuries. It is also possible for a pedestrian to cause an accident by jaywalking. This term defines crossing a street illegally on foot. For example, if a person crosses the street outside of the crosswalk or if they cross at the crosswalk before the indicator shows it is safe to do so, both of these acts can constitute jaywalking.
It’s vital for pedestrians to acknowledge the danger of jaywalking. While many people believe that it’s perfectly safe to cross a street whenever the way appears to be clear, there is always a chance for a pedestrian to mistakenly step directly in the path of an oncoming car. If you drive and hit a pedestrian jaywalking, it’s natural to wonder whether you are legally responsible for the damages.
Understanding Comparative Fault in Colorado
If you are driving and hit a pedestrian, even if they stepped out in front of you illegally, you are likely going to be held responsible for their damages. However, the fact that the victim jaywalked and thus contributed to the accident will not go overlooked. The state uses a modified comparative negligence statute, meaning when a plaintiff bears partial responsibility for causing their claimed damages, they lose part of their case award to account for their liability.
Under the modified comparative negligence rule, the plaintiff is barred from recovery if their fault is more than 50%. For a lesser fault percentage, the plaintiff still recovers their damages, but they lose a percentage of the final case award equal to their fault percentage. It’s relatively common for defendants in pedestrian accident cases and other personal injury actions to assert comparative fault in an effort to minimize their own liability.
If you recently hit a pedestrian because they stepped directly in your path with too little time or space for you to avoid hitting them, it’s vital to find an attorney who can help you prove the truth of the matter. Your attorney can gather evidence like traffic camera recordings and cell phone records to help you establish fault for the accident. While a driver will almost always incur most of the liability for a pedestrian accident, jaywalking is almost certain to lead to a comparative fault determination from the judge.
Damages in a Pedestrian Accident Claim
Any time a car hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian is very likely to suffer serious injuries. Even at low speed, a pedestrian accident can cause severe injuries, with the primary impact of the vehicle hitting the pedestrian and the secondary impact of the pedestrian hitting the ground. Broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain damage are just a few of the most commonly reported pedestrian accident injuries. Many victims of these accidents face lifelong disabilities, inability to work, and difficulty managing basic everyday tasks at home. Any pedestrian accident has the potential to cause substantial immediate and long-term damages to the victim.
Colorado law allows the plaintiff in a pedestrian accident case to seek full repayment of all economic losses resulting from the defendant’s misconduct or negligence behind the wheel. The plaintiff can also claim up to $250,000 in pain and suffering compensation, increased to $500,000, with clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s fault. If you want the best chance of maximizing the total compensation you obtain for a pedestrian accident claim in Colorado, it is crucial to have a legal representative you trust to guide you through your recovery efforts.
Q: Is Jaywalking a Crime in Colorado?
A: Jaywalking, or crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk, is technically against the law, but it qualifies as a traffic offense. The typical penalty for jaywalking is a $100 fine. However, if a jaywalker steps in front of a car, they can suffer extreme injuries and may face a diminished case award to reflect their shared fault for the incident.
Q: Will a Driver Go to Jail for Hitting a Pedestrian?
A: A driver could face criminal prosecution if they hit a pedestrian through illegal misconduct, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A driver who intentionally hits a pedestrian is likely to face a felony charge for attempted murder if the victim survives, and if they do not, the at-fault driver is highly likely to face a murder charge. Less severe criminal charges are possible when egregious negligence or breaking other laws causes pedestrian accidents.
Q: What Are the Penalties for Hit and Run in Colorado?
A: “Hit and run” is the term used to describe any failure to stop after causing an accident with another driver. In the event that a driver hits a pedestrian and causes a non-serious bodily injury, they could face a misdemeanor charge with a $1,000 fine and up to one year in county jail. If a hit-and-run driver causes serious bodily harm or death, they are likely to face felony prosecution and penalties, including up to six years in prison and as much as $500,000 in fines and penalties.
Q: How Much Is a Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth?
A: If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident someone else caused, you can hold them accountable for all the economic losses you incurred from their actions and the pain and suffering you endured. Many variables can influence the total value of a pedestrian accident claim, and an experienced attorney can help you assess the total potential value of your claim.
The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal is prepared to guide you through all the recovery efforts you attempt after a pedestrian accident. We’ve helped many clients approach their pedestrian accident claims with confidence and secure better results than they initially expected, and we’re ready to put this experience to work for you. Contact us today and schedule a consultation with our firm to learn more about the legal services we offer.