Bicycle riders are vulnerable no matter where they ride. Whether cycling on a busy city street, a quiet neighborhood street, or a rural road, a cyclist is exposed to all kinds of dangers. Careless or reckless drivers, suddenly opening car doors, and poor roadway conditions can cause accidents. If a bicyclist is injured because of someone else’s negligent actions, the victim can pursue the legal right to recover for his or her injuries or losses. Modestas Law has the experience and knowledge to help bicycle accident victims and their families pursue their rights to secure the compensation they deserve.
Illinois Bicycle Laws
Illinois has numerous laws regulating bicycle riders. The state also has a very active biking community that has successfully pursued passage of laws to protect bike riders. Among those laws is one known as “Dennis’ Law,” a statute that became effective in 2017, which declares bicycles to be “vehicles” under the Illinois Vehicle Code. The change in the law meant that drivers of motor vehicles must provide the right-of-way to bicycles. In 2018, another new law takes effect, which establishes three conditions that a motor vehicle operator must satisfy when passing a bicycle in a no passing zone.
Despite the protections provided by Illinois laws, bicycle accidents occur frequently. The cyclist’s injuries are often severe and life-changing.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
Especially when an accident involves a bicycle and a car or truck, a bike rider often suffers significant injuries. Brain injuries, sometimes referred to as traumatic brain injuries or TBI, are common. The injuries can range from a concussion to severely complicated brain trauma. The extent of the injury often is not apparent immediately after the accident. In addition, bike riders suffer many other serious injuries, including:
- Arm and leg fractures
- Spine and neck injuries
- Severe lacerations
- Internal organ damage
Bicycle accident injuries can result in permanent disability and impairment of future earning ability. When those injuries were the fault of another person, the compensation should take all those factors into account. Modestas Law has the experience and skill to ensure that all relevant factors are accounted for in the compensation you receive.
Responsibility in Bicycle Accidents
Under Illinois law, the person who is at fault for an accident is responsible for compensating the victim. The legal standard is one of negligence, or failure to exercise reasonable care. Our auto accident page includes details about Illinois Accident Liability Laws.
One of the reason bike accident cases are difficult is that often there is more than one other vehicle involved in the accident, so there may be more than one other person who caused the accident. Sorting through the facts and evidence is a critical part of analyzing a bicycle accident case. All persons who are potentially responsible must be identified, because each person who was at fault represents a potential source of insurance coverage.
There are other reasons that bike crashes are more complicated than other motor vehicle accidents, including the fact that the bicyclist may not be covered by insurance. In addition, bike accidents often involve hit-and-run drivers, so that the driver and his or her insurance company may not be identified. In that situation, it is possible that the victim may be able to recover under uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage in his or her own policy or the policy of a household or family member. Additional details about Illinois UM/UIM Claims are included on our auto accident page.
Compensation in an Bicycle Accident Case
If you’re seriously injured and entitled to recover compensation from one or more persons who were at fault for your accident, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages. In Illinois, there is no monetary limit on the amount of damages that can be recovered in an accident lawsuit.
Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses paid
- Future costs for medical treatment
- Lost income or wages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages include items such as pain and suffering and compensation for disfigurement or disability resulting from your injuries.
Following an accident, there is a limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit to recover for your injuries, called the statute of limitations. In Illinois, the time limit for a legal action for personal injuries is two years. For property damages lawsuits, the statute of limitations is five years. Because of those limitations and for even more important reasons, like availability of evidence, it is very important not to wait to consult with an attorney if you’ve been seriously injured and someone else may be at fault.
In addition to an injured victim being entitled to recover damages if a bicycle accident was someone else’s fault, family members who lost a loved one in a bicycle crash may be able to file a lawsuit under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act if another person caused the accident.
Contacting an attorney at the earliest opportunity following an accident is very important. It is especially critical to contact a lawyer before you talk with any insurance company representatives of individuals who may be at fault in the accident.
Contact an Illinois Bicycle Accident Attorney to Schedule a Consultation
At Modestas Law, we handle bicycle accident cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you do not pay any attorney fees unless damages are recovered. We will take the time to fully understand your injuries, as well as your family and work situations, which are all important in determining the amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries.
We also focus intently on delivering a high level of client service and strive to make our clients feel that they receive the best possible representation and counsel throughout the entire process. We serve Illinois clients in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, and Will County. Our office is located in Burr Ridge. If necessary, we can meet with you in a medical facility or at your home.
Contact us to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to serving your Illinois bicycle accident legal needs.