Bicycle Accident Settlements: How to Value Bike Injury Cases
While reviewing this information, keep in mind that compensation for injuries related to a bike accident are generally comprised of economic and non-economic damages such as: medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, property damage and occasionally punitive damages in cases of extreme conduct.
While this information can be a starting point, we appreciate that you may have questions about the value of your situation. Consequently, we invite you to contact our law firm for a free consultation regarding your legal options and value of your potential case.
Impact of Auto Insurance Companies in Bike Accident SettlementsLike it or not, insurance companies for the motorists who caused your accident will play a significant role in the value of your case. The company itself and even the insurance adjuster assigned to your case can have an impact on the ultimate settlement amount.
While a person injured in a typical car accident case may be temporarily injured as a result of a crash, bicyclists tend to have ongoing issues related to their injuries. Consequently, our bicycle accident lawyers approach each interaction with insurance companies with the understanding of the significance of the negotiations.
Please refer to the pages below of some do the most frequently asked questions for information on typical bicycle accident settlements:
- How Much are Bike Accident Soft Tissue Injury Cases Worth?
- How Much are Bike Accident Bone Fracture Cases Worth?
- How Much are Bike Accident Back and Neck Injury Cases Worth?
- How Much are Bike Accident Brain Injury Cases Worth?
- How Much are Bike Accident Wrongful Death Cases Worth?
Contact our office for a free review of your Illinois bicycle accident case. You can talk to a lawyer without any cost or obligation on your part.
Past Illinois Bike Accident AwardsIf you suffer an injury in a bike accident, your concern will be how to pick up the pieces and move forward. Of course, recovery through the justice system is the most likely route for things along the way including medical bills, loss of income, and property damage. But how much is your bike accident case worth?
To answer that question, it is helpful to look at past cases with similar injuries. Here are bike accident case summaries grouped by common injuries to give you a sense of comparable recoveries.
How Much are Bike Accident Soft Tissue Injury Cases Worth?
Soft tissue injuries are complicated because they might require a delicate balance between surgery and rehabilitation. The exact solution will depend on the individual's injury. Yet, we know they will be expensive and that directly relates to the value of the case like the following ones:
HAGGERTY VS. THE CITY OF CHICAGO; 2005; DUPAGE COUNTY; $350,000 JURY AWARD
This incident involved a 51-year-old female bicyclist. She was hit by a truck when it crossed the yellow line and knocked her off her bike. She sustained multiple soft tissue injuries as well as a broken arm.
The defendants retorted that they were not liable, and that the plaintiff bicycle-rider did not mitigate her damages by seeing a doctor for her various injuries, so the matter went to trial. Eventually, a jury found for the woman and awarded her $350,000 for pain and suffering.
ZAKUTA VS. STRAIGHT; 1999; COOK COUNTY; $179,600 JURY AWARD
The victim in this case was a retired man in his late sixties. He was riding his bike around Chicago and approached a busy intersection. Seeing he had the right of way, he proceeded across the street when a car sped through the crosswalk and hit him.
The result was the biker suffered a soft tissue injury to his elbow and various injuries and lacerations to his spine, ribs, and shoulder. He quickly sued for negligence and claimed that the automobile driver should have slowed upon the intersection and yielded to him.
The defendant turned around and repeated the same allegations to him and added that the biker was riding at a negligently fast speed. The jury awarded the plaintiff $179,600 but also apportioned him 10% of the responsibility for the incident so the award was eventually lowered to $161,640. This represents a sizeable recovery over the plaintiff's actual claimed medical and wages damages of approximately $25,000.
O'REILLY VS. PINEDA; 1997; LAKE COUNTY; $20,000 JURY AWARD
A 25-year-old man was hit by a car when he was riding his bike around Northern Illinois. His most significant injury was to his soft tissue around his hip, but he also sustained a dislocated shoulder.
He lost and the plaintiff was awarded $20,000. This might seem significant, but it was not much more than half of the economic damages that the plaintiff asked for in his complaint.
STUART VS. J&P FOOD SERVICE; 1997; WILL COUNTY; $150,000 JURY AWARD
A middle-aged woman was knocked off her bicycle by a truck when she is riding around a town in the suburbs of Chicago. She sustained soft tissue injuries in her neck and back as well as a head injury. She sued the driver and the driver's boss for negligence.
