Elgin Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Many costs can quickly add up if you're injured in an accident, especially someone else's fault.
Costs could include medical bills for treating your injuries, lost wages from time missed at work, pain and suffering caused by the incident. These are all things you will need to pay for yourself if the person responsible doesn't step up to take responsibility.
Contacting a lawyer right away is essential to ensure that your rights are protected and that you don't have to bear these costs alone. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for injured victims suffering harm through someone else's negligence.
An experienced Elgin personal injury attorney will be able to help negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf so that they cover these expenses instead of forcing them onto you or leaving them unaddressed altogether.
Call our law office at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
Bike Riding in Elgin, Illinois
Elgin's geographic location makes it an attractive destination for avid bicyclists from all over the Chicago area, as cyclists are close to local forest preserves and trails like the Illinois Prairie Path. However, as biking becomes a more popular recreational activity, the increased volume of cyclists presents new risks to their safety.
It is important to follow the rules of the road when riding to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident and protect your rights if you are harmed.
The Elgin bike accident lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are members of the finest law team in the area regarding protecting bicyclists' rights.
Elgin Offers Access to Exhilarating Bike Paths
Bicycle enthusiasts looking for a great way to enjoy an afternoon over the weekend need look no further than an adventure on one of the renowned paths that run through Elgin.
The Illinois Prairie Path has five main branches that follow old rail routes, and the Elgin branch runs over 27 miles, linking to paths that send bicyclists as far as Aurora or into the city.
The Fox River Trail runs along the Fox River and is an ideal path for riders who can appreciate a journey through forest preserves and in and out of residential and industrial backdrops. Comparisons are made between the Fox River Trail and Chicago's Lakeshore Path due to how both paths consistently run along with bodies of water.
The Bicycle Ambassador Program
In response to the need to educate more bicyclists on the state's bicycle laws and how to traverse city streets safely, Elgin launched an ambassador program in which specialists teach residents the rules of the road and how to protect themselves from injuries best.
Information provided includes how to choose proper safety gear, how to enter traffic safely, how to maintain a bicycle to prevent equipment malfunctions, and how to protect bicycles from theft.
Elgin's municipal code refers directly back to the Illinois Vehicle Code rather than establishing local ordinances regarding the operation of bicycles, except that all bicycles must be registered before operation.
Registration is free, and residents can obtain registration cards from the Police Department (Elgin Ordinance Chapter 11.44).
When riding your bicycle in traffic, Illinois law dictates that you must abide by the same laws that motorists are required to follow.
In addition, make sure to make yourself visible to the best of your ability to alert drivers of your presence, as many accidents involving bike riders result from drivers failing to see the cyclist.
At night, staying safe can be accomplished with a headlamp and lighted taillight or reflectors on the pedals and back of the bike.
National and Elgin Bicycle Statistics
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 100 cyclists are killed in motor vehicle crashes every year.
In addition, a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation that lasted from 1982 to 1992 found that nearly 53,000 people were injured in bicycle accidents with cars each year, equal to around 148 per day (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
The NHTSA 2008 traffic safety report states that bicyclists are killed in crashes with motor vehicles more often than in any other type of accident, which suggests the importance of taking precautions. According to the NHTSA, over 900 bicyclists died in 2011 alone.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Elgin is ranked as one of the top five cities with bicycle crashes resulting in death within the state of Illinois (Chicago Tribune). According to police officials, Elgin leads the list for fatal bike crashes, with 57 accidents resulting in death between 1996 and 2012.
Elgin Bicycle Accident and Helmets
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, nearly 80 percent of bicycle accidents were due to collisions with motor vehicles in 2012, significantly increasing from previous years.
In addition, not all bicyclists injured or killed were wearing helmets at crash time, even though helmet laws do lower the number of injuries by as much as 50 percent.
A study from the University of Southern California states that bicycle fatalities decreased by 14 percent after helmet laws were enacted in California.
In addition, data shows that wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle reduces the risk of head injuries by nearly 90 percent (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) on roads where speed limits are over 35 miles per hour.
A helmet's effectiveness is dependent on its ability to protect bicyclists from numerous types of traumatic brain injury. Therefore, helmets should be replaced after a bike accident or impact that damages more than just the outer shell.
