As a personal injury attorney who enjoys cycling and the outdoors, I have been approached by many clients who do not know where to start when they have been injured in a bike accident.
Our bicycle accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about cycling accidents, and perhaps more importantly, some of the issues you need to be aware of if you are hurt in a cycling collision. Please review the Illinois bicycle accident FAQ below.
Bicycle riders should call the police and an experienced bicycle accident attorney after a ride crash involving any motor vehicle. Free consultation over the phone with an injury lawyer or experienced attorney can walk you through traffic laws involved in a bicycle accident case coverage and how the motor vehicle driver was at fault.
You might be surprised at the case worth of legal claims (even for the uninsured) after accidents in litigation. Just contact us and leave your phone and an attorney or group of lawyers from our office will respond quickly about what pay you can receive in a car claim and how you should deal with the police, insurance claims, and even hit-and-run ride coverage.
Does Chicago Have Laws that Protect Experienced Bicycle Riders?
Yes, Chicago has enacted cycling laws to prevent traffic accidents and protect bicyclists from injury by motorists. When these laws are ignored, accidents often occur that cause serious injury to cyclists. If a motorist was violating a city traffic ordinance, they may help determine fault or liability for injuries to the cyclist.
For instance, Chicago Municipal Code (Section 9-52) requires bicyclists to follow the rules of the road or be subject to a penalty. Other laws could subject motorists to certain rules designed to prevent bike accidents if they don’t drive appropriately when cyclists are in the vicinity, like these:
- Motorists must use due care to avoid crashing into a bicyclist.
- Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction when making a left-hand turn. This includes bicycles that are in or approaching an intersection.
- When making a right turn, motorists must not turn in front of a bicyclist traveling in the same direction.
- Motorists must give at least three feet of clearance when passing a rider in the same direction and maintain that clearance until they have safely passed the bicycle.
- Motorists should never drive, stand or park in a designated bike lane.
It is illegal for the driver to open a vehicle door into oncoming traffic unless it is safe to do so, and only to load or unload passengers.
If a motorist breaks these rules, you should file a police report and claim against the car driver that harmed you while you were riding. This could help you get coverage for medical treatment and claims from the car operator so you can ride again even if you are uninsured.
Contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney from our firm for free over the phone to learn more. A lawyer at our office could help make the liable party pay its fair share in litigation.
What are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
The five most common causes of bike accidents in the Chicagoland area are speeding, tailgating, inattentiveness, merging, and turning into their lane. Bicycle accidents can happen with motorists, other bicyclists, or even pedestrians.
These events can often have serious consequences on someone’s life like long-term injuries, huge medical bills, lost hobbies, and even lost self-esteem or reduced quality of life.
Contact an attorney from our office and a lawyer from our firm will show you how to file a claim after a car hits you. Our firm has lawyers all over the country including Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California; Austin, Texas; and all over the United States.
How Many People Die in Bicycle Accidents Each Year?
On average, almost one thousand died in fatal crashes every year. These statistics come from the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) . Over the last ten years, almost ten thousand bicyclists lost their lives in tragic crashes across the U.S.
Many of these fatal incidents involve motor vehicles including large truckers and other commercial drivers. After you speak with the police, contact an attorney to begin the claim process because it can take a while to complete them in many states especially California.
How Do Helmets Protect Your Head?
Medical studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of injury and severity of injury in an accident. They protect you by absorbing the force of the fall so that your brain or head does not have to take the blunt trauma.
Most helmets have two basic parts. The first is a big, hard shell that spreads out over your head. This deflects a lot of the pressure in the crash and that lowers the risk of fracture. The second common helmet component is a soft lining under the strong shell.
It takes the blow in a crash so that less force is put on your head. This basic construction can save your life if you are in a Chicago bicycle accident so it is important to wear one. 
What Injuries Can Happen When Your Helmet Cracks During an Accident?
You can suffer many serious personal injuries if you break your helmet during an Illinois crash. In fact, the fact that your helmet broke is probably a sign that you did injure yourself in some way.
Normally, the kinds of injuries you will sustain in this situation include a traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, hematoma, broken nose, ear or eye damage, or lacerations. However, you may also hurt other parts of your body including your knee, back, fingers, or harm.
Here are some signs that something might be wrong if your helmet cracks or breaks in a crash: pupil dilation; facial bruising; vision loss; lightheadedness; bleeding; or loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these, please see a doctor.
What Can I Do If My Child Was Harmed or Killed in a Bicycle Accident?
If your child is injured in a bike crash, you should take immediate action to protect their health.
- Rush them to a doctor for medical attention.
- Call the cops so that the wrongful party can be apprehended and a report can be filed.
- Take photos and make notes about the scene of the accident, how it happened, and anything about the circumstances of the crash.
- Ask the other person involved in the incident for their contact information as well as their insurance carrier information.
- Hire a bicycle accident personal injury law firm to investigate what relief may be available for your child and to pursue that compensation.
If your child is harmed or killed in a tragic Chicago bicycle collision, you can take steps to get justice on their behalf.
What Should I Do After a Bicycle Accident?
If you witness a bicycle accident in Chicago, call 911. Then, try to record any important information you can. Only approach the scene and try to assist the victim if it is safe for you to do so. Use caution in attempting to render any kind of first aid if you are medically untrained.
What Should I Take Pictures of if I am Injured in a Bicycle Accident?
