Pedestrian-Negligence Accidents in New York: What You Should Know

by Marni F. Schlesinger on Jul. 08, 2021

Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: While motorists are usually responsible for car accidents involving pedestrians, a pedestrian can share some responsibility for an accident.

What comes to mind when you hear of an accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian? Like most people, you probably assume the motorist is to blame, right? Well, this is not always the case. Though it is rare, pedestrians can also cause car accidents. But how can pedestrians cause an accident? Most importantly, can a pedestrian still file a personal injury claim or lawsuit if they are responsible for the accident? 


When Is the Pedestrian Liable?

There are specific situations where a pedestrian could be responsible for the accident and any resulting injuries and damages. This includes any case where the pedestrian's actions caused the motorist to hit them, collide with another vehicle or veer off the road, and damage property. Here's a list of the common actions that can cause a car accident:


  • Ignoring traffic signals and laws
  • Darting into the street without regard for motorists
  • Walking on prohibited roadways
  • Crossing roads where there are no crosswalks
  • Crossing roads and highways while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Attempting to distract a motorist


Can a Negligent Pedestrian Still File a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit In New York?

Yes, they can. New York is a pure comparative negligence state. In other words, blame is assigned, and compensation is awarded based on each individual's contributions to the accident. This means the pedestrian can still generally recover compensation even if they were 99% at fault for the resulting damages and injuries. However, the compensation amount they will get will be reduced by the percentage of their fault.


As an example, imagine a pedestrian was jaywalking and gets hit and injured by a speeding vehicle. In this case, liability for the accident falls on both the pedestrian and the driver. If the pedestrian files an injury claim or lawsuit, the court will first assign negligence to each party. If the court determines the driver was 84% at fault and the pedestrian was 16% at fault, the pedestrian compensation amount would be reduced by 16%. 


Proving Pedestrian Liability/Negligence

Proving liability is not easy. The driver will benefit greatly from the help of an experienced personal injury & accident attorney to help them prove fault by the pedestrian. What evidence do accident attorneys use to prove negligence? Here are the most common forms of evidence that attorneys use:


  • Video footage and photos: Most streets and highways have surveillance cameras that record everything happening on the road and streets. If the accident was caught on camera, the accident attorney can easily access the footage and use it to prove pedestrian negligence.


  • Expert testimonies: There are times when there is little or no substantial evidence to prove pedestrian liability. During such instances, accident attorneys rely on expert testimonies to reconstruct events that led to an accident.


  • Eyewitness statements: Eyewitnesses play a crucial role in proving pedestrian liability. They may provide verbal or written testimonies, which can help prove that a pedestrian is an at-fault party.


Apicella & Schlesinger

If you have been the victim of an accident in New York and are looking for a qualified and experienced accident attorney, Apicella & Schlesinger are here and ready to help. Our attorneys are highly experienced and can evaluate your case for FREE. Give us a call today at (212) 568-4245!

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See's full Terms of Use for more information.