Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Chicago, IL
Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Chicago
Biking is a popular activity in Chicago, with cyclists frequenting our bike lanes and trails all year long. However, bicyclists, like motorcyclists, are extremely vulnerable on the roads. Unfortunately, as the popularity of biking has grown, so has the number of bicycle crashes caused by drivers’ recklessness. A bicycle rider can easily suffer major injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, road rash, and so much more. Bicycle riders who have suffered injuries and death on the roads need strong legal representation from a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer at Curcio Law Offices.
Drivers in motor vehicles frequently overlook bicyclists, usually due to blind spots. And all too often, collisions with motor vehicles result in grave injuries. When a driver’s negligence causes severe injuries in a bicycle accident, you may be able to seek compensation through a bicycle accident lawsuit. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced bicycle accident attorney, call Curcio Law Offices today at 312-321-1111 today.
Biking in Chicago
Fitness and leisure are no longer the only purposes for riding a bike. Cycling is now a popular mode of transportation for many people commuting to and from work or school. Chicago cyclists are escaping traffic jams, pollution, and other issues that come with driving in Chicago.
The use of bicycles for commuting has doubled in the Windy City over the past few decades. In addition, the city is working on its plan to make Chicago a more bike-friendly place. Our city is currently working on creating 645 miles of designated bike lanes in order to improve traffic flow and improve bicycle safety between bicycle riders, motor vehicle drivers, and pedestrians.
Chicago Cyclist Rules and Rights
The Chicago Municipal Code lays out several rules and rights in order to best prevent accidents involving cyclists, including:
- All cyclists must follow the same traffic laws and signals as cars.
- Cyclists cannot ride on the sidewalk in a business district.
- Cyclists cannot ride on a street that specifically prohibits bicycles, such as Lake Shore Drive.
- If there is a bike lane provided on a street, then cyclists must use the bike lane and not the sidewalk or the road.
- Cyclists must ride at a “reasonable and prudent” speed, especially on busy streets.
- If there are no designated bike lanes, cyclists must ride as close to the right hand side of the road as possible.
- Cyclists must yield to pedestrians when approaching sidewalks.
- Bicycle riders cannot carry objects that prevent them from keeping both hands on the handlebars at all times.
- Cyclists can’t park their bikes in such a way that would obstruct pedestrian traffic. They must park it in a bicycle rack, against a building, or next to a curb.
- If people want to ride their bikes at night, they must wear a headlamp that can emit light for up to 500 feet.
- If there is only one bicycle seat on the bike, then only one person can ride the bike at a time.
If cyclists violate any of these rules in Chicago, then they may have to pay a fine ranging from $25 to $250. Additionally, bicycle accidents and serious injuries caused by violation of these rules could prevent injured parties from recovering compensation in personal injury cases.
Illinois Bicycle Laws
The Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5) is designed to protect cyclists. The Illinois law requires all drivers to:
- Yield to all bicycle riders at intersections.
- Be careful when opening car doors near bike paths (check your surroundings first).
- Be vigilant when driving in a busy city with bicycle lanes and bicycle riders.
Bike Accident Statistics in the U.S. and in Chicago, IL
According to data from the National Safety Council, U.S. deaths from bike accidents have increased by 44% in the last decade. Meanwhile, the number of bodily injuries from bicycle accidents have decreased by 39% in the last decade.
In 2020 alone, 1,260 deaths occurred due to bicycle crashes. The majority of these crash deaths (806) were due to motor vehicles.
In Illinois specifically, just over 1,000 bike accident deaths occurred in 2019. In Chicago specifically, 141 bike riders were killed in 2019.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents in Chicago
Generally, bicycle accidents occur due to a negligent motor vehicle driver on the roads. There are many ways that cars and bicycles can collide. Below, our Chicago bicycle accident lawyers explain the most common types of accidents between bicycles and cars.
- Intersection Collisions: A bicycle rider must follow all traffic laws just like cars. If there’s a stop sign or a red light, they must stop. If they don’t, they could easily get hit by a car while crossing the intersection. Depending on the specific facts of the bicycle accident case, the cyclist may be at fault for this type of accident.