If possible, try to take pictures of the accident scene including street signs and lights, important landmarks, vehicles/bicycles involved, and the damage done to them as well as your physical injuries.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive in an Illinois Bike Accident Lawsuit?
If you are injured in an Illinois bicycle collision, you can seek financial compensation for your medical bills, lost income, damage to your bike, pain, and suffering, and possibly punitive damages following a bicycle accident caused by another’s negligence.
Much depends on the particular facts of your case, but you may be entitled to compensation for more than just your medical bills. There are several types of damages, or costs, that you might be able to recover following a bicycle accident in Illinois.
What Will Insurance Cover if I am in a Bicycle Accident?
If the motorist was at fault in your bike crash, then their auto insurance coverage will offer you benefits for your medical expenses, pain, suffering, and related damages.
Therefore, you should remember to get the driver’s information immediately after the event so that you can follow up and collect all the benefits that the policy allows. Normally, you should ask for their phone number, license plate number, insurance carrier, and insurance policy number.
How Do I Collect Compensation for Permanent Damages Sustained in a Hit and Run Accident on a Bicycle?
You need to file a benefits claim or bicycle accident case with/ against the driver’s insurance company to obtain compensation for permanent and temporary injuries from a bike accident. The insurance company will ask for information related to the incident and your subsequent harm.
However, they will also try to elicit comments from you that will weaken or destroy your right to recover anything. This is why it is so important to conduct these conversations with your bicycle accident lawyer. You should also never speak to the at-fault driver without your lawyer because they will try the same maneuvers on you.
How Long Do I Have to File a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit?
Generally, you will have two years from the date of your accident to bring a case. For example, Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for the filing of personal injury actions. You must bring a lawsuit within two years from the date of the bicycle accident that caused your injuries or the claim will be forever barred.
It is advisable to consult with bicycle accident lawyers in a free consultation after an accident in your case. Crashes involving an injured minor or a municipal defendant can significantly alter the timeline and may require either the filing of a notice provision or filing a lawsuit in a shorter period of time.
Additionally, many accident cases involving motor vehicles require a significant amount of investigative work prior to filing a lawsuit. An investigation may be required to determine liability, who the proper defendants are, and to see if the person was working at the time of the events.
Who is Responsible if the Driver Who Hit Me on My Bike Was Working at the Time?
If the person was working during the crash, the driver and the driver’s employer might both be responsible for your bicycle accident injuries and damages, under the theory of respondeat superior.
In most bike accidents involving an on-the-job driver, the employer that the driver was working for at the time will be vicariously liable for any damages arising from the accident. This is known as respondeat superior, which is a common-law legal doctrine that holds that employers are responsible for their employees’ actions when made within the scope of their employment.
Can More Than One Driver Be Held Liable for My Injuries in an Illinois Bicycle Accident Case?
Yes, Illinois law allows multiple parties to be held responsible for bike collisions in certain situations.
Illinois follows the comparative fault doctrine, in which more than one person can be found liable for an accident involving a vehicle, including the plaintiff (injured person). The trier-of-fact (judge or jury) determines the percentage of fault of each party, and if you—the cyclist—share in the fault, your damages are reduced by your own portion of fault (735 ILCS 5/2-1116-17).
Here is how you prove responsibility when there are multiple defendants:
- Sue everyone who may have caused the accident that injured you.
- Show in court that their individual actions contributed to causing your injuries.
- Seek damages from each defendant involved in the events.
Can I Still Recover Compensation for My Injuries if I Was at Fault in the Bicycle Accident?
Yes, you are allowed to recover at least partial compensation for injuries you sustained in a bicycle accident as long as you are not found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
Illinois follows the doctrine of modified comparative fault, which bars recovery when an injured plaintiff is more than 50 percent liable for an accident (735 ILCS 5/ 2-1116). In Illinois, bicyclists who are injured in an accident and carry less than half of the blame for the event have the right to recover damages. However, their damages will be reduced by their percentage liability.
Is the Bike Maker Responsible for My Injuries if a Defective Part Caused My Bicycle Accident?
Yes, if the manufacturer’s negligent design or production caused a bicycle malfunction that resulted in your injury, you might be able to bring a product liability lawsuit against them.
Most of these incidents are not the result of collisions with other vehicles, but happen when the cyclist is riding alone. Many of these “solo” collisions are the result of poor maintenance and even defective bike components that make riding the bike so dangerous.
You might be able to recover damages from the bicycle’s manufacturer if a flaw in the design of the bike itself caused your accident and subsequent injuries, via a product liability lawsuit. Likewise, you can also use a bike repair shop if you can prove the shop was negligent in repairing your two-wheeler and the faulty repair contributed to your accident.
Do I Need to Discuss My Bicycle Accident with an Insurance Company if it Contacts Me?
No, you are not legally obligated to give an insurance company representative, or any other person, any statement about the bike incident, with the exception of law enforcement.
By law, you are not required to give insurance companies any verbal or written information or documents they might request of you before you have legal representation. Before discussing any details of your bicycle accident with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company, you should speak with a qualified accident attorney.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, insurance companies for the responsible party often try to obtain as much information as possible from the injured person in order to negotiate a low claim settlement. They are not looking out for your best interests, and often later use what you tell them against you.
Talk to an attorney today in Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California; Orlando, Florida; or anywhere else across the country.
Have More Illinois Bicycle Accident FAQs?
Contact our law office today for a free consultation. We have extensive experience with bicycle accident cases involving serious injuries. We can address your legal options and advise you of your potential claim.