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Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorney

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Bicycling is increasingly popular as a basic means of transportation in many urban cities. But the roads are not always safe for bicycle riders. Many cities are implementing and enforcing safety measures like bicycle safety lanes to protect bicycle riders, but bike accidents still happen and can be fatal to bicyclists. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that bicyclists represent two percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States. Over half of the cases that result in death are riders who failed to wear helmets and suffered a serious head injury, although a Chicago brain injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you are owed.

Why Hire A Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorney From Smith LaCien?

Chicago bicycle accident lawyer

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident caused by another’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the damages you suffered. For more information about your rights and what you might be entitled to after a bicycle accident, you should speak with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney at Smith LaCien LLP. The firm has more than $2.5 billion in settlements and verdicts, including a $9.5 million settlement against the city of Chicago for a bicyclist who was seriously injured due to a street defect.

Common Causes Of Bicycle Accidents In Chicago

Chicago saw an average of 2.6 bike accident fatalities per every million residents between 2017 and 2021, an increase of 19% since the previous study between 2012 and 2016. Common causes of bike injuries in Chicago include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Drivers following cyclists too closely
  • Drivers weaving through traffic
  • Drivers making unsafe lane changes
  • Drivers failing to yield the right of way
  • Drivers running through stop signs
  • Intoxicated drivers
  • Dooring accidents (A driver parks and opens their door without checking for an approaching cyclist)
  • Sideswiping from driver failure to leave enough distance between a vehicle and a bicycle
  • Hooking due to a driver making a right turn too closely to a cyclist on their right side

When an at-fault driver hits a cyclist due to driver negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing like intoxicated driving, they are responsible for damages. A successful bike accident claim can help victims gain a sense of justice as well as financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Bicyclists’ Duty of Care

Every road user must prevent causing harm to other road users. Bicyclists have the same rights and duties as other road users, but like motorists and pedestrians, they must also abide by traffic laws to keep themselves and others safe. Just ask our car accident attorneys in Chicago to learn more!

Some of the safety regulations that bicyclists must abide by include riding a bicycle with a permanent seat attached, riding a bicycle with the number of people for which it is designed, and riding as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under certain conditions such as overtaking or passing another bicycle, or making a left turn at an intersection. These laws are designed to help you stay safe in the event of a bike accident.

Cyclists aren’t obligated to ride on designated bike lanes, but it is advised for safety reasons. Riding on the sidewalk in Chicago is illegal unless the sidewalk is marked as a bike path, or you are going to a nearby bike station or road.

Types Of Chicago Bicycle Accident Injuries

Chicago bicycle accident attorney

We have helped clients who have suffered a variety of injuries from a bicycle crash, including:

  • Brain injuries, which can be catastrophic
  • Spinal cord injuries, often lead to other issues
  • Burn injuries and related scarring
  • Broken bones, including broken arms and legs, as well as skull fractures and spine fractures
  • Wrongful death, if you’ve lost a loved one.

If there was a loss of life in a bicycle accident, please don’t hesitate to contact our Chicago wrongful death lawyers today.

Victims of bicycle accidents need to get medical care immediately. If possible, they should collect as much evidence as possible at the scene of the bicycle accident. This includes photos, names, and contacts of witnesses and a police report. Contacting the Chicago personal injury lawyers at Smith LaCien, LLP will be there for you afterward to help start your bicycle accident claim.

What Type of Compensation Can I Get After a Chicago Bicycle Accident?

You have a limited time to take legal action after you have suffered a bicycle accident injury, so you will need to act quickly and contact an accident lawyer. Generally, an injured victim can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. The objective and tangible damages that can be established with receipts, invoices, and estimates like past and future medical expenses and lost wages, are economic damages. Non-economic damages are intangible losses like pain and suffering or loss of consortium. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers is dedicated to making sure that every client we represent is diligently represented in their case.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Bicycle Accident?

