Bicycle Accident Lawyer In Chicago IL
If you’ve been harmed in a bicycle accident chances are you have pain and multiple injuries – bicycles are the most vulnerable vehicles on the road, and when there are collisions, they are often serious. You likely need an attorney to help you get money for medical bills and to recover some of the money that you lost by being out work. You need a bicycle accident lawyer in Chicago IL, and the Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC can help. Trust our legal team to understand the complexity of cases like this to get you the justice you deserve. Some cities have taken measures in recent years to try to prevent bike accidents. Chicago recently added some high-traffic trails to reduce risk to bicyclists and there are now vending stations to rent bikes throughout Chicago. The number of people biking to work in Chicago has roughly doubled since 2000, possibly due to higher gas prices and people becoming more environmentally conscious.
Regretfully, with the rise in people biking to work, there has been a predictable rise in accidents involving bicycles. According to a report by the City of Chicago, during the six-year period between 2005 2010, there were nearly 9,000 injury crashes involving bicyclists, with 32 bicyclist fatalities. As a percentage of all traffic crashes, bicycle crashes are on the rise: from 6.7 percent of all crash types in 2005 to 9.8 percent of all crash types in 2010. The report also found that the vast majority of the crashes were preventable.
If you are involved in a bicycle accident, it is vital that you document any witnesses to the accident and get photographs of the scene, the vehicles, and any persons. If you suspect the other driver was intoxicated, ask any police officer on the scene to administer a DUI test – if no police officer comes to the scene, document your concern. Also, attempt to identify if the other driver was using a cell phone, or another screen while operating his vehicle. If there is any possibility that you have suffered a serious injury, it is advisable to seek medical help immediately – even by taking an ambulance from the scene. In addition, you should never admit fault, and you should always speak to a bicycle accident lawyer in Chicago IL before entertaining offers from the other driver’s insurance company.
Choose a Top Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Chicago IL to Help You!
A settlement or award cannot erase the physical and emotional harm that you suffered after being injured in a bicycle accident, but it can help you deal with the medical bills that you probably have, and other bills that may have piled up while you missed work. In Illinois, bicycle accident victims can recover for a number of different damages that are broadly separated into two categories: special damages and general damages. Special damages those that the defendant actually caused and are economic in nature. These include:
- Past and future medical expenses: Ambulance fees, the cost of hospital stays, scans, x-rays, MRIs, medications, treatments, surgeries, and therapies relating to the accident. If you require lifelong medical care, such as a live-in nurse, the courts will award an amount to cover such costs.
- Lost wages: If you missed work because of your injuries, the courts will compensate you for your lost income. If you are unable to work in the future, the amount of such compensation can be substantial.
- Property damage: Property damage covers harm to your possessions, such as your bicycle, and the personal possessions that you may have been carrying on you when the accident occurred. The court will order an amount to repair or replace your damaged items, according to reasonable price estimates or testimony from expert witnesses.
General damages include losses that are “non-economic” in nature. This includes damages such as:
- Physical pain: Broken bones, nerve injuries, cuts, scrapes, and other injuries can be extremely painful. Using medical documentation and testimony from your friends and family and potentially expert witnesses, the court can assign a value to the physical pain that you suffered and include it as part of an award.
- Emotional suffering / Mental anguish: In some cases, emotional injuries can be recovered as well. Emotional injuries are typically proved up by medical records and the testimony of expert witnesses, such as psychiatrists and therapists.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: In some cases, bicycle accidents leave plaintiffs as changed persons, with permanent injuries. In such cases, the victim may have lost the ability to enjoy activities that were her favorites before the crash. The court can award damages to compensate for such losses.
- Lost or Diminished Capacity to Earn: In cases where a victim has permanent injuries, she likely cannot earn as much as she could have prior to the injuries. The court can add the present value of the expected future income to the plaintiff’s award to compensate her for these losses
Illinois presently has no cap on the amount of general or special damages that bicycle accident victims can receive.
How a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Chicago IL Can Help Win Your Case
In order to prevail in a bicycle accident case in Illinois, you must establish that the other driver negligently caused the accident and that you were injured. Our lawyers can help you do that in a number of ways. In particular, we will:
- Obtain Police Reports and Other Evidence: Right after we are retained for a bicycle accident case, we will obtain the police report, and try and get any video that might exist for the crash – given the number of cameras in Chicago, and the surrounding suburbs, we often at least get some video.