She claimed that they were responsible for these injuries as well as the seizures that resulted from them. The defendants admitted they were responsible for the accident but denied the extent of her injuries.
Specifically, they claimed that the seizures were not the result of their actions but did not deny they caused the aforementioned injuries. A jury awarded the woman $150,000. This was more than three times her claimed medical and wages damages.
How Much are Bike Accident Bone Fracture Cases Worth?
Bone fracture injuries from bike accidents are generally worth the amount spent on medical bills and the amount lost from missed work. However, that figure can increase if the harms are more extensive, require rehab, and have other extenuating factors.
The plaintiff in this case was riding his bike in a bike lane when he was immediately and violently thrown after riding over a trench. The trench was adjacent to a construction zone and the ground underneath it was loose causing him to lose control of his bike and fly to the ground.
He suffered a spinal fracture. At trial, he claimed the construction company failed to warn him of the latent dangers in the area, did not protect him from the construction conditions, and should have had a guard to redirect bikers and pedestrians.
The construction company responded that there was a safe and alternate path around the construction site that he could have taken. At court, the jury found that the company inadequately warned the plaintiff of the unsafe conditions and that that proximately caused his injuries.
LEVIN VS. CTA; 2010; COOK COUNTY; $1,300,000 JURY AWARD:
In this case, a man was riding his bike around Chicago on Halsted Street. He was simply minding his own business in the bike lane when a large vehicle nudged him out of the way.
The vehicle was in fact a CTA bus and the little nudge sent him flying over his handlebars. He broke his elbow and had numerous other injuries. He sued the CTA and argued that its driver failed to exercise caution while driving, keep a lookout, or stay out of the bike lane.
The CTA responded that the biker should have yielded to the bus and that he was contributorily negligent. At trial, the jury bought the plaintiff's side of the story and awarded him approximately $1,300,000 in damages.
CARVEY VS. COMMONWEALTH OF EDISON; 2005; COOK COUNTY; $2,500,000 SETTLEMENT:
A women was biking along a path in Palos Heights when she unexpectedly hit a stop block and flew to the ground. She broke several bones in her back and was a quadriplegic following the accident.
As it turned out, Commonwealth of Edison actually leased the grounds on which the path sat and was in charge of monitoring and taking care of the area. So, the women turned her sights on the company in her eventual suit for damages. She claimed that it was negligent in defending bicyclists from the dangers posed by these blocks.
The company responded that the condition was "open and obvious”, and that the plaintiff was very well area of her environment. She had ridden on the path several times prior to this occasion. However, faced with her extraordinary injuries and mounting pressure, Commonwealth of Edison decided settlement offer would be preferable to trial early on in the case and both sides reached agreement at $2,500,000.
ESPARZA VS. KANJIYANI; COOK COUNTY; $95,000 JURY AWARD:
A bicyclist was riding along the lake in a bike lane next to the highway when a cab driver crashed into him. Suing the driver and the driver's employer, he claimed that the cab driver was negligent by failing to slow down, stop at the stop sign, and control his car.
Also, the plaintiff alleged that the cab company should have maintained the brakes of the cab in a better fashion. The defendants countered that the bicyclist was actually the negligent party because he was biking too fast, did not yield to the cab, and was not wearing a helmet. The jury believed the biker and awarded him $95,000.
How Much are Bike Accident Back and Neck Injury Cases Worth?
Back and neck claims due to bike accidents can obtain some of the highest awards and settlements. This is true because they often 1) demand the most expensive medical treatment 2) take the longest to recover from and 3) dramatically change the quality of a person's life. Read these case summaries to understand more!
The plaintiff in this case was out for a leisurely bike ride in the suburbs of Chicago. She was a 51-year-old secretary. She entered an intersection within the bike lane and was struck by a car resulting in serious back and pelvic injuries. The defendant claimed, and a witness confirmed, that she actually darted out of the crosswalk and into his vehicle. However, maybe convinced by the fact that the plaintiff was found lying in the crosswalk after the accident, the jury awarded her $49,000 in damages.
HIRTE VS. NRJM INC.; COOK COUNTY; $2,065,000 JURY AWARD:
Here, the plaintiff was biking around her hometown of Deerfield when a Domino's truck slammed into her. She sued the driver and the company because the employee was acting in the course of his employer at the time of the accident for her significant back injuries and other harms.
She argued that the driver should have kept better control of his vehicle and yielded to her. The defendants responded that she was contributorily negligent by suddenly leaving the bike lane and darting out into the street.
