Chicagoans use bicycles as a source of transportation, recreation, exercise, or leisure activity every day. However, in urban environments like Chicago, bicyclists leave their health in the hands of the drivers with whom they share the road. When a driver makes a mistake, it puts bicyclists in danger and creates liability for the consequences.
Bicycle accidents frequently cause serious injuries such as brain and spinal injuries, fractures, and internal bleeding. Victims can obtain compensation for the economic and non-economic consequences of these injuries through a lawsuit. However, a victim’s own negligence, such as the failure to wear a helmet, can hinder their ability to recover in some circumstances.
To get the facts about liability for your case and your potential recovery, contact the seasoned Chicago bicycle accident attorneys at Rhatigan Law Offices. To get you started on the right foot, we can offer you a free initial case evaluation when you call us today at (312) 578-8502.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
In cases of bicycle accidents, every injury is as unique as the victim themselves. These injuries can impact the victim in a variety of ways. Acting immediately to get thorough medical care after a bicycle accident is not only important for your health but also to establish a record that you can use to recover compensation later on. This way, no one can argue that you failed to take your injuries seriously or suffered them from some cause other than the accident.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Many types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), such as concussions, are common results of forceful events like vehicular collisions. You may be familiar with concussions as a result of media coverage about their effects on athletes in contact sports. You might not know that these types of injuries do not even require direct contact with the head. TBIs may cause deficits in neural function, so look out for common symptoms such as slurred speech, light sensitivity, and nausea.
Injuries to the neck or spine can be debilitating and even life-threatening. The spine is integral in all of a person’s physical functions. These injuries are incredibly delicate and can worsen if not discovered and treated immediately. Even common neck conditions like whiplash can worsen without physical therapy and specialized treatment.
The human body’s ability to heal itself is incredible. However, it can only do its job if you give your fractures the proper amount of time. This may force you to miss time at work, which is compensable through damages. To find out more about the compensable ramifications of your injuries, consult with a Chicago bicycle accident attorney about your injuries.
Sometimes, the most serious consequences of a bicycle accident are the hardest to discover. In cases where victims suffer internal injuries that cause bleeding, what might appear as a bad bruise could develop into a condition that might even put the victim’s life in jeopardy. Your first step after a bicycle accident should always be to seek medical assessment at your nearest emergency room or urgent care facility.
Liability for Bicycle Accident Injuries
Drivers owe duties while operating on both private and public roadways in the State of Illinois. They owe these duties not only to other drivers and their passengers but also to bicyclists and pedestrians with whom they share the road. When a driver behaves negligently, they put bicyclists at heightened risk, as they do not enjoy the comfort of airbags and other safety features in cars.
Identifying where a driver violated their duty is critical for the purposes of a victim’s recovery. Illinois is an at-fault insurance state, meaning that a victim must seek compensation from the insurer of the party responsible for causing the accident. If a driver is swerving, speeding, texting while driving, or breaking any number of other traffic code regulations, you will likely be able to prove that they were at fault for causing the accident. Our seasoned Chicago bicycle accident lawyers can help identify who was at fault for causing the accident that left you injured.
Comparative Negligence Rules for Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawsuits
If you are considering filing a lawsuit, you should be aware of how state laws affect accident victims in Chicago who were also partially negligent. Illinois uses a modified 51% comparative negligence rule, which may limit or prevent recovery for a plaintiff whose own actions (or inactions) played a role in the accident.
Under the modified comparative negligence rule, a court may reduce a plaintiff’s recovery proportionally based on the percentage of blame that they shared. This could include blame for both causing the accident and the injuries that followed.
For bicyclists, the most common instance in which comparative negligence rules come into play is where the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. The State of Illinois at large does not have a bicycle helmet mandate, but Chicago municipal code requires that all messengers and delivery couriers who ride bikes wear a helmet at all times.
Even if you are obeying the law by not wearing a helmet, a court may still decide to reduce the amount of compensation you can recover if wearing a helmet would have prevented or reduced the harm caused by the accident. This could apply to both economic and non-economic damages based on the supposedly preventable injury.
Suppose the court determines that the bicyclist’s negligence accounted for more than 50% of the damages (or was more than 50% responsible for causing the accident). In that case, the plaintiff will not be able to recover. That is why we at Rhatigan Law Offices always recommend that our clients take preventive measures like wearing helmets while riding in Chicago.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident in Chicago? Call Rhatigan Law Offices
When you bring your case to the attention of our Chicago bicycle accident lawyers today, Rhatigan Law Offices can offer you a free initial case assessment. Simply call our offices at (312) 578-8502.