Safety Training Course
The Elgin personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are advocates for the use of helmets by those who ride bicycles and other means of safety such as bike fenders and blinkers to reduce bike accidents among bicyclists. In addition, our personal injury law firm believes that motorists should be aware of bicyclists on roads and follow all traffic laws.
Completing a vehicle safety training course has been proven to reduce the risk of being involved in a serious or fatal bicycle accident by 50 percent.
Nearly 3/4 of all bicycle accidents occur after dark, while it is three times more likely for a bicyclist to be injured in October and November than during summer.
The most common causes of bicycle crashes include:
- Riding at night without any lights
- Riding through red lights or stop signs
- Changing lanes into oncoming traffic
- Running into parked cars
- Riding under the influence of alcohol
- Turning while riding on the wrong side of the road
- Hitting potholes or debris in the road
- Participating in group rides without carrying identification
Being proactive when driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle saves lives and minimizes the possible chance of severe injuries when a bike rider collides with trucks, cars, motorcycles, and other bicyclists.
Fatalities may have decreased by 14 percent, but this is still a problem that needs to be addressed. In addition, an increase in bicycle accident rates has been observed in all states across the nation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes the spike in bicycle fatalities to the fact that more people are biking for exercise, especially with gas prices being what they are. In other words, motorists and cyclists may be more rushed or distracted while commuting to work or school due to the nation's economic state.
These statistics indicate that helmet use while riding a bicycle can reduce injuries during accidents, but this is not enough evidence to mandate their usage in every state.
For example, Illinois does have a law requiring cyclists under 18 to wear helmets while cycling, but most states have no laws regarding helmet usage.
Many drivers must undergo education about bicycle safety to prevent injuries and fatalities from bike accidents.
- Riding a bike is great exercise, but you should do so in an area with very little traffic or on a trail far away from cars.
- If you are riding near cars, wear a helmet and follow all traffic laws.
- Be aware of other cyclists on the road, and be sure to check mirrors before changing lanes or turning because cars can come up from behind very quickly without warning.
- Do not speed because you feel invincible while riding a bike – no matter how slow you ride, someone will always come up fast behind you, and you don't want them to hit the back of your bike.
Bicycle Accidents Cause Severe Injuries
It is undeniable that using protective gear such as a helmet can greatly reduce the severity of your injuries if you are involved in a bike accident. Still, most of your body is exposed and vulnerable throughout a collision.
Bicyclists tend to suffer more serious injuries, which require immediate medical attention and long-term care during recovery.
Common injuries include the following:
- Compound fractures and shattered bones
- Deep abrasions, cuts, and puncture wounds, which may become infected or result in scarring
- Spinal injuries of the neck or back can result in paralysis or even death
- Broken wrist
- Road rash on knees, shins, and elbows
- Concussion with memory loss for several days after a bicycle accident
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting in a coma for two weeks and rehab for six months (no memory of the bicycle accident)
- Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Broken collar bone
- Facial lacerations, which required stitches and plastic surgery for scar removal following injury
- Neck pain, which resulted in herniated disc that required a second surgery to prevent future problems
These injuries take a toll on your physical well-being and result in emotional and financial hardships. Most people who ride bicycles do so for exercise. Still, they can put themselves at high risk of sustaining serious injuries or death if they engage in risky behavior such as riding the wrong way on a busy street.
The exorbitant cost of medical treatment often feels like an insult added to your pain when recovering from injuries following a bicycle accident.
However, suppose your bicycle accident resulted from the other party's carelessness or mistake. In that case, you are entitled to receive compensation for the cost of your medical bills, time off work, and rehabilitation.
Filing an Elgin Bicycle Accident Claim to Pay for Medical Bills and Other Damages
Under Illinois law, every injured party harmed by someone else's negligence has a legal right to file a bicycle accident claim, seeking financial compensation for damages. In addition, the law allows a legal remedy to victims in compensation for economic loss. Still, it can be difficult to prove negligence when riding a bicycle because you are on two wheels.
Under Illinois law, cyclists have what is known as "limited" or "shared" liability. Motorists are required to share some blame for an Elgin bicycle accident if they do something careless, such as hitting the cyclist with their car or changing lanes without proper precautions.
