Decatur Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle accidents are common throughout the country, but there is no set of rules that dictate who should pay when they occur. This problem leaves it up to the insurance companies involved to decide whether they believe you deserve compensation for your injuries.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC will help ensure that you get fair treatment from these insurance companies.
Therefore, it is important that if you are injured in a bike accident involving a bicycle, then contact the Decatur bike accident lawyer immediately so our law firm can help protect your rights as soon as possible.
Call our Decatur, IL personal injury lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free initial consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with your bike accident lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Bicycling in Decatur, Illinois
Bicycles provide a fun, healthy, and economical way to get around town, but they can also be dangerous. To safely ride your bike on public roads, it is important to understand and obey the traffic laws specific to cyclists.
Bicycling is a wonderful way to stay fit and save money on transportation and is becoming more popular as a recreational activity than ever before.
Unfortunately, Decatur's limited access to bike paths and trails forces avid bicycle enthusiasts to include public streets in their routes. Sadly, this can place them at risk of being injured by distracted drivers.
When you have suffered bodily harm due to a bike accident, it is important to know your rights and to seek compensation for the cost of your medical treatment.
The Decatur bicycle accident lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are prepared to answer any questions you have and protect your interests if you have been hurt.
In addition, our attorneys handle Decatur bike accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you never need to pay the Decatur bike accident lawyer a legal fee unless there is a monetary recovery.
Riding Bicycles Safely in Decatur, Illinois
Decatur offers paths and trails to those who seek an off-road experience when riding their bicycles. Still, most of these paths are less than two miles long and not suitable for the more experienced rider who wishes to enjoy a longer ride.
For this reason, many of the routes chosen utilize city streets, and bikers must be careful to abide by the Illinois Rules of the Road to prevent bicycle crashes.
Chapter 11, Article 15 of the Illinois Vehicle Code specifies the responsibilities of bicyclists:
- Bicyclists are afforded all the same rights on public roads as motor vehicles but must also adhere to the same set of laws.
- When making a turn, you must first signal your intention to turn and move into the appropriate lane for your turn.
- Carrying passengers on your bicycle is strictly prohibited as it poses a risk of injury to both your passenger and you.
- Unless preparing to make a left turn, you must always remain as far to the right as safely possible. The only other exception is if you intend to move straight through an intersection that has a right turn lane.
- Equip your bicycle with a headlamp and rear reflector when riding at night so that motorists can see you.
- You are responsible for ensuring that your child also follows the laws and may be subject to a fine if you knowingly allow a child to break a traffic law.
While there is not an abundance of bike trails throughout Decatur, you may consider joining the Decatur Bicycle Club if you seek an adventure or do not wish to ride alone.
Members schedule daily rides and longer trips over the weekends, and there are plenty of rides for family participation.
Common Injuries to Cyclists Caused by Driver Negligence
Bicycle accidents are often the result of careless or reckless driving due to motorists operating a vehicle while distracted, failing to notice bicyclists, or not recognizing cyclists' rights while on public roads.
Vehicles are becoming equipped with innovative technologies to protect passengers, but they are not available to protect bicyclists exposed to their surroundings. For this reason, injuries to cyclists are more severe and may require both immediate treatment and a long-term treatment plan.
Common bicycle accident injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries: A bike rider colliding with a moving passenger vehicle or commercial truck can suffer catastrophic traumatic brain injuries that are life-altering or deadly.
- Spinal cord damage: Since a bike accident typically involves a bicyclist being thrown from their bike and colliding with the ground, there is a high risk of spinal cord injury. Once again, if the passenger vehicle strikes the bicyclist from behind, this can cause severe damage to the spine and paralysis.
- Road rash: When a bike rider crashes or is thrown from their bike, the skin can be worn away by hitting the ground or friction with the bicycle.
- Compound fractures and broken bones: Since most bicycles do not include any safety equipment and bicyclists are unprotected in a crash. As a result, there is a high risk of broken bones in many body areas, including arms, legs, and ribs.
- Deep cuts and abrasions: From glass, metal, or contact with the pavement: These lacerations can often become infected and lead to serious health complications if not properly treated.
- Dismemberment or amputation: The blunt force trauma of a moving vehicle colliding with the human body can result in the dismemberment of the foot, hand, arm, or leg.
