Bicycling is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. But unfortunately, it can also be hazardous due to the hazards presented by many car and truck drivers.
As a bicyclist, you are at greater risk of serious injury in an accident than a motorist or a motorcyclist. So, were you hurt in a bicycle accident?
If so, the law offices of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can protect your rights while you receive financial compensation for your damages.
Contact our Joliet bicycle accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Bicycling in Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is home to numerous bike trails, such as the Joliet Iron Works Hike, Hammel Woods Trail, and the Wauponsee Glacial Trail, making it an attractive destination for bicyclists.
Residents of the city must abide by a clear set of ordinances. However, failure to follow bike laws can create legal difficulties if you are hurt in an accident.
The Joliet bicycle accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are well-versed in local bike ordinances. They can assist you in defending your rights if you have been harmed due to someone else’s actions rather than your own.
Joliet Bicyclists Have Great Responsibilities
Not every city has such extensive bike ordinances as in Joliet, and most locales differ from the state’s laws when addressing matters involving bicyclists.
If you are a resident of Joliet, you must obtain a license for your bicycle before you can ride in public areas and are subject to the entire code (Joliet Ordinance Section 7-16). In contrast, visitors are exempt from registering their bicycles and obtaining licenses.
Other ordinances still apply regardless of whether you are a resident, however:
- No one may rent a bicycle that has not been licensed by the rental agency (Section 7-3).
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic control devices and markings, except they may dismount the bike to cross the street where such a turn would generally be prohibited. (Section 7-35).
- You must not ride more than two across when on public streets. This ordinance does not apply when riding on paths specifically provided for bicyclists (Section 7-39). You must use the path rather than the street (Section 7-42).
- It is against the law to carry any object that will interfere with your ability to keep at least one hand on your handlebar, as this will make it difficult to maintain control of your bike (Section 7-40).
- When riding on sidewalks, pedestrians have the right of way, and you are prohibited from riding on sidewalks in business districts (Section 7-43).
- Bicycles must be equipped with devices that alert pedestrians and motorists to their positions. A bell, lamp, and reflectors must provide visual and auditory awareness (Sections 7-46 and 7-47).
- Parents are responsible for ensuring their children follow applicable bicycle laws and safely operate their bicycles (Section 7-5).
Due to the complexity involved in interpreting Joliet’s bicycle ordinances, it is essential to consult with a Joliet bicycle accident attorney following an accident to understand your rights and determine which party is at fault.
Suppose you can prove that the person who caused your injuries failed to take the appropriate cautionary measures to avoid an accident. In that case, you will be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment, out-of-pocket expenses, and any long-term care or pain and suffering.
The same is valid for victims of pedestrian accidents.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents Caused by Motorists
Joliet, IL ordinances are designed to protect cyclists by limiting their exposure to conditions that could increase the likelihood of accidents. Still, motorists do not always live up to their own responsibilities.
Dooring accidents, collisions with bicyclists at intersections, and accidents at entrances to public streets often result when drivers are not paying attention or fail to see the bicycle.
The most common causes of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles and commercial trucks include:
- Distracted driving: Texting, reading emails, talking on a smartphone, conversing with passengers, drinking, and eating are common distractions while operating a motor vehicle.
- Impaired driving: Commercial truckers and passenger vehicle motorists driving under drugs or alcohol can cause catastrophic injuries when colliding with a bicyclist or pedestrian.
- Fatigued driving: Truck drivers pushing the limits of allowable hours and falling asleep at the wheel can easily miss a bicyclist in their path.
- Unsafe lane changes: Motorists making unsafe lane changes can collide with bicyclists traveling in the same direction, usually during busy traffic.
- Failing to yield: Drivers who fail to yield the right of way to cyclists can cause bicycle accidents, especially when turning into or out of a driveway.
- Adverse weather conditions: slippery ice, melting snow, thunderstorms, torrential rains, and blistering heat can cause catastrophic injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Road hazards: Potholes, sharp drop-offs, unmarked intersections, and railroad crossings can increase the risk of accidents involving bicyclists.
