Chicago motorcycle accidents are more dangerous than the average automobile accident, and will usually result in injuries that are comparatively more serious. Statistics show that these injuries are more likely to result in a loss of earnings, enjoyment of life or even death.
While riding with caution on your motorcycle can lessen the chance of a serious accident, there are some times when a collision is caused by the actions of another driver on the road. When that happens, you are at risk of being in a serious accident.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to securing the most favorable recovery for injured motorcyclists. Over the past several years, our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers have secured millions of dollars in settlements for motorcyclists injured in the Chicagoland area. Contact our law firm to put our motorcycle accident injury experience to work for you.
Statistics About Motorcycle Accidents in the U.S. and Illinois
While the number of motorcycle fatalities dropped in Illinois in 2018, they peaked in 2017. Over a five-year period in Illinois from 2014-2018, there have been an average of 136 people killed each year in motorcycle accidents. Roughly one in every six traffic accidents with fatalities in Illinois involves a motorcycle.
Nationally, the rates of motorcycle fatalities are on the increase after dropping in the earlier part of last decade. In 2016, the fatality rate for every 100,000 motorcyclists was 60.9. There were 25.5 fatalities for every 100 million motorcycle vehicle miles travelled.
Statistically speaking, there is a high chance of suffering an injury if you are involved in a motorcycle crash. In Illinois, there were a total of 3,326 motorcycle crashes in 2017 and many of these resulted in significant injury.
2,514 motorcyclists were injured in Illinois that year which means that there is an approximately two thirds chance that you will be injured in a motorcycle crash. In roughly 35 percent of these crashes, the motorcyclist suffered what is known as an "A injury." This is either a severe injury or an incapacitating injury. In Illinois, an A injury is one which prevents the injured person from walking, driving, or normally continuing the activities he/she was capable of performing before the injury occurred. This can include:
- Severe lacerations
- Broken/distorted limbs
- Skull / traumatic brain injuries
- Chest injuries
- Abdominal injuries
Based on national statistics, you have an approximately one in a hundred chance of being injured in a motorcycle accident each year if you are a registered motorcyclist. This is consistent with Illinois statistics as there were 3,326 crashes in the state in 2017 with approximately 350,000 registered motorcyclists. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Chicago are committed to protecting your legal rights following a crash.
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.
Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Chicago See the Economic & Personal Costs of Serious Crashes
There are many costs associated with motorcycle crashes. Overall, in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that the total economic burden of motorcycle crashes was $12 billion just in one year. These costs have increased in recent years. For example, there was a research paper that studied Michigan motorcycle crashes and it found that the societal costs of these crashes in one year was $1.8 billion.
Costs are broken down into two components. There are costs of medical care and other economic costs such as lost wages and property damage. However, this does not even begin to measure the true costs of motorcycle injuries. When one is hurt in a motorcycle crash, they will also suffer by losing their quality of life. This means that their injuries prevent them from doing activities that they otherwise would have been able to do before the accident. You can count on our Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys to secure you the full compensation that the law entitles you to.
Why Motorcycle Crashes are More Dangerous Than Other Motor Vehicle Collisions
As you saw above, there is a higher chance not only of suffering an injury in a Chicago motorcycle crash, but also of this injury being severe. When bikers are operating their motorcycle, they are exposed and out in the open. There is nothing to protect them if they are involved in an accident with a car, and impact can happen directly with their bodies as opposed to being shielded from the impact somewhat by a car. Although a helmet and protective gear can lessen the chance of injury somewhat, they cannot fully protect a motorcyclist.
In addition, many motorcycle accidents result in motorcyclists being thrown from their bike due to the impact. The ejection can cause them to hit the ground at a high rate of speed, making it likely that they will experience a serious fracture or worse. Hitting the ground can also result in paralysis or a traumatic brain injury if the motorcyclist lands at the wrong angle.
Another possible injury comes from the fact that the motorcyclist can hit the roadway when they are ejected from their bike. Contact with the ground can result in skin burn or can cause debris to puncture the skin.
How Chicago Motorcycle Accidents Happen
In general, motorcycle accidents occur when one driver either breaks a traffic law or is negligent and fails to take the reasonable care that an ordinary driver would.
Illinois has numerous traffic laws that must be followed when you are on the road. When a driver breaks one of these laws, it is evidence that they are not exercising a reasonable amount of care. Therefore, breaking any one of these laws is evidence of negligence.
Here are some examples of Illinois traffic laws that drivers can break that would be considered negligence:
Speeding - According to Illinois law "No vehicle may be driven upon any highway of this State at a speed which is greater than is reasonable and proper with regard to traffic conditions and the use of the highway, or endangers the safety of any person or property." Not only does this mean that you cannot travel above the posted speed limit, but you also cannot drive faster than what is safe for the particular conditions.
Dangerous Lane Changes - When you are changing lanes, Illinois 625 ILCS 5/11-709 requires that a vehicle shall not be moved from their lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety. This requires driver to not only check the lane, but their blind spots as well. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by the fact that the driver does not carefully check their blind spots to see the motorcycle driver and hits the motorcycle. Drivers must exercise caution to see motorcyclists and sometimes they are careless and do not look.