- Neurological disorders: Resulting from undiagnosed trauma to the brain: Without proper diagnosis, many bicycle accident victims suffer delayed head injuries that manifest as long-term neurological disorders, such as chronic headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.
- Death: Sadly, death is also a common outcome of a bicycle accident when a passenger vehicle is involved. Bicyclist deaths are typically the result of negligent driving
When seeking treatment for injuries following a bike accident, it is important to work with an attorney who understands the complexities of personal injury law, the legal process, and negotiating with the responsible party's insurance company. Our legal team can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Why Bicycle Accidents Occur
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), bicycle accidents happen more often than many believe, with almost two million reported in the US each year. In addition to the human toll, bicycle accidents also result in economic costs of about $4 billion per year.
In Chicago alone, there were 37 fatalities from bicycle accidents in 2019 and an additional 1,602 major injuries. Out of all the major U.S. cities, Chicago had the fifth-highest number of bicycle fatalities in 2018 after New York City, Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.
The NSC uses several factors to determine these numbers, including population, employment rates, among other things. When comparing apples to apples using data from 2012-2016 for all fatal bike accidents, the rate per capita is highest in these smaller cities.
While fatalities are more common in rural areas, injuries are more common in urban areas. There are various reasons for this, but one of the most common explanations is more bicyclists on the road in urban areas.
Young Male Cyclists Most at Risk
When there are more bicyclists on the road, there are more opportunities for bicycle crashes to happen.
Unfortunately, these bicyclists also tend to be younger and male, which explains why young males between the ages of 15-24 represent almost 50% of all bike crash fatalities. The next largest age group for fatal bike accidents is 45-64-year-olds (25%).
The most common times for bike accidents are between the hours of 4-7 p.m. There is a higher risk for bicycle accidents on weekends but more fatal bike accidents during the week than on weekends.
Many people ask the question: Why do these bike/motor vehicle accidents happen? The NSC lists several reasons why these accidents can occur:
- Some cyclists do not obey road rules
- Some motorists do not look for bicyclists before turning or opening their car door
- Road hazards, such as potholes, can cause bike accidents
- Poorly designed roads and intersections make it difficult for cyclists to navigate
- Driving or riding a bicycle impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Adverse weather conditions
- Distracted driving can lead to bike accidents, whether the driver is behind the wheel of a car or on a bicycle
The most important thing to remember is that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Just because they are on a bike, it does not mean that they are exempt from following the road rules.
How to Avoid a Severe Bicycle Accident
According to the CDC, over 51 million bike riders in the United States. And like any other vehicle on the road, bike riders must use caution to avoid bicycle accidents involving other motorists.
While cars put cyclists at risk for a bike crash, bicycles can also be dangerous to the rider if not properly maintained or used.
Here's how you can stay safe while riding on the road:
1) Always follow traffic rules
Ensure that all your equipment is working properly and that you obey any local laws regarding bicycle use on public roads.
In most states, bicycle riders have to obey the same traffic regulations as those who drive cars. Bicycles must yield to motor vehicles, stop at red lights, and stop at stop signs.
2) Make sure you can be seen at night
If possible, always try to ride your bike during the day when traffic is likely to be clearer. However, if you know that clear traffic isn't an option because of your schedule or where you need to go, be sure that all lights on your bicycle are working.
For example, red rear reflectors and white front reflectors are required by law in many states. In addition, using a headlight is also a good idea.
3) Use hand signals
When turning or stopping, use the appropriate hand signal to indicate your intentions to drivers around you. Hand signals will help them anticipate your movements and avoid possibly dangerous situations.
4) Follow the "rules of the road"
According to the League of American Bicyclists, over 50 percent of bicycle/car accidents occur when cyclists ride on sidewalks instead of on the roads with vehicular traffic.
Riding your bicycle in designated cycling areas is safer than riding on busy streets, but you must obey all traffic laws in those areas as well. Dismounting and walking your bike across intersections is also a good way to stay safe.
5) Wear a helmet
This one should go without saying, but it's worth repeating: always wear a helmet when riding your bicycle. A good helmet can protect your head in the event of a fall or collision.
6) Drink responsibly
Like drivers, bicycle riders need to be aware of their level of intoxication while riding. It's never a good idea to ride your bike after drinking alcohol or using other drugs that can impair your ability to ride safely.
