If you or a loved one were involved in a bicycle accident in the Chicago area, you could be faced with serious medical bills, lost time from work, and other damages. The personal injury attorneys of Hale & Monico represent bicycle accident victims and will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Why Do Bicycle Accidents Occur?
Riding a bicycle is a great alternative to cars and public transportation, not to mention an enjoyable pastime. As bicycle ridership has increased in Chicago and throughout Illinois, however, so have the number of bicycle accidents. Bicycles are not only more difficult to see than automobiles, they offer little in the way of protection.
Part of the process of filing a claim against a negligent automobile driver involves explaining why the accident happened. The above types of crashes can occur for such reasons as:
- Distractions, like cell phone use
- Drunk driving
- Failure to check side view and rear view mirrors
- Failure to observe traffic laws
- Inclement weather
- Poor visibility
- Confusion over right of way (e.g. at an intersection)
Automobile drivers are required to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. When they don’t, and a bicyclist gets hurt as a result, they could be liable for negligence.
What To Expect In Your Bicycle Accident Case
After your accident, you may be contacted by the responsible driver’s insurance company. This is where many bicycle accident victims get in trouble. By law, you are not required to discuss your accident with the insurance adjuster. Bear in mind that insurance companies are in business to make money, and they do so by denying claims and minimizing accident payouts. The insurance company may try to obtain a statement from you that could be used against you later. Before speaking with the adjuster, discuss your case with a bicycle accident lawyer.
Our firm will get to work in documenting the circumstances of your accident and establishing liability. That could involve these and other steps:
- Obtaining the police report from the accident
- Ordering the driving records of the responsible motorist
- Reviewing your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages
- Speaking with and obtaining statements from witnesses
- Consulting accident reconstructionists and other experts
How Much Is My Bicycle Accident Claim Worth?
Every bicycle accident case is different, but the value of your claim will depend largely on the damages you suffered. Generally, an accident victim can seek both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those which can readily be assigned a dollar value, such as:
- Medical expenses – past, present, and future
- Prescription drug expenses to treat pain
- Costs for rehabilitation or physical therapy
- Lost wages due to time missed from work
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and are considered subjective in nature. Some examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Disability and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of society
The value of your claim could be negatively affected if you, the bicyclist, engaged in any negligent or reckless behavior. Illinois law affords great protection to bicyclists, to the extent that they have the same rights as automobile drivers. But bicyclists are required to observe traffic laws just as motorists are. In fact, failure to do so could reduce the amount of your compensation, even if you were injured in the accident.
Illinois has what is known as contributory negligence. This means that if the bicyclist contributed in some way to the accident because of negligence, he or she may be held partially liable. Since contributory negligence can dramatically impact the amount of your recovery, you need the assistance of a skilled Chicago bicycle accident attorney.
Different Types Of Bicycle Accidents
Our firm has handled numerous bicycle accident cases, so we understand the different ways they happen. Some of the most common types are:
Dooring. This happens when a parked vehicle opens a door and a bicyclist collides with it. Not only can this cause injury upon impact, but the bicyclist could be thrown into moving traffic. Dooring typically happens because the automobile driver failed to check their surroundings before opening the door.
Rear-end collisions. Automobile drivers can crash into the back of bicyclists just as they can with other vehicles. The difference, however, is that the collision can be far more dangerous to the bicyclist than another motorist. Failure to stop in time usually accounts for these accidents.
Turn accidents. When turning at a traffic signal or intersection, an automobile driver may fail to notice a bicyclist in the bike lane or crossing the street. These accidents can happen suddenly because drivers often fail to use their turn signals.
Side-swiping. If a motorist is traveling in the same direction as a bicyclist but fails to give the bicyclist enough space to pass, the two can collide. Some side-swipe accidents do not directly cause injury to a bicyclist, but can cause him or her to lose control of the bicycle and crash.
Crashes at intersections. These can occur for a number of reasons, in the same way that automobile accidents happen. They often take place where there is no traffic signal. Automobile drivers should know to look out for bicyclists, but many do not.
Road rage. Motorists are required to share the road with bicyclists, but not all of them want to. Intentionally harassing a bicyclist can quickly lead to a serious accident. Frustrated motorists may also attempt to hastily pass the bicyclist, and hit them in the process.
Contact Our Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accidents are traumatizing and potentially debilitating events. Our aim is to demand the justice our clients deserve while holding the automobile driver accountable. Put the experience of Hale & Monico to the test. Call us today to schedule your consultation.