It’s important to file a claim for a Chicago bicycle accident in a timely manner. The best time to file a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver is once the injury victim knows the full scope of their damages, such as the approximate medical costs for past and future medical care related to the injuries and the amount of time they’ll be out of work. Waiting too long to file a claim not only compromises the availability of evidence and eyewitness testimony, but in some cases, the insurance company unfairly denies a claim or seriously undervalues the amount they are willing to pay out in a settlement. In the event that an insurance company denies the claim or attempts to assign the cyclist an undue portion of the fault in the accident to minimize the amount of their payout, your attorney can pursue damages in a lawsuit. Illinois has a two-year statute of limitation for personal injury claims, including for bicycle accidents. Attempting to file a claim or lawsuit beyond two years from the date of the accident will result in a dismissal of the case.

Can I Be Found At Fault for My Bicycle Accident?

It’s critical to prove who is at fault in a bicycle accident so the appropriate insurance company will cover the damages. While no cyclist is perfect, accidents involving bike riders and motor vehicles are the fault of the motorist far more often than the cyclist. One study indicates that motorists were at fault for more than 83% of accidents between bicycles and vehicles.

Many times insurance companies take advantage of the state’s comparative negligence insurance laws to minimize or deny claims by assigning blame to the cyclist. A diligent attorney will examine the police report, speak to eyewitnesses, seek out area surveillance footage or traffic camera videos, and consult with accident reconstruction experts to prove a negligent driver is at fault for the accident.

Even if a cyclist does share some of the fault for the accident, they can still claim a portion of their damages as long as they were not more than 50% at fault. The percentage of their fault is subtracted from their compensation. For example, a cyclist whose damages amount to $100,000 for property damage, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, but who was found to be 25% at fault will recover $75,000.

What to Do After a Bicycle Accident In Chicago?

Bicycle accidents are traumatic and painful. If you’ve been seriously injured, you may be able to do little to help yourself other than wait in place for help to arrive, but if you can use your cell phone—or hand it to a helpful bystander to use for you—you can collect important evidence and protect yourself both physically and financially. Your phone becomes an important tool after an accident to do the following:

  • First, call 911 to report the accident and request EMS
  • Take photos of the vehicle that hit you or caused your accident
  • Take photos of the accident scene, including anything relevant like stop signs, traffic signals, or skid marks
  • Take photos of any visible injuries
  • Record a brief statement about what you remember about the accident since trauma may fade the memory later
  • Add the contact information of the involved driver and any eyewitnesses to the accident

These important steps can help streamline the claim process after your accident to more quickly achieve success on your claim for compensation. Your evidence from the scene of the accident can be as important as the police report of the accident, or even more so.

Once at the hospital, have a complete medical evaluation and tell the doctor about all of your symptoms, even those that seem minor. The trauma of an accident can mask serious injuries until many hours or even days after the accident. Ask for a detailed medical report with your doctor’s recommendations for your medical treatment as well as your prognosis. Be sure to keep copies of all medical bills to help calculate your damages.

How to Prove Negligence in a Chicago Bicycle Accident Claim

To make a successful claim for damages after a bicycle accident in which a driver was at fault, the injury victim bears the burden of proving negligence through a preponderance of the evidence. Proving negligence and liability for a bicycle accident requires documenting evidence to demonstrate the following:

  • That the driver owed a duty of care to the cyclist and others on the road to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries
  • That the driver breached this duty of care through an act of negligence or recklessness
  • That the breach of their duty of care toward others directly caused the cyclist’s injury
  • The injury victim suffered significant damages from the injury, including economic damages and non-economic damages

Once your attorney has investigated the case, diligently documented the evidence, and carefully calculated your damages to maximize your compensation, they can send a strong demand letter to the insurance company of the at-fault party for your compensation and negotiate a settlement for your damages.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorney

A Chicago bicycle accident lawyer with Smith LaCien LLP can help you determine the next steps in your case and give you the legal support that you need to make a claim. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call our office in Chicago today at (312) 509-8900 or fill out our contact form to learn more.

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