Are You Guilty of Distracted Walking?

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Thursday, Oct 26, 2023

Everyone has heard of distracted driving. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 80% of drivers admitted to using their phones within a 30-day period.

Distracted walking isn’t talked about quite as much. Yet here in New York City, we’re all familiar with the sight of someone racing across a busy intersection while staring down at their phones.

Many people think walking is safer than driving, so talking on their phones, texting, or watching while walking is no big deal. Unfortunately, pedestrians have an obligation to obey traffic laws and can only protect themselves by paying close attention to their surroundings while navigating through traffic.

Note that there’s not much agreement about whether distracted walking contributes to pedestrian fatalities and injuries in any meaningful way. Multiple studies tell us that driver behavior accounts for far more accidents. Nevertheless, Pew Charitable Trusts reports that pedestrian injuries due to cell phone use are up 35%.

Regardless of how statistics look, common sense tells us that pedestrians who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings risk being involved in an accident more than pedestrians who are paying more attention to their surroundings. In addition, you can expect the issue to come up in your personal injury case.

How does distracted walking impact a personal injury claim?

If you are involved in an accident while walking distracted, you can expect the defendant to raise the issue of comparative negligence. Contrary to popular belief, the driver is not always the at-fault party in a collision, and some pedestrians have seen their claims denied altogether.

The same is true in a slip-and-fall accident or even a construction accident. You can expect the value of your claim to be reduced by whatever percentage courts use to account for your distracted walking.

Distracted walking doesn’t eliminate your ability to pursue a claim—here in New York, you can sue for damages even if you were 99% responsible for whatever happened—but it means you’ll get paid less. For some, the diminishing returns might make pursuing a case less than worthwhile.

Don’t make assumptions. Call us.

No matter what you did during your pedestrian or slip-and-fall accident, it’s important to get representation for your personal injury case. Don’t assume you don’t have a case just because you had your headphones in at the time of the accident.

Schedule a free case review with us if you’ve been injured in an accident. We’ll help you determine whether you have a case that’s worth pursuing. We might even be able to turn your behavior into a non-issue.

Contact us to get started today.

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You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.