- Construction zones: Construction crews working with large vehicles on roadways pose severe risks to cyclists who are not properly protected during these times.
- Parking lots: Collisions between bicyclists and motorists exiting parking garages or shopping center lots filled with parked cars are too standard.
- Violating Bike Lane rules: Major metropolitan areas, including Joliet, install bike lanes to ease transportation problems and create a safe way for cyclists to handle red lights and stop signs.
- Dooring accidents: Opening the doors of parked cars into the path of oncoming cyclists often results in severe injuries.
It is essential to be aware of the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists when sharing the road with them. When motorists follow the Illinois traffic laws and attentively drive while paying attention, all parties sharing the road remain safe.
When motorists cause accidents with bicyclists in northern Illinois, the cyclist may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Therefore, it is vital to contact an attorney who specializes in bicycle accidents, knows the local bike ordinances, and can assist you in determining who is at fault.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
If the victim has taken adequate measures to make others aware of their presence, the driver is liable for the ensuing injuries, which may include the following:
- Injuries to the head, neck, and spine
- Lacerations and deep tissue wounds
- Broken and shattered bones
- Puncture wounds
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputation (dismemberment)
- Crushing injuries
- Total or partial paralysis, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, tetraplegia
- Wrongful death
Why Injury Bicyclists Can File a Civil Lawsuit Against the Responsible Party
Any injured person has the legal right to file a civil lawsuit or compensation claim against the responsible party. Notifying the insurance company holding the policy for the party at fault typically triggers an insurance investigation, with the claims adjuster working on behalf of the insurer opening a case.
However, insurance companies are generating profits for the stockholders, often at the expense of injured victims. Typically, the claims adjuster will offer a lowball settlement resolution to close the case after you receive a check in the mail quickly.
Unfortunately, these initial offers are often significantly lower than the case policy’s value. Settling too quickly before you understand the extent of your injuries and the costs of getting well again could create severe financial complications for your future life.
Instead, working with a Joliet bicycle accident attorney might be your best opportunity to receive maximum compensation based on your case’s true worth.
Your lawyer will identify who has been injured in an accident with a motorist who may file a civil lawsuit against the responsible party. The cyclist may recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
If the bicyclist is killed in the accident, the cyclist’s family may file a wrongful death lawsuit protecting the decedent’s family’s rights.
Joliet Bicycle Accident Hit and Run Case
Sometimes, a hit-and-run driver will flee the accident scene to avoid interaction with the police or take responsibility for the damages and injuries caused.
Other times, the driver is unaware that they hit a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian due to inclement weather, limited visibility, or other contributing factors. In these cases, the injured party will often not file a compensation claim knowing that no one can pay for their damages.
However, our Joliet bicycle accident lawyers can work directly with your insurance company to ensure you receive a monetary recovery through an uninsured or underinsured auto policy.
People injured in hit-and-run bicycle accidents are often reluctant to contact the police because they do not know the available legal processes. However, filing a police report is the best way to ensure that the negligent driver is caught and held accountable for the accident.
If you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident, contact our Cook County law firm immediately so our personal injury lawyers can begin working on your case.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Compensation Claim
Every injured party hurt in a bicycle accident has a legal right to file a civil lawsuit or monetary recovery case against every party responsible for causing the damages. However, filing a claim can be complex.
Fortunately, a Joliet, Illinois, bicycle accident attorney from our law firm can assist you in filing a claim to ensure you receive maximum compensation while protecting your rights.