7) Be aware of your surroundings
Keep an eye out for anything that could potentially cause you harm while on the road. For example, be aware of parked cars that could open their doors in your path or large potholes or debris that could damage your bike or cause a bike accident if hit.
8) Don't let technology distract you
Bicycles are becoming increasingly high-tech machines with many bells and whistles, but it's important to remember that these gadgets can also be a distraction. So keep your phone in your pocket and your attention on the road while riding.
9) Take a safety course
If you're unsure how to ride safely in traffic or are worried about your ability to do so, consider taking a bicycle safety course to learn valuable skills for biking on the road.
10) Exercise common sense
It's important to always make smart decisions when riding your bike, even if you follow all of the rules. For example, you should be using discretion when deciding whether it's safe to ride in a certain area or how fast you should go while keeping yourself and others safe.
Maintaining your bike is just as important as riding safely on the road. If you're not already an experienced mechanic, consider taking a course to learn how to fix and maintain your bicycle so that it runs smoothly and safely.
Bicycling advocates can also help by contacting their government representatives to know they support better biking infrastructure and improved cyclist safety laws.
Finally, anyone injured by a negligent motorist should also contact an attorney to discuss their legal options. A car/bike accident is considered the motorist's fault, and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages paid by the defendant's insurance company.
Filing a Personal Injury Compensation Claim
When a cyclist is involved in a bike accident with a careless or reckless driver, resulting in bike accident injuries can be both painful and expensive. Obtaining maximum compensation for a bicycle crash is not automatic, even if the victim suffers a serious injury.
The legal process to resolve a bike crash requires dealing directly with the insurance companies and adjusters representing the negligent party and others involved in the collision.
According to civil tort law, the injured bike riding, or their bicycle accident attorneys, must prove four elements to obtaining the compensation that includes:
- The negligent driver had a duty to provide the bicycle accident victims a safe environment when sharing the road or bike lanes
- The negligent driver (responsible party) failed in their duty, leading to a bike accident
- The bicycle crash led to the victim's death, severely broken bones, soft tissue injuries, or property damage
- The victim or their estate's damages can be proven in civil court
Proving the four elements only the liable parties accountable typically results in fair compensation to pay for all your medical expenses along with other damages that could include:
- Hospital bills
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages and future lost earnings
- The cost of needed physical therapy, rehabilitation, and surgery
- Burial and funeral expenses in preventable death cases
- Pain, suffering, grief, emotional trauma, and mental anxiety
- All other economic and non-economic damages
If you seek relief for your severe injuries, you may look to recover damages through an injury claim. Consult with an attorney to know what evidence must be presented to prove the other party's negligent behavior.
Submitting a Wrongful Death Suit
Surviving family members who lost a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle have the legal right to recover compensation citing wrongful death.
Typically, qualifying family members include the surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parent, grandparent, siblings, and others.
Illinois law provides a legal remedy for the family, ensuring that they receive the following damages:
- All economic losses resulting from the fatal bike accident, including expenses for medical treatment, hospitalization, funeral costs, and loss of future earnings
- Non-economic losses, including pain, suffering, mental anxiety, grief, emotional trauma
- Punitive damages are also possible that are designed to punish the defendant for willful or reckless misconduct that led to a preventable death
- Damages are provided for each bicyclist killed in the car accident, with each family member receiving a portion of damages based on their relationship to the deceased
Trying to Manage All These Issues Can Be Difficult
The pain they cause is devastating. No matter how much you've worked to do everything right, there is a good chance you will suffer some form of injury when involved in a bike accident.
You may not be able to work and earn the same income as before, and your injuries could prevent you from performing many activities that were once normal. If the at-fault party was driving a vehicle, they could be held accountable for their negligent behavior.
Hiring Decatur Bicycle Accident Attorneys When Resolving a Bicycle Accident Case
Were you injured due to another person's carelessness? Are you facing an accumulation of medical bills and are likely unable to work during your recovery?
The;Decatur bike accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have been able to recover compensation for hundreds of clients so that they could focus on their physical recovery rather than worry about another financial burden.
Contact a bike accident lawyer now at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. Let your bicycle accident lawyer evaluate your case and discuss the legal options available to you.
Our law firm accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you will not pay your bicycle accident lawyer until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.