Elgin Bicycle Accidents Resulting in Death
Sometimes Elgin bicycle accidents can result in fatalities, which are even more devastating to friends and family of the victim. In addition, cyclists do not have protection within a vehicle, so they can suffer severe injuries if hit by another vehicle on the road.
Even if they survive, they may suffer severe injuries or brain damage that affects their quality of life for the rest of their days.
An Elgin bicycle accident lawyer working on your family's behalf can help you through the legal process of seeking financial compensation to pay for the family's damages, losses, and grief.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is much like a personal injury financial compensation claim, covering property damage, severe injury, and death.
Many of these cases are complex and require accident reconstruction experts to prove negligence and how other drivers were at fault for causing the biking accident.
In addition to claiming compensation for economic losses such as medical bills and lost wages, you also have the right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one.
The law offers this remedy for losing loved ones under most circumstances, including the following.
- Death at another's hand
- Death resulting from occupational or road hazards
- Death due to medical malpractice during treatment for an illness or injury
Surviving family members can seek financial restitution after losing a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident. Qualifying families typically involve surviving spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, or siblings.
If the decedent did not have a will, a judge would decide how to distribute the estate under probate law. However, suppose the deceased bike rider did have a will. In that case, loved ones can seek compensation by appealing directly to the court that oversees the distribution of assets following an individual's will.
Proving a Personal Injury Claim
Proving negligence is required to resolve a personal injury claim seeking financial compensation for moderate to catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.
Typically, a Chicago bicycle attorney working on behalf of their client will show how the negligent driver caused the biking accident on the road, bike lane, or sidewalk.
To build a case, a personal injury attorney will investigate the Elgin bicycle accident scene, speak to eyewitnesses, review medical records and police reports, and identify all potential defendants that caused the bike wreck.
If necessary, the injury attorneys will hire bicycle accident reconstruction experts who can prove that the negligent driver failed to pay attention when keeping a safe environment with the injured bicyclist.
When the time comes, the experienced attorney will prove their case using the four elements of civil tort law that include:
- The defendants have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of the injured bicyclist
- The defendants failed in their obligation, leading to a bike wreck
- The bicycle accident led to the victims of a serious injury or wrongful death
- The victim's damages can be proved in court
In other words, all injured bike riders have a legal right to file a personal injury claim. However, to win the compensation case, a bicycle accident lawyer must show all contributing factors involved, proving how other parties are legally responsible for their damages.
How Much is My Elgin Bicycle Accident Case Worth?
Every bicycle accident is unique, with its own evidence and facts of what happened and who is at fault. However, a competent Elgin bicycle accident lawyer can use various methods to calculate the value of a personal injury claim based on numerous contributing factors involved in the accident.
Seeking financial compensation for catastrophic injuries can be complex. However, working with an Elgin bike accident attorney can help the injured bicycle rider get results that include:
- The extent of the injured bicyclist's injuries
- The amount of hospitalization costs and medical bills
- The need for future medical attention, surgery, therapy, and rehabilitation
- Costs associated with temporary or permanent disabilities
- The extent of physical pain, mental anxiety, and emotional stress
- The loss of companionship and consortium and wrongful death cases
- Punitive damages if warranted by the evidence obtained during the case preparation process
Data reveals that nearly all personal injury claims, including those involving an Elgin bicycle accident, are resolved through negotiated settlements with the defendant's insurance company that will pay for injuries, property damage, and wrongful death.
Need help proving negligence in your case? An Elgin bicycle accident lawyer can help! Call us at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
Paying Your Elgin Bicycle Accident Attorney Fees
The Chicago law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC has never charged a client a fee to guide them through the legal process. For over a decade, our Elgin bicycle accident lawyers have been helping clients claim compensation for injuries following all types of accidents, including bicycle crashes.
Are you or your loved one the victim of serious injuries due to someone else's negligence? If so, contact an Elgin bicycle accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form on their website.
With a bicycle accident attorney on your side, we can hold the negligent driver and other drivers financially accountable as we seek compensation for your injuries, property damage, or wrongful death.
Our law firm has obtained hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients and can help you too.
A Chicago bicycle accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers will provide advice free of charge and can help you claim financial compensation for your losses, including medical bills, lost income, rehabilitation costs, pain, and suffering.