Illegal Turns - Illinois 625 ILCS 5/11-801 dictates the position that drivers need to be in before they execute a turn. Sometimes, a driver will make a left turn but will not be in the far left lane when they attempt the maneuver, endangering the motorcycle that is in the left lane. If you are turning left, you must yield the right of way and look for oncoming vehicles.
Texting While Driving - Illinois law treats texting while driving as a moving violation. Drivers who have three violations in a year can see their licenses suspended. Many drive unfortunately drive distracted and do not take the necessary care to avoid hitting motorcyclists who they do not see.
Negligence- Beyond breaking a law, drivers can be travelling in a manner that is simply unsafe or unreasonable. Drivers have a general duty of care to others on the road to operate their vehicle safely. In other words, your actions behind the wheel impact others and you have a general obligation to be safe and exercise the proper lookout when you are behind the wheel. Drivers who are inattentive or just plain careless can be made to pay if their actions harm a motorcyclist on the road.
How Chicago Motorcycles Accident Injuries can Impact You
When you have been injured in a Chicago motorcycle accident, the severe injuries can either be permanent or can take months or years of extensive rehabilitation. In the meantime, you may not be able to work or even maintain an active lifestyle.
Some motorcycle accident injuries are so severe that they may require prolonged hospitalization of round-the-clock care. This can impose significant costs for you and your family. Many people who are injured in motorcycle crashes simply are not able to going back to living the life that they did before their accident.
The damage from these accidents can be stark and may impose harsh physical and emotional consequences on your family. It is vital that you are fully compensated for your injuries because costs can affect you immediately after the accident and can add up quickly. Our motorcycle injury attorneys, headquartered in Chicago are deeply committed to getting you the maximum compensation feasible under Illinois law.
Chicago Motorcycle Accident Injury Law FAQ's
Below you will find questions commonly raised by people injured in motorcycle crashes in Chicago. Should you have additional questions, or how Illinois law applies to your particular situation, we welcome you to contact our law firm for a free consultation.
Should I Hire Lawyers After a Chicago Motorcycle Accident?
Your legal and financial interests would be best served by retaining a motorcycle accident lawyers Chicago immediately after your accident so you are in the best position to be compensated.
As we described above, you have most likely been injured after a motorcycle accident. This means that you are unable to take pictures at the scene of the accident or do anything to document the accident in a way that could help prove your case. As a result, you will need help to help develop your case and reconstruct the scene of an accident.
At the same time, you are likely recovering from your injuries and receiving medical treatment. This will render you unable to deal with insurance company and the specifics of your claim. Given that you will need to obtain as much as possible in damages, due to your injury, you will need help in the days after an accident.
The immediate aftermath of a motorcycle accident is a stressful time. There are many different things for you and your family to deal with and tending to your injuries should be your highest priority. Also, you are likely not a legal expert with knowledge of how to file a claim and deal with insurance companies.
An Illinois motorcycle accident attorney has the necessary expertise to help you through every step of this process. At the outset, we can:
- Order and review police reports
- Locate and talk to witnesses who were at the scene of the accident
- Hire experts to reconstruct the scene of the accident
- Photograph the scene of the accident and study damage to vehicles
We can also handle your communications with the insurance companies that are perhaps the most vital thing in the wake of your accident and critical to your receiving compensation for the accident. The attorney can negotiate for a possible settlement and can help maximize your compensation since they have a better idea of what your claim is worth. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, your Illinois motorcycle accident attorney will represent you at trial and will fight vigorously in court on your behalf.
Am I Required to Speak to the Other Driver's Insurance Company?
There is no obligation to talk to the other driver's insurance and you should not do so.
The other driver's insurance company will certainly want to speak with you after the accident. If they are the ones that will have to make a settlement payout, they will try every measure that they can in order to reduce the amount of money that they will have to pay. This includes trying to get you to make any type of admission that would hurt your claim, even if you are injured and not physically or mentally sharp. Insurance companies have been known to resort to trickery to get you to talk to them and then they will ask you loaded and skewed questions.
You are under no obligation whatsoever to talk to the other driver's insurance company. You should talk to your own insurance company so that they can work on your behalf, but you should not speak to the other driver's insurance since you can only lose by speaking with them.
Your attorney can help keep the other driver's insurance company at bay and keep them off your back when you have other things to worry about. You should be wary of speaking to anyone that you do not know during this time and should even have your own attorney present or on the line when you are talking to your own insurance company to make sure that your interests are protected at all times.
If there are circumstances that require you to talk to the other driver's insurance, make sure to follow your lawyer's guidance and do not do anything other than answer the exact question that was asked. Remember that the other insurance is not trying to use your words to have persuade themselves to pay you more. Instead, they are likely going to try to use your own words against you.
If you have been hurt in a Chicago motorcycle accident, chances are that your injuries are not minor. Therefore, it will be imperative to receive either a settlement or an award that will fully compensate you for your injuries.
Will my Chicago Motorcycle Case Settle?
