Yes. You can sue a bicyclist who hit you while you were jogging on a marked bike path because, unless marked otherwise, these are mixed-use paths and are intended for both cyclists and joggers/walkers.
When a pedestrian and bicyclist collide, it raises the question of their rights and duties vis-a-vis each other. Under Illinois law, a pedestrian is owed a legal duty of care from operators of motorized vehicles. But what about bicyclists? The state as well as Chicago and other of its cities grant both cyclists and pedestrians rights and duties in their vehicle codes. In particular, they give bicyclists the same rights that drivers of motor vehicles enjoy. This means that cyclists also have the same responsibility as motorists to obey stop signs, traffic signals, and other rules of the road that are applicable to cars, trucks, and motorcycles. In other words, bikes are treated in much the same way as cars are treated for the purposes of Illinois law.
Just as you would call 9-1-1 if you or a companion were hit by a vehicle, you should call the police if you are struck by a cyclist to document the incident and to obtain necessary medical treatment.
How do I Pursue Compensation if I am Hit by a Bicyclist?
In Chicago, cyclists and joggers are fortunate to have extensive bike paths across the city and along Lake Michigan. As noted above, many bike paths are intended for both bicyclists and pedestrians to share. Particularly during weekends when the paths become congested, there have been incidents where cyclists have struck pedestrians, causing significant injuries. While these collisions are different from most cases of pedestrian injury in that there is no automobile insurance coverage available, an injured pedestrian can still pursue a cause of action against the cyclist for negligence.
In your claim, you would have to argue that the bicyclist failed to exercise reasonable care in riding their bike to avoid hitting you. Further, you would have to show you suffered injuries as a result of the bike rider’s unreasonable conduct. Then you could seek recovery for the following economic and noneconomic damages (if applicable):
- Medical bills including surgeries, physicians’ charges, hospital costs and therapy
- Lost wages/income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of normal life
- Miscellaneous expenses (travel to physical therapy appointments; crutches, wheelchairs and other durable equipment, etc.)
Is my Claim Affected by how Fast the Bicyclist was Riding?
Yes. Illinois law prohibits bicyclists from riding their bikes too fast for road conditions and requires them to travel at a rate that is safe for the situation. Therefore, if you argued they were bicycling too fast for the conditions (crowded path, for instance), they might be in violation of the law and negligent per se (this is a legal term meaning that just the fact that the defendant’s conduct violated a local statute or ordinance makes them automatically negligent). This would make it a lot easier to argue that the bicyclist is responsible for your injuries.
What if my Negligence Contributed to the Accident?
There are situations in which joggers or walkers may not exercise care when sharing a bike path with bicycles and a cyclist may not be able to avoid hitting a pedestrian. In these cases, the injured pedestrian’s recovery for their injuries may be reduced or barred altogether.
Illinois follows the doctrine of modified comparative fault, which means that if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident that injured you, you cannot successfully sue the other party for damages. If you are found less than 50 percent at fault, the damages paid to you will be reduced by the percentage you are found at fault. If you are found 45 percent to blame, for example, you will only be able to recover the cost of 55 percent of your medical and other expenses. Usually, a jury or judge is responsible for apportioning fault between the parties to an accident.
Still Wondering if You Have a Pedestrian Accident Claim?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC meets every day with injured pedestrians across Illinois. We can help you understand how the laws affect your situation and how you can seek justice through the courts. We work on contingency so our clients don’t need to worry about any legal fees or out-of-pocket costs until the case is resolved. To learn more about how we can help you recover compensation for your injuries, contact our pedestrian accident attorneys today.