Bicycle Accident Attorney in Hanover Park, Illinois
In 2021, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) began analyzing data on the causes of bicycle crashes involving motorized vehicles. The agency undertook the classifications because it claimed state crash data was often insufficient when it comes to bicycle accidents.
The study then began dividing bicycle accidents by what it called crash groups. Some of the causes of crashes it categorized included loss of control by the bicyclist and loss of control by the motorist, both because of mechanical problems, speeding or oversteering, alcohol drug use, and surface conditions. Other causes, which are too numerous to mention, include crossing paths, turning in front of one another, riding parallel to one another, and much more.
In short, a lot can happen on part of either the motorized vehicle driver or the bicyclist that can result in a crash. Obviously, bicycles have fewer built-in protections against injury or fatality than do cars and trucks, which feature enclosed cabs and weigh a couple of tons or up to 80,000 pounds for large trucks.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a bicycle in an auto accident in or around Hanover Park, Illinois, or worse, you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal crash, contact the bicycle accident/personal injury attorney at Maritote Law.
We will help you navigate the insurance claims process and deal with the claim adjusters directly so you can recover at home while we fight for a just settlement. If circumstances warrant, we can also file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to exercise your full rights to just compensation.
The legal team at Maritote Law also proudly serves clients in areas that neighbor Hanover Park, including Cook County, Schaumburg, Bloomingdale, and Rosedale.
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Bicyclist Rules of the Road
Most serious injuries to bicyclists result from not wearing a helmet. Illinois has issued what it calls Bicyclist Rules of the Road, which recommend the wearing of helmets. Unfortunately, the only laws mandating the use of helmets are for bicycle delivery persons and bicycle messengers.
The other Rules of the Road cover mechanical equipment on the bicycle, including a front light, front and rear reflectors, a horn, properly-adjusted brakes, a properly-adjusted seat, and more. Of course, bicyclists are required to observe all traffic laws just like motorists.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Collision
The first steps following a collision are to get to safety, call 911, get medical help, and report the accident to authorities so they can come and investigate. If the police do file a report, make sure to get a copy of it for use in your claim or lawsuit.
While on the scene, if healthy enough, get the driver’s contact and insurance information. If there are witnesses, talk to them and get their stories and contact information as well. Use your smartphone to take videos or images of the scene, even to show road conditions or traffic warning signs that may have been violated by the driver. When you get a chance, record or write down everything that happened to the best of your memory.
Then, contact us at Maritote Law and let us take the investigation from there. We’ll map out a solid strategy for you to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries and property damage.
Filing a Claim
Assuming the at-fault driver (the one who caused the crash) has insurance, you have three options to file a claim for your injuries. Provided you also have car insurance, your policy will cover your use of your bicycle, so you can file a claim with your provider. That insurer in turn will seek a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver.
You can also file directly with the driver’s insurance company. You also have the option of filing a lawsuit for personal injury and property damage against the driver. If a loved one dies from a bicycle accident, you can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Even if everything seems to you to be the fault of the motor vehicle operator, Illinois observes the legal standard of modified comparative negligence, which means that both the driver and the bicyclist can share negligence or fault, in percentage terms. Say your bicycle did not have a rear reflector, or your horn failed to work to warn the driver when the collision occurred.
A jury in a lawsuit, or a claim adjuster for an insurance company, can assign you partial fault, say 30 percent (or more or less). That percentage would then be deducted from your jury award or insurance settlement. If you’re claiming $30,000 in injury and other losses and expenses, you would be eligible to receive only 70 percent of that due to your 30 percent fault basis. So you would get only $21,000. If your percentage rises above 50, you cannot receive anything.
When it comes to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, there is a two-year statute of limitations. For injury lawsuits, the statute begins with the date of your injury. For a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute starts running from the date of death, which could be later than the injury onset.
A wrongful death lawsuit is possible if the decedent would be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if they were still alive. A wrongful death lawsuit gets a bit tricky because Illinois requires the decedent’s personal representative, or executor, named in their will to file the lawsuit. If there is no will or executor designated, the court will appoint one, and the award will go to surviving family members, starting with the spouse and then the children.
The insurance claims process can get tricky. The responsible insurer will assign a claim adjuster to interview you about what happened. During the process, they will try to get you to admit some portion of fault, or even to agree to some statement they read to you.
Be careful: what you say or nod agreement to will be used by the insurer to lowball your settlement offer, or even to find a way to deny your claim. After all, insurers are in the business to make money, not dole it out.
Bicycle Accident Attorney in Hanover Park, Illinois
Contact us and we will handle the claim and the negotiations. We know how to deal with claim adjusters and will fight for your just compensation. We will also launch a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if the facts warrant it. We will be at your side throughout all proceedings, fighting for your rights.
If you’re in or around Hanover Park and you or a loved one has suffered from a bicycle accident, reach out immediately to Maritote Law. Your first consultation is free.