Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyer
The unfortunate reality is that bicycle riders can sustain extreme injuries in the case of a collision with an automobile. Cyclists navigating busy streets are at risk of severe and life-threatening injuries, whether or not they follow safety guidelines and wear protective gear.
A bicycle crash can be an incredibly traumatic experience, leaving victims with physical, mental, and emotional distress.
Each Chicago personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC knows the dangers cyclists face while riding on city streets and bike paths. Call a bicycle accident attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Chicago Area Cycling Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 600 people die yearly, and more than 52,000 are hurt in bicycle accidents versus car accidents. In Chicago, 1,095 cyclists were injured in crashes with other vehicles in 2018.
Approximately 10% (137) received severe injuries categorized as 'type A,' where a person's injuries require extensive medical care and permanently change their life, such as a brain injury.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 3,599 bicycle crashes statewide that year, which resulted in 24 bicycle fatalities. About 81 percent of these bicycle crashes occurred in Northeastern Illinois. More than 1,600 of these crashes occurred in Chicago, resulting in 5 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries.
The Chicago Department of Transportation reports that bicyclists are five times more likely to die or be injured in a crash than people in a vehicle. These accidents commonly happen on Damen Avenue, Chicago Avenue, Division Street, Lincoln Avenue, and Kedzie Avenue.
Expansion of Chicago's Bike Lane Program
Under the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020, Chicago had plans to build 645 miles of bikeways or bike lanes to connect neighborhoods to downtown. The project used a variety of barricades and buffers to protect bicycle accident victims using a bike lane.
It is illegal for drivers to enter these marked bicycle lanes except to make turns. Unfortunately, despite the city's intent to protect cyclists, these areas remain a consistent place where more individuals become bike accident victims.
Talk To an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Regardless of where your bike accident occurred, the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC attorneys are committed to holding the negligent motorist fully accountable to provide full compensation for your injuries.
If you lost a loved one in an Illinois bicycle accident caused by distracted drivers, we would pursue a wrongful death claim to the fullest extent of the law. Even if you share fault, you still may be able to recover damages.
Unfortunately, when a car hits your bike, damage to the vehicle is minor, while the damage to your bike and your body will be severe. Our team is committed to holding negligent drivers of motor vehicles accountable for injuries caused to cyclists.
When a driver's negligence results in an accident with injuries, you can pursue a bicycle accident claim through an attorney to recover compensation for your harm.
Contact a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) and get a free case consultation with a top-rated lawyer. Your attorney can discuss your legal rights and options for one or more bicycle accident settlements with multiple defendants.
Injuries Associated with Bicycle Accidents
Bicycles offer little protection to bike riders hit by a vehicle. Even relatively minor impacts can cause severe injuries.
Your experienced lawyer will use civil tort law to recover all financial compensation for our clients. Call our law firm for a free case evaluation.
We have experience representing many bicycle accident victims with severe injuries, such as:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Scrapes, cuts & lacerations
- Joint and muscle injuries
- Back and head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries - a severe brain injury could be life-altering
- Wrongful death accidents
Damages A Bicyclist May Recover Under Illinois Law
Illinois law allows an injured bicycle rider to recover financial compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses: Past and future medical bills related to the emergency room, ambulance, hospitalization, surgery, medical treatment, physical therapy, medication, and care at a long-term facility.
- Pain and suffering: If you suffered injuries from the accident until your injuries are resolved.
- Lost wages: When a person cannot return to their pre-injury profession or is out of work due to their injuries.
- Property damage: Compensation for damage to a bike and gear.
- Wrongful death: If you lost your loved one in a bicycle crash, you could pursue compensation under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act for financial and emotional support loss.
How Our Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyers Can Prove a Case Against a Negligent Driver
To recover financial compensation in a bicycling injury or fatality case, you must establish that the driver's negligent conduct caused the crash.
While investigating bike injury cases, our Chicago bicycle accident attorneys regularly take the following steps to build a strong case for our clients:
- Take recorded statements from witnesses and ensure they are noted in police reports
- Consult with the police officers who arrived first at the scene
- Take photos of the scene of the accident and damage to vehicles
- Consult with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, and engineering
- Review medical records and bills for future medical expenses
Who is Responsible If the Driver Who Hit Me on My Bike Was Working at The Time?