As you as you are not at fault for the accident, most Chicago motorcycle accident cases will settle out of court.
The answer to this question is most likely yes. Nine in ten motorcycle accident cases settle before they go to trial. Insurance companies do not want to take your case all the way to trial and more than you. Trials are expensive and uncertain, and an insurance company always runs the risk that a jury would be sympathetic to your case, leaving them on the hook for a large damages award.
Therefore, it is likely that the insurance company will at least try to make you a settlement offer. However, this is where you need to be careful. The insurance company's offer will likely not be for the full amount that your case is worth. They are banking on the fact that you may take their first offer, thereby saving them money.
This is where a motorcycle accident attorney can help you. Since your lawyer has done this many times before and is experienced in motorcycle accident claims, they will know what your claim is worth and will be able to advise you whether the settlement offer makes sense for you. Sometimes, it makes sense for you to proceed towards trial because the insurance company simply will not make you a viable settlement offer. Even when that happens, most outstanding cases will settle on the eve of trial or at the very beginning of proceedings.
Negotiating with an insurance company is difficult for anyone because the insurance company has better knowledge than you since this is what they do every day and hopefully, this is your first motorcycle accident. Therefore, you need an attorney on your side to help neutralize your natural disadvantage in this area.
How Long do I Have to File an Illinois Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
You have two years from the time of your injury to file your Illinois motorcycle accident case in an Illinois court.
Illinois law, like those in any state, has a statute of limitations which keeps you from having an unlimited amount of time to file your case. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the time that your cause of action arose. In most cases, the cause of action arises at the time of your accident since that is when you are injured. However, in certain limited circumstances, the statute of limitations begins to run from the time that you knew or should have known that you were injured.
The statute of limitations is an unforgiving law. The court ultimately does not care that your injuries may have prevented you being able to take the time to properly prepare a case either due to your injuries or other difficulties with investigating or filing the claim. When the law says two years, the court interprets that very strictly.
Therefore, it is vital to have an attorney on your side to both help prepare the best possible case within the two years that you have and to help you navigate the court process because your failure to understand the laws will not persuade a court to give you more time.
How do I Win a Motorcycle Accident Case in Court?
You must prove that the other party's actions or inactions were responsible for your injuries and that you were less than 50 percent at fault.
In the unlikely event that your motorcycle injury case go to a trial, you will have to show that the other party was negligent in order to prevail. This will be the same as any other personal injury case in that you have to prove that the defendant was negligent to win the case.
Persuading a jury that a driver was negligent actually requires that you prove four different things. They are as follows:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care. In general, this is an easy element to prove because all drivers owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road.
- The driver breached this duty of care. While a driver is not held to a standard of absolute perfection when they are on the road, they must act as a reasonable driver would. This means that they cannot do things such as speeding or make illegal turns because an ordinary reasonable driver would not do such things.
- You must have suffered some sort of injury.
- Your injury would not have happened but for the actions of the other driver.
If you were partially at fault for your own injuries, you may still be able to recover for them in court. In Illinois, so long as you are not more than 50 percent responsible for your injuries, you may still be able to recover, but your compensation will be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault for the accident. This could cover an instance in which a driver made an illegal turn, but your injuries were compounded by the fact that you were not wearing the proper protective gear. Another situation where you may have been injured but bear some of the fault is if you were travelling above the speed limit in your motorcycle.
How Much is my Illinois Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
How much your case is worth depends on the amount of damages that you have suffered from your motorcycle injury.
There are numerous components to a motorcycle injury settlement or jury award. The amount of money that you receive is supposed to put you in the same position as if your accident never happened. This includes not only paying you for the physical injuries that you have suffered but also for the other economic costs such as time that you miss from work. Your case should cover both costs that you have already incurred as well as those that will impact you in the future.
Because of the lost wages component of your damages, it is difficult to give an exact estimate of the damage amount that you would receive. Two people can suffer the same exact injuries and receive different settlements because one person may be prevented from working due to the physical nature of their work while the other may be able to continue on the job, albeit with accommodations.
We could cite studies about what the average motorcycle settlement is, but that would not tell you anything because every case is different. Obviously, the more significant and sustained your injuries are, the larger your settlement.
Therefore, it is vital to get the maximum possible amount in a settlement for your injuries because it will be your only chance to be compensated for the accident. Obtain help from an Illinois motorcycle accident attorney so you can learn how much your case is worth.
How the Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can Help You After a Motorcycle Accident
After you have been involved in a Chicago motorcycle crash, chances are that you will be unable to take any steps on your own in order to recover for your injuries. Even if your case is being settled as opposed to litigated, receiving your money is still not automatic. You will need to receive every penny that you are due because you and your family will likely need the money. However, you are likely not in the best position to help yourself after the accident.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you will need to establish the facts of your case and stand ready with the proof in case it is necessary. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can assist you in all phases of your case starting right after the accident. We can help you document your case for the insurance company. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we have experience in helping motorcycle accident victims in Chicago recover what they are owed for their injuries and damages.
We work for you on a contingency basis, meaning that we are not paid for our efforts unless you are successful in recovering money in either a settlement or through a jury award.