New Mexico has the highest rate per capita of pedestrian accidents in the country. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle is at fault for the accident, but there are times when the blame is split between the driver and the injured party. For example, if you hit someone who’s jaywalking, you may not be found entirely at fault. Learn more about this scenario in the guide below.
What Is Jaywalking?
A pedestrian jaywalks when they cross the street in a nondesignated area or where crossing isn’t permitted. It can also mean walking at a crosswalk when the do-not-cross signal is illuminated.
Crosswalks don’t have to be marked for a pedestrian to be considered a jaywalker. Streets have unmarked crosswalks if the intersections have two roads that are bordered by sidewalks that meet at right angles. Although the crosswalk isn’t painted on the street, pedestrians have the right of way at these intersections — but only when they cross between corners. Crossing the street at any other point before the intersection is considered jaywalking.
Who Is at Fault in a Jaywalking Case?
One of the first rules most drivers learn is that pedestrians have the right of way. While that is typically true, determining fault can be more complicated in a jaywalking pedestrian accident.
Pedestrians are required to follow the rules of the road, just as drivers are. If they fail to do so and are injured, they can be held accountable for their actions. For that reason, it’s particularly important to document the scene of a pedestrian accident and take witness statements and photos. Law enforcement and the court will use this information to evaluate whether you and the pedestrian exercised due care to prevent the accident.
For example, if you hit a pedestrian who steps out onto the street while texting, and witnesses say that you were driving under the speed limit, the pedestrian is likely to shoulder a larger percentage of the blame for the accident. However, if a pedestrian accident occurs because you were speeding or using your phone, then you’ll face more of the blame.
How Are Cases Determined?
New Mexico is a pure comparative fault state, meaning that damages for a pedestrian accident are determined by how much each party is at fault. For instance, if the pedestrian is deemed 99% at fault for the accident and seeks $100,000 in damages, the driver is only responsible for $1,000. As the defendant, the lower your percentage of fault, the less the plaintiff can recover.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, get expert counsel from Balderrama Law Firm. Based in Carlsbad, NM, this firm is experienced in a number of areas, including car accidents and personal injury. They’re committed to providing thorough and effective representation to all of their clients. Visit them online or call (575) 234-1111 to request a consultation