If you ride a motorcycle in Chicago, chances are that you have heard all about the potential dangers involved. However, that does not mean you do not deserve the chance to pursue monetary recovery for your damages if you were injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence.
Drivers cause accidents with motorcyclists in a variety of ways. When the driver’s negligence is the cause of the accident, the motorcyclist can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver for their harms. However, you should know that Illinois law may limit your recovery if you were partially responsible for contributing to the accident.
If you hope to recover through a lawsuit, time is of the essence. To get immediate, effective legal representation, we urge you to contact the seasoned Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys at Rhatigan Law Offices today. When you call our offices at (312) 578-8502, you will be rewarded with a free initial case assessment.
Liability for Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago
Motorcyclists are particularly susceptible to injuries from accidents when other drivers behave negligently on the roads. In these instances, motorcyclists injured in an accident can pursue damages from the party responsible for causing it.
To succeed in a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, you will have to show that the defendant breached their duty of care to you. All drivers operating on public roadways owe duties to their fellow motorists. These duties are based on what is reasonably expected from a driver to operate their vehicle safely.
The easiest way to identify where a driver has breached their duties is by comparing their behavior to the applicable traffic rules and regulations. For instance, a driver would be seen to have breached their duty if they ran a red light, exceeded the speed limit, or failed to use turn signals to indicate a change in direction.
To win the lawsuit, however, you must be able to prove that the driver’s negligent action (or inaction) caused the injurious accident. For instance, if a driver did not stop at a red light and collided with a motorcyclist that had the right of way in an intersection, the negligence (blowing the red light) would be the cause of the accident. However, if the accident occurred farther down the road past where the driver went through the red light, you might have difficulty proving that the driver’s failure to stop at the red light caused the accident.
If you are unsure of whether another driver’s negligence caused your accident, our Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys may be able to help explain how liability rules in the State of Illinois apply to your case.
Comparative Negligence in Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits in Chicago
When the defendant is not the only party at fault for causing the motorcycle accident or resulting injuries, the State of Illinois employs special laws that dictate how damages are awarded. Illinois uses a modified comparative negligence rule, which essentially reduces a plaintiff’s potential recovery proportionally to the amount of blame they share.
For example, if Dave sues Beth for causing an accident that left him with damages of $50,000, but the court determines that Dave shared 20% of the fault, the court could award Dave $40,000. Here, the compensation is reduced by his percentage of fault.
Illinois’ modified comparative negligence rule uses a threshold for claims. Under this rule, a plaintiff cannot recover damages if they are determined to be more than 50% at fault for the accident.
The comparative negligence rule could come into play if the plaintiff played a role in causing either the accident or their own injuries. The latter is particularly important for motorcyclists because of one key issue: helmets. Helmetless riders are substantially more likely to suffer serious injury, and the other side will often claim that the decision not to wear a helmet was negligent and contributed to the rider’s injuries. Therefore, we always recommend that our clients wear a helmet while riding because it only takes a second of another driver’s negligence to cause a serious and potentially life-threatening accident.
Statute of Limitations for Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
If you hope to pursue your recovery through a motorcycle accident injury lawsuit, you must do so within a set period of time. The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits requires that the plaintiff file their claim within two years of the date of the accident. Failure to meet this deadline would be disastrous for a claim’s chances, and there are only limited exceptions that allow pauses or extensions to the deadline.
It may take some time to prepare and file your initial complaint, particularly where multiple parties are involved or where the injuries are particularly serious. If you wait until the last moment to contact your Chicago motorcycle accident attorney, you may not have enough time to file an effective claim. While you might not expect it, this two-year period can fly by faster than you expect. Therefore, we urge you to act on your opportunity as soon as possible after you have received medical attention so that our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers can get to work on getting you the justice that you deserve.
Need a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyer? Call Rhatigan Law Offices for Free Today
Get the experience you need on your case when you call Rhatigan Law Offices’ experienced Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys at (312) 578-8502. When you call today, we can offer you an initial case assessment free of charge.