Therefore, they denied proximately causing her injuries. A Cook County jury returned a verdict in her favor for $2,065,000 for disability, lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
CARTER VS. PACATTE; LAKE COUNTY; $480,000 JURY AWARD:
Warren Carter was riding his bike around the sleepy town of Grayslake in Lake County when a truck driver inadvertently crashed into him. The driver was apparently looking for his phone at the time of the incident and lost control of his vehicle.
As a result, Carter sustained arm and back injuries. Despite all appearances, the defendant tried to make the case that the plaintiff was really at fault and responsible for the crash; he argued Carter should have kept a better lookout and maintained lights on his bike.
As you might have guessed, the jury did not buy this argument and found for the plaintiff for $480,000 for disfigurement, loss of normal life, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
How Much are Bike Accident Brain Injury Cases Worth?
Brain injury cases average much more than other claims because of the way these accidents alter the victim's life. Work, relationships, and recreation are never the same again. Read what these bike accident victims obtained to get a sense of what relief is possible.
The plaintiff in this case was riding his bike along a busy street without a helmet. The defendant parked his car and opened the door to exit when the plaintiff came flying into his vehicle.
The jury eventually found for the plaintiff but did not award him much, $114,000, considering his brain injuries. This might be considered a compromise because that number roughly correlates to the average cost of treatments for brain injuries.
JOSAIAH VS. JAEGER; LAKE COUNTY; $11,000 JURY AWARD
In this interesting case, the bicyclist was actually the antagonist of the story. A college student was driving his car when someone on a bike veered into his lane on a road where bicycling was not even permitted. In order to dodge the biker, the student turned his car off the road but could not avoid hitting a tree and sustaining a concussion and other various personal injuries. He eventually sued the biker who countered that it was actually the plaintiff's negligence that caused the incident. The jury awarded the student approximately $11,000.
ORTIZ VS. JESUS; COOK COUNTY; $682,000 JURY AWARD
The plaintiff in this case was a mom out for a leisurely bike ride with her family on Mother's Day. She was only in her mid-30s. She paused briefly to wait for others to catch up to her. Her resting place was right beside a wall that blocked a busy city street from an apartment complex. Several trees hugged the surface of the stone wall.
Without warning or provocation, a limb from one of the trees broke and fell right on top of her head. She sustained extensive skull fractures and brain injuries, requiring multiple surgeries. In her subsequent lawsuit, she alleged that the owner of the property did not adequately monitor or take care of the tree.
The defense countered that this was an act of God and they could not have known this was going to happen. However, evidence indicated that the cost to inspect and repair the tree was minimal. Faced with this information and the extreme hardship imposed on the plaintiff, the jury awarded her $682,000.
HAUPT VS. GUZIG; WILL COUNTY; $3,500,000 JURY AWARD
The victim here was a 15-yeard-old boy who had just entered high school. He was riding around town on his bike with a few other friends. When they all approached an intersection, he was the last to enter it. At that point, he was hit in the rear by a passing Cadillac.
The force of the collision sent the boy flying out of his seat onto the windshield of the car and then onto the ground. He did not come out of the resulting coma for weeks. When he did, there was an extraordinary traumatic brain injury that necessitated months and months of rehabilitation and physical therapy. He had to relearn how to speak and walk among other things.
The defendant said that the child had darted out of nowhere. Considering that the boy was the last of the group to cross the intersection, this story did not go over well with the jury who subsequently awarded the victim $3,500,000 to be paid by the driver's insurance company.
PUDGE VS. ELLIS; COOK COUNTY; $650,000 JURY AWARD
A man in his mid-40s was riding around the city of Chicago on his bike when he came to an intersection. Thinking he had the right of way, he continued on through the crossing but before he could make it out a car slammed into him, throwing him off his bike.
He suffered brain injuries so severe that he was placed in a permanent coma. Representatives for the man sued the driver who crashed into his bike. They claimed he was negligent by failing to slow down and avoid the accident. The defendant argued pretty much the same about the plaintiff, saying that the car actually had the right of way.
The jury returned a hefty $650,000 award for the plaintiff but also apportioned him with 50% of the responsibility for the accident, thereby lowering his net total $325,000. This seems to be a classic move when the jury is faced with a heavily injured plaintiff but also no clear at-fault party.