- Take Photos of the Scene and Document Conditions on the Day of the Crash: Often the particular arrangement of a crash site is vital to proving your case. We will get out there as soon as we are retained, take pictures and video, and find out what the weather was like on that day, along with any special conditions that might have been relevant to your accident.
- Obtain Medical Records and Bills: These documents are critical to helping you establish damages in your case, and our lawyers are experts at getting them.
- Take Recorded Statements from Witnesses: After we are retained for a bicycle accident, our lawyers regularly interview our clients and review the crash report. Our lawyers then contact and obtain statements from the witnesses to help you build your case.
- Order Driving Records for the Other Driver: If the driver that hit you has an awful record that can help you with your case. Our lawyers find out early by obtaining his driving record.
- Consult with Experts: Our lawyers regularly consult with accident reconstructionists and other experts to get a clear idea of what happened in your case.
Types of Bicycle Accidents
There are numerous different types of bicycle accidents; literally, every bicycle accident is different. However, we do see a few common types of bicycle accidents. By understanding these types of bicycle accidents, you can be prepared to act in a defensive manner and reduce the risk of catastrophic injury if you should be in a bicycle accident.
- Stop Sign Crashes: Bicycles have to follow the same rules of the road as cars. Accordingly, bicycles are required to stop at stop signs and allow cars to pass if the cars have the right of way. All too often, car drivers claim that bicycles blew right through stop signs, which can make proving liability difficult. You should remember that the vehicle that reaches the intersection first is allowed right of way. Slow down when you approach an intersection and be prepared to stop.
- Intersection Crashes: When two vehicles approach an uncontrolled intersection at the same time, the vehicle that reaches the intersection first has right of way. Therefore, you should always slow down and be ready to stop when approaching an intersection on a bicycle.
- Stoplight Crashes: If you run through a red stoplight, you will be responsible if you are hit by an oncoming vehicle. On the other hand, if you have a green light and you are hit while crossing a stoplight controlled intersection, the other driver is likely at fault.
- Left Turn Crashes: This type of accident happens when a bicyclist is hit by a vehicle making a left turn at an intersection while the bicyclist is crossing. Generally, a vehicle making a left turn must yield the right of way, so this type of crash is almost always the other driver’s fault.
- Right Turn Crashes: This type of crash occurs when a bicyclist is on the right side of the road, and a motor vehicle operator makes a right turn in front of the cyclist. This is another case where the motor vehicle operator is almost always at fault.
- Door Accidents: Illinois requires that motor vehicle operators ensure that no bicycles are close by before opening a door. When a vehicle operator opens a door in front of a bicyclist, it is almost always the vehicle operator’s fault for the ensuing crash – especially given that the cyclist will generally have very little time to react, and the injuries sustained in this type of crash can be severe.
- Drunk Driving Accidents: Drunk drivers account for a disproportionate number of accidents in Illinois and elsewhere. In addition, drunk driving accidents are more likely to result in severe injuries and death than other types of accidents.
- Distracted Driver Crashes: Even with Illinois’ new smartphone law, it is common to see drivers merrily chatting away on their smartphones, texting, or even watching videos while driving. Regretfully, a driver’s decision to pay attention to their smartphone rather than the road can have harsh consequences for bicyclists, who can suffer severe and even fatal injuries.
- Rear-End Crashes: Drivers can misjudge distances and hit bicyclists, the same as with other vehicles. However, what would be a minor fender bender with a car can be a serious accident with a bicycle.
- Side-Swipe Crashes: Drivers are supposed to give bicycles a full three feet when passing. However, some drivers choose to ignore this requirement, or just don’t see the bicycle.
Bicycle Injury Statistics
Between 2014 and 2016, there were 2398 bicyclists killed in the United States with more than 1400 of them (1447) happening outside of intersections and 1651 happening in urban areas.
The City of Chicago has taken steps to make the city more bike-friendly, and in particular, has installed many miles of marked bicycle lanes on city streets. However, serious injuries still occur every year, with brain injuries being especially common in bicycle crashes. Brain injuries are also difficult to litigate, as in many cases, the victim looks as if s/he has not sustained any injury. However, our lawyers are familiar with brain injuries and how to litigate them properly.
We Can Help!
Attorneys at the Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC have great skills in dealing with bicycle accidents. Our attorneys can help you recover for your bicycle accident. In addition, we have litigated cases throughout the state of Illinois. Reach out to us today to speak with a bicycle accident lawyer in Chicago IL.