In most Cook County bicycle accidents involving an on-the-job driver, the driver's employer will be vicariously liable for any damages arising from the accident.
This legal theory is based on respondent superior, a common-law legal doctrine that holds that employers are responsible for their employees' actions when made within the scope of their employment. See Bagent v. Blessing Care Corp, 224 Ill.2d 154 (Ill. 2007), quoting Restatement (Second) of Agency)
These are some common examples of employee conduct sufficient to trigger vicarious liability:
- A driver was traveling from one job site to another
- A driver was making a delivery to a client on behalf of an employer
- A driver was going to pick up supplies for an employer
Can I File an Uninsured Motorist Claim for A Hit & Run Bicycle Accident?
In Chicago, 25% of bike accidents involve a driver who flees the scene. Our excellent lawyers can provide legal help for victims of hit-and-run accidents or those hit by a driver without insurance or minimal coverage.
Recovering compensation can be complicated, and insurance companies try to pay as little as possible. The cyclist's car insurance policy would cover a hit-and-run bike accident.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents Our Personal Injury Lawyers Handle
Drivers often cite errant or reckless bikers as the cause of bicycle accidents. However, the driver's lack of attention or not providing the right of way are the most significant contributing factors.
Other causes of bicycle crashes include speeding, weather, and failure to follow traffic control devices. Understanding different bike injury cases can help drivers and cyclists be prepared and act defensively to reduce catastrophic injuries to cyclists.
Our bicycle accident lawyers know these scenarios well and can assist you with your case and anticipate defenses:
- Collisions at intersections with traffic signals and stop signs: Bicycle safety requires stopping at stop signs and allowing cars to pass if they have the right of way.
- Collisions at uncontrolled intersections: When two motor vehicles approach an intersection simultaneously, with no signs or lights present, the car that reaches the junction first is afforded the right of way.
- Drunk driving accidents: Drunk drivers are responsible for about one-third of motor vehicle traffic-related fatalities. An intoxicated driver is more likely to be speeding, resulting in cyclists not being noticed, which may cause more severe injuries to the person or a higher chance of serious injury, brain injuries, or death.
- Distracted driving accidents: Smartphone devices can distract motor vehicle drivers. The decision to pay attention to a phone call, text message, or a smartphone app rather than the road can prove fatal for drivers and all others involved in bicycle accidents.
- Rear-end collisions and sideswipes: A bicyclist, riding with the flow of traffic far to the right, steers to the left to navigate a parked car and is rear-ended by a motorist in the car lane.
If you are involved in an accident, you must seek medical attention immediately, as not all injuries may present themselves right away. A medical professional can adequately check if you are safe from harm.
Cyclists are Not Always Safe Riding in Bike Lanes
According to statistics, cars and other vehicles may not be aware of cyclists operating in bike lanes. Wrong turns, backing up, or opening car doors are common errors that can put cyclists at risk of injury.
Cyclists must always remain aware and use extra caution when riding in designated bike lanes. They should watch for cars that enter the lane without looking. Also, cyclists should stay within marked lanes and follow all traffic legislation to remain safe, especially when moving through a merging area.
We understand the dangers of riding a bike on the road. A bicycle accident lawyer can provide the legal support you need if you are involved in an accident.
Chicago Bike Accident Law FAQs
Our bike accident attorneys understand that many families have unanswered questions about dealing directly with insurance companies after being harmed in an accident involving a bicycle. A Chicago bicycle accident lawyer from our law offices has answered some of those questions below.
Contact an accident attorney today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) for additional information.
What laws does Chicago have to protect cyclists?
Cyclists in Chicago are subject to many of the same traffic laws and regulations as motor vehicles. Also, motorists must obey laws regarding driving on the road with bicycles.
In Chicago and Illinois, these cycling laws are in place to prevent accidents involving cyclists and to protect riders from injury. Often when these rules are ignored, accidents occur, causing serious injuries.
Bicycle accidents occur when a driver violates an ordinance. It may help determine fault or liability for injured bicyclists. The Chicago Municipal Code (Section 9-52) requires bicycle riders to follow traffic laws or be subject to a penalty. However, specific other laws target the prevention of accidents on the road in Chicago.
