Every Chicago motorcycle accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC knows the uphill battle injured motorcyclists face when trying to recover compensation for their injuries from the insurance companies of drivers who have caused crashes. Many auto insurance carriers will take a “deny and defend” posture when handling claims involving injured or deceased motorcyclists. But a lawyer from our firm can get the maximum compensation for injury and fatality cases that Illinois law allows.
In fact, in 2018, we settled a case on behalf of a motorcyclist who lost his leg when a car merged into his lane of traffic before trial for $5.25 million.
Our motorcycle accident cases are always handled on a contingency fee basis. No fee is charged unless there is a financial recovery for you. Complete our online intake form and get a free case evaluation with a Chicago motorcycle lawyer today.
Illinois Motorcyclists at Risk for Serious Injuries
With little protective equipment to absorb the impact of a collision with a vehicle, motorcyclists receive some of the most significant injuries of any person traveling on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,976 people were killed and 88,000 people were injured in motorcycle crashes in 2015. That fatality rate was an increase of more than 8.3% from the previous year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in a period of ten years, the number of motorcycles went up 63%, and the number of fatalities more than doubled during the same period.
This national trend has been echoed in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) 2018 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics report, 119 motorcyclists lost their lives and 2,266 motorcyclists were injured in crashes while riding on Illinois roads and highways. A closer examination of the accident data reveals motorcyclists in urban areas, such as Chicago, are at a greater risk of injury compared to bikers in other areas of Illinois. The report indicates that 53% of Illinois motorcycle deaths (63) and 60% of Illinois motorcycle injuries (1,345) occurred in city streets and highways passing through them.
We understand that injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents change the lives of those who are injured and those close to them. Our commitment to injured motorcyclists has been recognized in the motorcycling community in Chicago and beyond, as former clients refer friends and family members injured in motorcycle crashes.
Life Changing Injuries Regularly Encountered from Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago :: Chicago Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Attorney :: Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC A motorcycle accident can cause instantaneous catastrophic injuries that forever change the life of the rider and passenger. Common injuries in motorcycle accidents often involve trauma to the spinal cord, neurological system, and internal organs, leading to the inability to control normal body activities. Out of the tens of thousands of motorcycle accidents with injuries requiring hospitalization every year, nearly 4000 motorcycle accident victims die from the severity of their injuries. Back and Neck Injuries Sustained By Motorcyclists Riding a motorcycle provides little protection against a hard surface of the pavement, other vehicles and road hazards. Often times, the victim will suffer a spinal cord injury, disc bulge or disc herniation when being thrown for the motorcycle to the ground. Instantaneous back and neck injuries might produce tingling or numbness in the extremities, toes, feet, fingers and hands.
Life-Changing Effects of Motorcycle Crash Injuries
In one of the most comprehensive analyses of injuries related to motorcycle crashes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the type and severity of injuries of more than 1 million motorcyclists treated in emergency rooms from 2001-08. The results of the study revealed that the most common nonfatal injuries were:
- Lower Extremities: 30% of injuries were to the leg and foot area.
- Head and Neck: 22% of bikers reported injuries of some degree to these areas.
- Upper Trunk: These included injuries to the chest, shoulder, and back. The CDC estimates 20% of injuries are in this category.
- Lower Trunk: The arms and hands are common areas of the body to be injured.
- Arm & Hand: 18% of motorcyclists injured in crashes demonstrated injuries to their hands and arms from crashes.
Injuries Encountered By Illinois Motorcyclists in Crashes
Illinois data suggests that more than 35% of motorcyclists injured in accidents have what is considered to be an “A” injury, one that prevents them from engaging in the activities they enjoyed prior to the crash. Examples of these injuries can include:
- Fractures: Lower extremity fractures to the legs (femur, patella, tibia, fibula), hips and pelvis are common types of injuries sustained both on impact and when motorcyclists are thrown off their bikes.
- Lacerations: When motorcyclists are thrown from their bikes onto the pavement, significant cuts, lacerations and bruising can result which may require stitches, gravel removal and even surgery.
- Brain injury: Illinois is one of three states that has no helmet laws for motorcycle riders. Unfortunately, TBI's are a more common injury here amongst injured bikers. A TBI can vary significantly in its impact. Some people with TBI's require ongoing medical care while others can resume many of the activities they enjoyed prior to the crash.
- Paralysis: Motorcyclists who sustain a spinal cord injury are at risk for paralysis or partial paralysis. Unfortunately, the medical treatment options for the motorcyclist with a spinal cord injury are somewhat limited.
- Joint injury: Again the lower extremities bear the brunt of motorcycle accident injuries. In particular the knees are ripe for damage including: MCL, ACL, PCL can suffer damage in a motorcycle crash. These injuries may require orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation. As time passes, joint injuries are also at risk for developing arthritis.
- Internal organ damage: Many times an injury to an internal organ may not be apparent at the scene of a crash and may only be diagnosed at a hospital via diagnosis imaging. The force of impact may damage the motorcyclist's heart, lung or even the kidneys.
