Yes, Illinois law can hold multiple people responsible for bicycle accidents in certain situations.
How Does Illinois Decide if I can Recover in Bike Accident Cases?
Under the comparative negligence doctrine, more than one person can be at fault. 735 ILCS 5/2-1116. In Illinois, defendants that are found liable for the plaintiff's injuries are jointly and severally liable to the plaintiff. 735 ILCS5/2-1117. The trier-of-fact determines the percentage of fault of each party, and your damages are reduced by your own percentage of fault. 735 ILCS 5/2-1117.
What Happens if I hit Multiple Cars in a Bike Accident?
In many cases a bicyclist will be struck by one vehicle as they avoid another motorist's actions. This is common in "dooring" accidents, when a driver opens their door into a bike lane, which is against the law in Chicago, causing the bicyclist to swerve and be hit be another driver. Under 625 ILCS 5/11-1407, it is unlawful to open the door of a vehicle on the side of moving traffic, unless it is safe to do so. In this type of case, it is possible that both motorists would be at fault and liable for injuries to the bicyclist.
How do I Pursue Recovery in a Bicycle Accident Case?
Illinois laws for how to pursue recovery in bike accident lawsuits can be confusing. First, you need to sue everyone who may have caused the incident and your injuries. Then, you need to show in court that they collectively injured you. Then, you can seek damages from every defendant. Illinois lets you do this because it follows the theory of joint and several liability. This means that any member of a defendant class is entirely responsible for the plaintiff's damages even if they only contributed a small fraction to the accident. Illinois has this rule to make it easier for plaintiffs to recover. If the defendant feels they paid more than their fair share to the plaintiff, they can seek contribution from other defendants, but only after fulfilling their total obligation to the plaintiff. This is an implicit advantage for claimants because it allows them to recover from deep-pocketed defendants that had little to do with the incident.
Wondering who is Responsible for Your Illinois Bicycle Accident?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has helped many victims of Illinois bicycle accidents get recovery in court against all different kinds of defendants: truckers, trucking companies, and others. We can help you quickly identify who is responsible for your injuries and who best to bring a claim against. Then, we can make sure your claim is successful on contingency so you won't pay for a dollar of fees if it's not. Call our offices to open your case today. Your recovery is waiting for you!