Chicago cyclists are also protected under the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5). Illinois statute also requires motorists to:
- Yield to bicyclists approaching an intersection
- Use caution when opening a car door or loading passengers
- Use 'due care' when driving around cyclists
How much is an Illinois bicycle accident case worth?
The Illinois average for bike accident recoveries is approximately $300,000.
State median recoveries for bike accidents range between $25,000 and $40,000. 75% of cases recovered under $100,000, and 10% of cases recovered more than $1,000,000, according to the Jury Verdict Reporter.
Factors, which may contribute to the value of a bicycle injury case, include economic and non-economic damages, including:
- The severity of harm sustained by injured cyclists, as noted in the medical records
- Medical costs for past and future care
- Wages lost because of the incident
- Amount of insurance coverage
- The automobile insurance company for the responsible driver or party
- Opinions as to the permanency of the injuries offered by a treating physician, including future medical attention
- How an incident occurred and the severity of the impact
- The jurisdiction where the crash occurred
Our bicycle accident attorneys have represented many injured bike riders in Illinois with personal injury claims.
What can I do if my child is injured while riding his bike?
You can bring a lawsuit yourself on your child's behalf for the injuries, expenses, and physical and mental suffering caused by the collision. If your minor child was injured in an Illinois accident, you might be able to recover damages on their behalf.
You can bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party for negligence as your child's parent and "next friend." As the plaintiff, you need to prove the following:
- The defendant had a duty not to injure your child
- They breached that duty
- Your child was injured and suffered damages due to the defendant's breach
In a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove that your child was fatally injured because of the defendant's misconduct, intentional or otherwise and that you suffered damages because of the death.
Typically, if a child acted negligently in an accident that injured him, the legal doctrine of comparative negligence will reduce the amount you can recover from another party or even bar your recovery completely.
In Illinois, if a minor child between the ages of seven and fourteen is involved in an accident, there is a rebuttable presumption that the child is incapable of contributory negligence.
This law presumes that the child cannot be responsible for the accident, but the opposing party can overcome that presumption by showing sufficient evidence. The jury must consider the child's age, capacity, intelligence, and experience in determining their fault (Savage v. Martin, 256 Ill. App. 3d 272 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993)).
Can more than one driver be held liable for my injuries in an Illinois injury claim?
Yes. Illinois bicycle laws allow multiple parties to be held responsible for bicycle accidents in certain situations. Many Illinois bike collisions involve contact with more than one vehicle. In many motor/vehicle bicycle accident cases, a bicyclist will be struck by a vehicle as they attempt to avoid a collision with another car.
The theory claims that any member of a defendant class can be held responsible for the plaintiff's damages, even if its role in the accident was minor. It also gives an inherent advantage to claimants because it allows them to recover from defendants with the most significant ability to pay.
How long is the statute of limitation in Illinois for a bicycle accident case?
In Illinois, victims generally have two years from their injury to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for personal injuries is codified in 735 ILCS 5/13-202.
The law states that after two years, victims are barred from filing any legal action against the at-fault party. However, there could be exemptions to the rule if:
- Settlement negotiations were ongoing or
- A minor was involved in the accident
If these exceptions apply, then the statute of limitations would be extended. It is wise to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options as soon as possible after an accident.
Finally, remember that Illinois bike laws are complex, and each bike crash case differs based on unique circumstances and evidence. Contact a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 to discuss your case.
Chicago Bicycle Accident Attorneys Here for You
Nothing could significantly prepare you for an accident if you were injured in a Chicago bicycling crash caused by another's negligence.
Insurance companies work quickly to offer injured parties a settlement that may be inadequate and insufficient with the hope that you will accept their offer.
Before you consider resolving a bike injury case, talk to an experienced bicycle accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, which has successfully resolved hundreds of claims and lawsuits for injured cyclists.
Our law firm provides free case evaluations for all Illinois bicycle injuries and accidents.
Call us at (888) 424-5757 for a free case evaluation or complete our online contact form for assistance and let our Chicago bicycle accident lawyers help you with your financial recovery.