- Back/neck injuries: Without any protection, all areas of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spines are at risk for trauma in a motorcycle crash. Injuries such as herniated discs or even fractures can result in ongoing pain and medical care.
- Loss of limbs: Amputation of limbs, especially legs are common result of motorcycle crashes. An amputation, can have a substantial impact not only on the quality of the individual's life, but can impact their ability to earn a living. All aspects can be considered as part of the damages in a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
- Death: Compared to other types of motor vehicle crashes, motorcyclists are more likely to suffer a fatal injury in a crash. The family of a deceased motorcyclists can pursue a wrongful death claim to recover economic and non-economic damages due to the loss of their loved one. Illinois does not have any caps on damages in wrongful death lawsuits. Wrongful death motorcycle accident lawsuits are brought under Illinois' Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/).
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to helping our clients receive the medical care they need. Injured motorcyclists can count on our firm to connect them with leading orthopedists, brain injury and physical rehabilitation specialists both in the metropolitan area and across the Midwest to aide them in their recovery.
Primary Causes of Chicago Motorcycle Crashes
In order to recover compensation for injuries related to a motorcycle accident, the injured party has the burden of establishing that the driver who caused the crash was negligent. Driver negligence is a general term to describe situations where the driver was inattentive or failed to follow a rule of the road. Examples of driver negligence leading to motorcycle accidents in the Chicagoland usually means one of two things:
- Failing to Comply With Traffic Laws: Illinois has a many different laws that apply to most areas of motor vehicle operation. These laws are codified by statute in 625 ILCS /5. Violations of these laws may be evidence of negligence per se. Examples or specific traffic law violations can include: speeding, failure to yield, driving while intoxicated or not complying with traffic control devices.
- General Negligence: Every driver has a duty to pay attention and keep a proper lookout when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. (See generally, Johnson, 223 Ill. App. 3d at 484, 585 N.E. 2d at 229) Particularly with motorcyclists on the roads, Illinois drivers have a duty to avoid distractions (cell phones, radios, other passengers in vehicle) and drive is a manner that is appropriate for the traffic conditions. This means slowing down to to avoid collisions.
These types of negligent conduct may contribute to Chicago motorcycle accidents involving:
How Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC Can Help You After a Chicago Motorcycle Accident
When a motorcyclist is injured in an accident, it often impacts both the individual and their family. From the moment an Illinois motorcycle accident lawyer is retained, we begin aggressively preparing your case so we may present it in the most favorable light for a settlement with an insurance adjuster or a trial before a jury.
To help build a strong case for you, our attorneys regularly do the following:
- Order police reports
- Take statements from witnesses to the crash
- Photograph the scene of the crash and damage to vehicles
- Review video footage of the incident
- Hire an accident re-constructionist to re-create the crash
- Review computer recordings or “black boxes”
- Order medical records and bills
- Talk directly to the insurance carriers for the parties
- Request copies of traffic light sequencing data
Our goal is to shoulder the responsibility for your financial recovery, so you can focus on your physical well-being.
Chicago Motorcycle Accident Injury Law FAQs
What Should I do After a Motorcycle Accident?
First and foremost, if you are injured in a Chicago motorcycle accident, you should get the medical attention that you need. If you are able motorcycle crash, take photographs of the accident scene. If you are unable to, consider asking a friend or family member to capture pictures of the scene. Relay to a police officer, friend or family member exactly what happened when the accident occurred, but never say you caused the crash. Speak honestly about the accident to the police officer, you can always amend your statement if you forgot how it happened or what might have caused the event.
Do I Need to Speak to the Other Driver's Insurance Company?
No, if you are injured in a motorcycle accident or other motor vehicle crash, you do not have a legal obligation to give a statement to an insurance company. In order to appreciate how and why statements are part of the claims process, it is important to understand how automobile insurance companies approach these cases.
Insurance companies assign the case to an investigator or adjuster who is responsible for interviewing people who have information about the incident. Many times, this fact gathering mission will take the form of a recorded statement. While gathering such information may seem innocent, insurance adjusters are trained to illicit information more favorable to the insured. Insurance companies make money by taking in premium payments and paying out as little as feasible in claims and judgments.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Represent Me for my Injuries?
In incidents involving serious injuries that may lead to ongoing medical issues or large medical bills, we recommend you discuss the case with an attorney. While you may think that hiring a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer will reduce the amount of compensation that you clear from a settlement, studies consistently show that plaintiffs who are represented by an attorney received over three times the compensation of people who are not represented by a lawyer.
Illinois motorcycle accidents that involve only minor damage to the property or persons involved generally can be handled on your own and resolved by the insurance companies involved. If you feel your claim is being handled in a fair and expedient manner, there may not be a need for an attorney.
Can I be Compensated for my Injuries if I was in a Hit-and-Run Motorcycle Crash?
