Compared with other motorists, motorcyclists are more likely to be seriously injured or killed if they get into an accident. Every driver has an obligation to ensure they operate their vehicles in a way that doesn’t endanger others. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that approximately 5,000 motorcyclists die in accidents each year. Many others can suffer serious and sometimes permanent injuries in a motorcycle accident. If you or someone you love were hurt or killed in a motorcycle accident in Chicago because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation and justice. Trust the experienced Chicago, Illinois personal injury attorneys of Hale & Monico.
Common Causes Of A Motorcycle Accident
Most motorcycle accidents are the result of negligence. Piecing together the series of events leading up to the crash is a critical step in establishing liability and making a claim for damages. Common causes of motorcycle accidents in Chicago include:
- Speeding. Speed always increases the chances of a wreck, and is even more dangerous when weather conditions (e.g. rain) or heavy traffic are added in.
- Reckless driving. This includes any form of driving that exhibits willful or wanton disregard for others’ safety, such as swerving in and out of lanes without signaling.
- Distracted driving. Anything that takes a driver’s focus off the road, for example texting while driving, can put lives at risk.
- Driving under the influence. Using alcohol or drugs can impair one’s driving. Even if the drug is legal (e.g. prescription medication) the driver using it can be held liable for an accident.
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals. Driving through stop signs and red lights, or violating other signs and signals, is a pretty strong indication of negligence.
- Following too closely (tailgating). Following another automobile is dangerous enough, but exhibiting this behavior toward a motorcyclist could be deadly.
- Not using a turn signal. Using a turn signal at an intersection or to change lanes allows a nearby motorist, including a motorcyclist, time to react accordingly.
These actions can be considered negligent and can give rise to an accident claim.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Because motorcyclists lack the protective steel frame of an automobile, they are more prone to serious injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash. Illinois does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets, although doing so is strongly recommended. But even a helmet and other safety gear cannot protect a Chicago motorcyclist if the accident is severe enough.
Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Road rash (severe abrasions)
- Broken bones
- Facial fractures
- Internal injuries
- Lower-extremity injuries
What Does A Motorcycle Accident Victim Have To Prove in Chicago?
To recover compensation after a motorcycle accident, a victim must prove the following elements:
- Duty of care. All Illinois, including Chicago, drivers owe a duty to other drivers to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly.
- Breach. A breach occurs when, by some act or omission, the at-fault driver violates the duty of care. In other words, the victim has to show the offending driver was negligent. Examples include speeding and other actions mentioned above.
- Causation. Causation means simply the at-fault driver’s negligence actually caused injury to the motorcyclist. If some other intervening cause was responsible, it will be more difficult to prove this.
- Damages. Lastly, the injured Chicago motorcyclist must suffer damages for which he or she may be compensated.
What Kinds Of Damages Can A Victim Claim in Chicago?
In most Chicago motorcycle accident cases, damages are divided into economic and non-economic categories. Economic damages can objectively be calculated and include the following:
- Medical bills, including for future medical treatments
- Adaptive medical equipment, such as wheelchairs
- Prescription drug medications, which in some cases can be significant
- Lost income that includes time recovering and otherwise not working because of the accident
- Lost future income, in the event the victim is unable to work at the same productivity level as before the accident
Non-economic damages are more subjective and can be difficult to calculate. Nonetheless, an accident victim can win compensation for them. Included are disfigurement and pain and suffering.
How Can An Attorney Help Me In My Chicago Motorcycle Accident Claim?
There’s a good chance the at-fault driver’s insurance company will contact you after the accident and attempt to settle the case without going to court. But insurance companies are not on your side and will do everything they can to pay as little as possible. They are also known for using deceitful tactics like asking victims to give recorded statements that may later be used against them. It is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced Chicago-based personal injury lawyer who can communicate and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
The right lawyer will also understand how to value your case. Damages don’t just include past and present losses, such as medical bills that have already accumulated. You may need medical treatments long into the future. Additionally, you might not be able to return to your former job if the crash left you disabled. Our firm relies on expert witnesses who can project how much the Motorcycle accident will cost you in terms of future medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
Contact Our Chicago Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney
Motorcycle accident victims only get one chance to either try their case in court or settle it with the insurer. Once the jury makes their decision, or the settlement papers are signed, you won’t be able to ask for more compensation. You deserve a law firm that knows how to effectively advocate for your rights. If you were hurt in a Chicago motorcycle accident, give Hale & Monico a call.
Hale & Monico helps victims of motorcycle accidents in Chicago obtain their rightful compensation.