If I hit a jaywalker at an intersection and they were cited, can I be responsible for any bills?

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If I hit a jaywalker at an intersection and they were cited, can I be responsible for any bills?

I just found out found out that he was in the hospital but was released the same day and is trying to sue me for his medical bills.

Asked on February 19, 2014 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

Brook Miscoski / Hurr Law Office PC

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The answer to you question depends on knowing the whole circumstances. For instance, if someone was jaywalking but you hit him going 60mph in a 30mph zone, you would be at least partly at fault. Or, let's assume that someone's jaywalking and you are obeying all of the laws, but get distracted for a moment and end up hitting him. In that case, you would be partially at fault. 

Since the guy is still alive, I'll assume nothing extreme happened. But you get the idea--it depends on whether you were attentive and obeying the rules at the time you hit him.

After that, it depends on what state the accident happened in. In Texas, we have a rule that if the pedestrian was mostly at fault, then tough luck for him. In California, it might be different--in a state with "pure comparative fault" laws, the pedestrian can get something from you as long as you were just a little bit at fault.

This is another reason why it's smart not to avoid reporting accidents to your insurer. It's a confusing mess for you to deal with this guy, for the small amount of money that is probably involved in a catch-and-release visit to the hospital. If it were your insurer's problem, you wouldn't be wondering what to do. Just something for people to think about.


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