Yes, you can typically make an uninsured motorist (UM) claim if you were injured in a motorcycle accident involving a hit-and-run or uninsured driver. This is a claim presented against your own insurance carrier in the same manner as if you were pursuing a case against an at fault driver.
The state of Illinois requires all motorists, including motorcyclists, to carry liability insurance for bodily injury, and this includes uninsured motorist coverage (215 ILCS 5/143a). If you are injured in a hit-and-run, this part of your policy will usually cover your losses, but there are some requirements. In most cases, physical contact between your bike and the at-fault vehicle is necessary for uninsured coverage to apply. Most uninsured motorist policies contain language that requires actual contact between your vehicle and another. No contact (for instance, if another driver cut you off and you swerved your bike to avoid hitting them) generally means you cannot make a successful insurance claim for your injuries.
How Long do I Have to File a Lawsuit for Personal Injuries Related to a Motorcycle Crash Under Illinois Law?
Under Illinois law, an injured motorcyclist has two (2) years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit (see 735 ILCS 5/13-202). Illinois motorcycle accident cases are governed by a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the party responsible your accident and resulting injuries.
While two years may seem like a long time, it is important to remember that investigation commonly needs to take place before a case goes to court. Your failure to comply with this time constraint will bar your ability to recover compensation.
How do You Win a Motorcycle Injury Case?
The injured party in a motorcycle accident lawsuit prevails by establishing that the other driver's negligence caused a collision and the collision resulted in injuries to you. After establishing liability, you have the burden of providing evidence of damages and the valuation of such damages.
In cases involving serious injuries and ongoing medical care, the use of expert witnesses such as doctors, life-care planners and economists may be used to testify as to the impact of the injuries and damages related to the crash.
Can I Recover Compensation if I was Deemed to be Partially at Fault for a Crash?
Yes, you can likely make a recovery if you are partially at fault for a motorcycle crash. Illinois has adopted the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, which apportions fault between parties to an accident, and if you are found by a court to be less than 50 percent at fault, you can still recover for your damages (735 ILCS 5/2-1116). However, the damages paid to you will be reduced by the percentage you were found to be at fault.
For example: In a situation where your case is valued at $500,000 and you are deemed to be 20% at fault, your case would be worth $400,000.
Can I Receive Compensation for Lost Income if I Cannot Work After an Accident?
Yes, lost wages are considered part of the economic damages recoverable under Illinois law. In order to substantiate a wage loss claim, you may need to obtain medical testimony from your treating physician as to your disability and why they prevent you from working in the profession you were employed at the time of the incident. In situations where a motorcyclist is permanently disabled and unable to work in the future, he or she can recover lost wages for the remainder of their working life.
Is an Injured Motorcycle Passenger Able to Bring a Claim Against the Operator for Personal Injuries?
Yes, depending on the circumstances of the crash, the passenger may make a claim against the operator for injuries related to their negligence. In the case of a single vehicle crash, pursuing a claim against the motorcycle operator is relatively straight forward. However, in situations where a collision involves multiple vehicle and several parties may be responsible, things become more muddled.
Injured motorcycle passengers can may wish to secure their own legal representation (different from the operator of the motorcycle) so there is no conflict of interest in terms of apportioning fault after a crash.
How Much is my Chicago Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
Estimating how much your Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit is worth is challenging because the facts of your case are unique. Your attorney will review factors comprising both economic and non-economic damage including:
- Ongoing medical expenses and hospitalization costs
- Medical care needs including future surgical procedures, rehabilitation and therapy
- Property damage including your motorcycle repairs or replacement costs
- Out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injuries
- Lost wages for time away from work related to permanent or temporary disabilities
- Loss of future earnings if you are not able to return to your job immediately or at all
- Funeral costs and burial expenses in wrongful death cases filed by surviving family
- Non-economic damages including pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, depression, loss of normal life and anxiety
Typically, attorneys use motorcycle settlements and verdicts to determine the value of their client's case. Examples include:
- $1.6 Million Negotiated Settlement – The victim suffered nerve damage and crushed vertebrae after sliding across loose gravel
- $350,000 Negotiated Settlement – The victim's family settled after their loved one was killed by a truck pulling a trailer that turned left in front of the biker at high speed.
- $300,000 Jury Verdict – The jury provided financial compensation after hearing evidence that a truck driver made a left-hand turn in front of the motorcycle rider causing severe soft tissue injuries and aggravating a pre-existing herniated disc. The victim also suffered a torn ligament in their knee.
If you have questions related to the valuation of your case, we invite you to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC. Our firm has successfully prosecuted hundreds of motorcycle injury cases across Illinois.
Talk to a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyer About Your Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Case Today
A Chicago motorcycle attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can assist you during this time of need. We offer free consultations at a convenient location to discuss your legal rights. Regardless of where your motorcycle accident occurred, we can help you recover the maximum compensation for your injuries or the death of a love one. Call us at (888) 424-5757. For more information, visit the resources below: