What can I do if my Child was Injured or Killed on His or Her Bike?
You can bring a lawsuit on your child’s behalf as well as your own for the injuries, expenses, and physical and mental suffering caused by the accident.
If your minor child was injured in an Illinois bicycle accident, you may be able to recover damages on their behalf. You can bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party for negligence as your child’s parent and “next friend.” As plaintiff, you need to prove that: (1) the defendant had a duty not to injure your child; (2) he or she breached that duty; and (3) your child was injured and suffered damages as a consequence of the defendant’s breach.
If your child dies from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident, you would have to sue the responsible party for wrongful death. In a wrongful death lawsuit you must prove that your child was fatally injured as a result of the defendant's misconduct, intentional or otherwise, and you suffered damages because of the death. Monetary compensation available to you includes not only economic damages such as medical bills and burial costs, but noneconomic damages such as anguish and loss of companionship.
What if My Child’s Actions Contributed to The Bike Accident?
Normally, if a cyclist is found to have acted negligently in an accident that injured him, the legal doctrine of comparative negligence will reduce the amount he is able to recover from another party or even bar his recovery completely. However, Illinois has adopted the tender years doctrine, which establishes that children under seven years of age are categorically incapable of negligence because they cannot recognize risk, and thus cannot legally contribute to an accident (Appelhans v. McFall, 325 Ill. App. 3d 232 (Ill. App. Ct. 2001)).
In Illinois, if a minor child between the ages of seven and 14 is involved in an accident, there is a rebuttable presumption that the child is not capable of contributory negligence. This means the law still presumes that the child cannot be responsible for the accident, but the opposing party can overcome that presumption by showing sufficient evidence. The jury must take into account the child’s age, capacity, intelligence and experience in determining his or her fault (Savage v. Martin, 256 Ill. App. 3d 272 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993)).
Wondering How You Can Help Your Child After a Bicycle Accident?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understands the emotional and financial strain that parents go through after their kids are seriously hurt, and knows that any injury—and especially the death—of a child is a traumatic and painful time for your family. If your child was involved in a serious bike accident, let us get to work in obtaining justice for them and seeking rightful compensation. Call our bicycle injury law firm today and we will put you on the path to financial recovery.
Yes. In Chicago as in most cities, bicyclists are subject to many of the same rules of the road as motor vehicles. At the same time, there are laws that motorists must observe while sharing the road with bicycles.
In Chicago and Illinois, cycling laws are in place to prevent traffic accidents and protect bicyclists from injury. When these laws are ignored, accidents often occur that cause serious injury to cyclists. If a motorist was violating a city traffic ordinance, it may help determine fault or liability for injuries to the cyclist.
Chicago Municipal Code (Section 9-52) requires bicyclists to follow the rules of the road or be subject to a penalty. The law also subjects motorists to certain rules designed to prevent bike accidents.
The following laws specifically apply to motorists when cyclists are in the vicinity:
- Motorists must use due care to avoid crashing into a bicyclist.
- Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists traveling the opposite direction when making a left hand turn. This includes bicycles that are in or approaching an intersection.
- When making a right turn, motorists must not turn in front of a bicyclist traveling in the same direction.
- Motorists must give at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle in the same direction and maintain that clearance until they have safely passed the bicycle.
- Motorists should never drive, stand or park in a designated bike lane.
- It is illegal to open a vehicle door into oncoming traffic unless it is safe to do so, and only to load or unload passengers.
Illinois state statute (625 ILCS 5/) sets forth many of the same rights and responsibilities for bicyclists as the Chicago ordinance. Among other rules, it provides that bicyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as motorized vehicles.
It also requires motorists to use due care when sharing the road with bicyclists, yield to bicyclists turning left at an intersection, and use caution when opening a car door or loading passengers into oncoming traffic.
Do You Need Legal Help With a Chicago Bicycle Accident Involving an Injury?
After a bike accident involving a vehicle, auto insurance companies often try to offer you a quick settlement in hopes you will take their low offer and sign away your future recovery rights. Before you consider resolving a bike injury case by yourself, speak with a law firm that has successfully resolved hundreds of claims and lawsuits for injured cyclists.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC provides a no obligation case review for all Chicago area bicycle injury and related accidents. Call us at 888-424-5757 or complete our online contact form for assistance.