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