- Side Swiping occurs when a motorist traveling the same direction as a cyclist hits the cyclist with the side of the car.
- Dooring occurs when a motorist opens their car door into a bike lane and the cyclist hits the door.
- Left-Hand Turn Impacts occur when a motorist making a left turn fails to yield to a cyclist in a bike lane or crossing the street. These types of bicycle accidents are always the driver’s fault.
- Right-Hand Turn Impacts occur when a driver makes a right turn and hits a cyclist riding in the marked bike lanes on the right side of the road. Again, this type of accident is almost always the driver’s fault.
- Distracted Driving Accidents occur when a driver is multi-tasking while driving and taking their eyes off the road. The most common type of distracted driving is texting and driving. Because of the distraction, the driver fails to see the cyclist and hits them.
- Drunk Driving Accidents occur not only between cars, but between cars and pedestrians and cyclists too. As we all know, being intoxicated can impair your sense of judgment, balance, direction, and even your vision. This is the perfect recipe for disaster while driving. Drunk drivers can easily hit cyclists due to their level of impairment behind the wheel.
- Rear End Accidents occur when a motor vehicle driver hits a cyclist from behind. Bicycle accidents like these are generally caused by some kind of negligence, like being distracted or drunk.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bike accidents occur due to the following reasons:
- Confusion over right-of-way
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to yield
- Ignoring traffic laws and traffic signals
- Poor visibility
Bike Accident Injuries
Bicycle accident victims always sustain the most injuries during collisions because they have little to no protection compared to motor vehicle drivers. Even the most minor collision can result in a major injury, such as a brain injury. That’s why it’s so important to contact our Chicago personal injury law firm, whether you’re the injured cyclist or the motor vehicle driver.
A Chicago bike accident lawyer can help victims recover damages for the following serious injuries:
Chicago Bicycle Accident Settlements
Because Illinois is an “at fault” state, if you sustain injuries during a bike accident, you can pursue financial compensation in three different ways. A Chicago bicycle accident attorney can help you determine which of the following options is best for your bicycle accident case.
- You can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- You can file a claim with your own insurance coverage.
- You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.
What Does a Chicago Bike Accident Settlement Include?
Chicago cyclists may be able to recover the following types of damages in their bicycle accident cases:
- Physical and Mental Disability, if any of your injuries temporarily or permanently limited your mobility or quality of life.
- Lost Wages, if you missed work to recover from injuries sustained as a result of the bicycle accident.
- Past and Future Medical Expenses for treatment and/or medications related to your bicycle crash.
- Pain and Suffering, if you suffered emotional trauma because of the bike accident.
- Property Damage, including bicycle repairs or replacement.
- Wrongful Death: If you lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss of financial and emotional support under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act.
The amount of damages injured cyclists sustain often directly contributes to total case worth. Chicago personal injury lawyers at Curcio Law Offices have extensive experience in calculating the damages of various personal injury claims, such as bike injury cases, and providing clients with an approximate settlement value.
How Long Do I Have to File a Bike Accident Claim in Illinois?
Personal injury lawsuits in Illinois have a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you have two years from the date of the bike crash to file a lawsuit. Additionally, there’s a five-year statute of limitations to initiate a lawsuit for property damage caused by bicycle accidents. If the accident was caused by a municipal government agency or one of its employees, take note, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is only one year.
A Chicago bicycle accident lawyer at our personal injury law firm can help you file a claim within that tight window so that you can receive compensation from the at fault driver.
Proving Fault in a Bicycle Accident
If you file a bicycle crash lawsuit in Chicago, a jury will determine the liability of each party involved in the accident. This will bring them to the final settlement amount.
To prove that the other party is liable for the accident, the court will look over the facts of your case and review the evidence presented. The evidence your bicycle accident lawyers present may include the police report, witnesses, photos, surveillance camera footage, and damage to your helmet, clothing, or bike. Illinois is a “pure comparative fault” state. That means even if you are not 100% responsible for the bicycle accident, you can still receive some compensation. Your final settlement amount is directly related to your share of the liability.
A Chicago bicycle accident attorney at Curcio Law Offices can review the facts of your case, calculate your damages, and create an approximate settlement amount that you could receive from your case.