The steps to file a bicycle accident claim include the following:
- Obtaining the police report and your medical records
- Determining fault (negligence)
- Gathering evidence and witness statements
- Hiring a medical expert to provide an opinion regarding the extent of your injuries and treatment costs
- Preparing for trial: If settlement negotiations fail, we prepare you to take the case to court to win maximum compensation for both past and future losses
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, seeking legal assistance as soon as possible is vital. Every personal injury attorney at our firm is experienced in handling these cases and can help you be compensated for your losses. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Filing a Wrongful Death Bicycle Accident Case
Surviving family members who lost a loved one in a fatal bicycle accident have the legal right to file a civil lawsuit seeking wrongful death. All parties that caused the accident could be held legally and financially accountable in these cases.
Under Illinois law, qualifying family members could include the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings. In addition, a wrongful death lawsuit could provide a monetary recovery for medical and funeral costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of consortium.
If you have lost a loved one in a bike accident, speaking with an attorney as soon as possible is crucial.
Every personal injury attorney at our law firm is experienced in handling these cases and can help you get compensated for your damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.
The Illinois Bicycle Accident Statute of Limitations
The state legislature has restricted any injured party’s time to file a monetary recovery case or civil lawsuit against the responsible party to pay for their damages. That time limit is restricted to two years from the accident date for bicycle accidents.
This time limit is the statute of limitations and applies to all injury claims in Illinois. If you miss this deadline, you could forfeit your right to collect compensation for your injuries.
However, if certain circumstances exist, a reputable bicycle accident attorney working on your file numerous motions to extend the time limit past the stated deadline. This law is known as equitable estoppel.
Equitable estoppel is a legal term used to describe the requirement that an injured party take specific actions or refrain from taking other actions as a requirement for filing their claim within the required time limit.
It could be your only defense if you cannot meet the state statute of limitations, and it should not be taken lightly.
Our bicycle accident lawyers can help you best understand the law and how it applies to car, truck, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
When bicycles collide with cars, the results can be catastrophic.
Every severe crash involving a bike is unique, as are the evidence, facts, and contributing factors. Accurately determining how much a personal injury case is worth might be challenging without the proper methods, tools, and calculations.
Your Joliet bicycle accident lawyer from our law office will use various means to determine a case’s worth, including:
- The extent of your injuries and the length of time it will take for you to heal completely, if possible
- Whether you have total or permanent disabilities because of the bike accident
- All paid or outstanding hospital costs and medical bills
- The decedent’s pain and suffering before dying
- The family’s pain, sorrow, grief, and anxiety
- Loss of consortium and companionship
What to Do If You Are in a Bicycle Accident?
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, the most important thing is to stay calm and collected. It will allow you to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and those of others involved.
Were you involved in a bike crash? If so, photograph any damage to your bicycle or person and any property damage caused by the crash.
Furthermore, if eyewitnesses were at the scene, take down their names and contact information.
You may be tempted to blame the other driver, but it is important to note that you can make your claim later on.
- If injured in an accident, you should first seek medical attention for any injuries you might have incurred while waiting for emergency responders.
- Call 911 and ask Emergency Medical Technicians to respond to the accident scene for transport to the local hospital.
- Then, while at the hospital, ask for a copy of your medical records. These will help show the severity of your injuries and the treatment you received.
- If you are not injured, take pictures of the accident scene, including skid marks, bicycle damage, and injuries, to all parties involved. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information.
- Finally, speak with a Joliet bicycle accident lawyer to protect your legal rights immediately. They will help build a solid personal injury case to collect compensation so that you can focus on healing and getting back to everyday life.
Hiring a Joliet Bicycle Accident Attorney to Resolve a Compensation Case
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can maximize the value of your personal injury case through a deep understanding of Joliet’s laws and ordinances and access to a comprehensive team of experts across numerous relevant fields.
Contact a Joliet bicycle accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to learn more about our track record of success with bike accident cases similar to your own and what you can expect from the legal process.
We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you only pay after resolving your case through a negotiated settlement or jury award.
Our Joliet personal injury lawyers serve clients throughout Illinois in numerous localities, including Cook County, Kendall County, Kane County, Lake County, DuPage County, Peoria County, Will County, Chicago, Homer Glen, and Crest Hill.