How Much are Bike Accident Wrongful Death Cases Worth?
SZYNALIK VS. CTA; COOK COUNTY; $5,500,000 SETTLEMENT
In this tragic incident, a woman was attempting to remove her bike from a rack attached to a Chicago Transit Authority bus when the same bus began to drive away and ran over her. She died from injuries related to this accident that very day. She left behind two sons. Her next of kin filed a lawsuit against the CTA for negligence.
The suit alleged the CTA was negligent in inadequately supervising the driver involved, warning passengers about the dangers inherent in removing bikes, designing an unsafe system, and other related items. Before any of these contentions could be proved or any defenses could be raised at trial, both sides agreed to settle for $5,500,000 related to past medical costs and wrongful death and survival actions.
ISHIQURO VS. BROWNING; COOK COUNTY; $6,000,000 JURY AWARD
Here, a little six-year-old boy sadly lost his life. He was riding his bike in the area surrounding his home when a garbage truck ran into his broadside and killed him.
The boy’s family sued the driver and the driver's employer arguing that the employee should have kept better control of his truck and kept alert to avoid the accident. The defendants responded that the boy shot out of nowhere and into the blind spot of the driver and that nothing could have been done to stop the crash. The jury disagreed and awarded the family $6,000,000.
MARSHALL VS. FUENTES; KANE COUNTY; $875,000 SETTLEMENT
Arlene Marshall was walking her bike along a relatively busy street in St. Charles, Illinois when a truck driver turned right and ran smack into her. She died later that day. Her brother brought wrongful death action. He alleged that the driver was driving too fast, did not maintain proper control of his vehicle, and was responsible for the crash that killed his sister.
The defendant driver disagreed. He said Arlene ignored traffic lights that compelled her to stop and that she darted out into traffic thereby making the collision inevitable. Both sides preferred settlement to trial and they arrived at $875,000 as the proper amount.
BATES VS. MERCY REGIONAL; POPE COUNTY; $1,200,000 JURY AWARD
A 13-year-old child was riding his bicycle on a street when an ambulance crossed the yellow line and knocked him over, killing him. His parents claimed that the behavior of the driver was beyond negligence-it was wanton willful-and based this contention on the speed of the defendant as well as the angle at which he collided into their son.
The defendant responded that it was immune from liability because he was driving an ambulance and that the child was also contributorily negligent. The judge dismissed the notion of immunity. The jury decided the driver was 60% at fault and the child was 40% at fault and awarded the plaintiff $1,200,000.
GAFF VS. SHERMAN HEALTH; KANE COUNTY; $2,225,000 SETTLEMENT
This bizarre story started out when a small child fell off his bike and seriously injured his head. His parents rushed him to the hospital where he proceeded to vomit profusely. After a normal battery of brain imaging and testing, doctors declared he merely had a concussion and sent him home.
However, his condition deteriorated, and his parents contacted the same doctors questioning whether he should undergo further evaluation. The doctors refused this option. Eventually, concerned for the health of their child, his parents brought him back to the hospital, but he died en route.
Seeking justice for the loss of their child, his family brought a wrongful death action against the hospital and medical providers. They countered with affirmative defenses that the child should have been wearing a helmet and that his parents should have kept better care of him.
However, one might wonder with what sincerity they raised these defenses because they soon settled with the plaintiffs for $2,225,000.
ALECK VS. LYNCH; WILL COUNTY; $1,250,000 SETTLEMENT
The driver of a SUV struck and killed a 14-year-old boy when he was riding bike on a busy road. The parents sued the at fault driver for wrongful death claiming that the defendant was driving too fast, did not keep a proper lookout, and failed to avoid crashing into the boy.
The defendant replied that it was the child who failed to keep a proper lookout and that the minor exited the crosswalk and veered into traffic. Both sides settled out of court for $1,250,000 for the policy limits of the driver's insurance policy.
Looking For More Information on Bicyle Accident Settlements? Talk With and Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today.Understanding the complicated dimensions of negligence and serious injuries that surround bicycle accident injuries is important, but there are many other factors in play that you should consider. Contact us today to hear about how all the relevant laws and statutes interplay with the particular facts of your personal injury claim and affect your chances at future recovery.
We have successfully resolved many personal injury cases on behalf of bicyclists and can give you legal advice on how your case may play out. Also, we can give you advice on who to talk to, what evidence to gather and preserve, and what information to gather and record.