In a city like Chicago, a bicycle is a very useful and efficient way of getting around town. Just as bicyclists deserve to share the road with other motorists, so too should they have the same rights and protections when injured in an accident.
While Chicago has made several efforts to make the streets safer for bicycling, the risk of injury or fatality remains high. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were a total of 1,629 crashes involving cyclists in Cook County in 2022. Of those crashes, 1,470 resulted in injuries and 23 resulted in fatalities.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for cutting corners and finding every means possible to avoid paying injured bicyclists what they deserve. For Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers, this will not stand. Our bicycle accident lawyers have a distinguished track record of sticking up for the rights of Chicago cyclists.
Table of Contents:
- Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Chicago
- Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
- What To Do Following a Bicycle Accident
- Who Is Liable In a Bicycle Accident in Illinois?
- Damages Are Available for Injured Bicyclists
- Landmark Illinois Supreme Court Case Won By Disparti Law Group
- Contact a Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
- Chicago Bicycle Accident FAQs
Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Chicago
Bicycle accidents can occur for any number of reasons including speeding, objects in the road, construction, improper backing, or simply user error to name a few. Sharing the road with cars, trucks, and other vehicles can be dangerous for bikers. With cell phones and other technology, it’s easier now more than ever for drivers to be distracted while driving.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in Chicago with a motor vehicle that often requires hiring a lawyer are due to:
Dooring: the driver fails to check their mirrors for cyclists before opening their door into the bike lane.
Side-swiping: the driver fails to check for bicyclists in the bike lane before making a right-hand turn.
Rear-ending: The driver gets too close to the cyclists and rear-ends them.
Left-hand turns: The driver makes a left-hand turn but fails to yield a bicyclist’s right-of-way going straight.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Due to the lack of protection, when a bicycle accident occurs, the biker typically sustains more severe injuries than in other motorized vehicle accidents. This can translate into incredibly high medical bills.
Some of the most common injuries people see in bicycle accidents include the following:
- traumatic brain injuries
- broken bones
- bruises, scratches, and road burn
- internal bleeding
- psychological distress
- torn muscles or ligaments
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, do not settle for less than what you are owed. Some injuries may seem mild at first but can later develop into more serious (and expensive) health issues.
What To Do Following a Bicycle Accident
Being involved in a bicycle accident can be traumatic and overwhelming. As adrenaline is still coursing through your body, it may be difficult to know what to do to protect yourself both physically and financially. If you ever find yourself in a bike accident or have recently been in one, here are some important steps to take.
1. Call 9-1-1
The first thing to do is call 9-1-1 and wait for emergency medical response and law enforcement to arrive. Be sure to go to the hospital for a full check-up. It is vital for there to be clear documentation of your injuries. Also, be careful of what you say or admit to the police. You don’t want something you said that you didn’t mean or was unclear to come back and jeopardize your case.
2. Exchange contact information with the other motorist(s) involved.
Be sure to exchange information with the other motorist involved in your accident including insurance information. This step is important as your insurance will need to contact this person and their insurance to process your claim.
3. Document everything you can remember from the accident.
As soon as you feel ready, write down everything you remember from the accident, big or small. You never know what detail may be useful down the line.
4. Keep any evidence from the accident.
Try not to wash or throw out any damaged clothing and avoid repairing your bike until you have collected and documented any evidence that can help your bike accident case.
5. Contact a bicycle accident lawyer.
Before talking to any insurance company, contact a bicycle accident lawyer. If they call you, say as little as possible until you’ve contacted an attorney. Remember — an insurance company’s goal will always be to save money. Your attorney’s goal will be to maximize the compensation you are rightfully owed.
6. Wait to sign any settlement agreement.
Do not sign any agreement until it has been reviewed by your attorney. Chances are, the insurance company will try to undercut what you are owed. Once an agreement is signed, you may lose your right to pursue any further action.
Who Is Liable In a Bicycle Accident in Illinois?
Determining negligence in a bike accident is integral to determining who is liable. When a party is negligent in an accident, this means that they did not operate at the standard of care expected of them and their actions or lack of action resulted in injuries.
By being on the road, every motorist agrees to take proper precautions to keep themselves and others safe. Negligent parties are liable and therefore responsible for compensating injured cyclists in an accident.
In some cases, determining liability is not so simple. More than one party can be liable in an accident. Fortunately, Illinois has a “comparative liability” law which means that even if you are partially at fault for your bike accident, you may still collect damages if you are 50% or less at fault. The amount you are owed will be reduced based on your shared fault.
In some cases, other parties can be held liable for a bicycle accident. For example, an accident may be caused by a defective bicycle that malfunctioned while being operated. In this case, the bicycle manufacturer or a repair shop that recently worked on the bike may be held responsible.
Damages Available For a Bicycle Accident
If you are a bicycle accident victim, you have likely suffered some type of loss, injury, or trauma. For this, you deserve compensation. By hiring a bicycle accident lawyer, you will have the best chance of receiving fair compensation for any damages caused by the accident.
Bicycle accident victims may be entitled to economic damages (i.e. medical bills) as well as noneconomic damages (i.e. emotional distress). Some examples include:
- lost wages
- medical bills
- mental health treatment
- physical therapy
In cases of extreme negligence, punitive damages may also be available.
Landmark Illinois Supreme Court Case Won By Disparti Law Group
On November 30th, 2023 a new precedent was set protecting the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians in Chicago when Attorney Jonel Metaj argued and won a case against Direct Auto Insurance Company. When 14-year-old Cristopher Guiracocha was hit by a driver while riding bikes with his friends, Direct Auto refused to cover his expenses under his father’s uninsured motorist claim.
Cristopher suffered injuries that severely limited his physical abilities to where he was unable to move the right side of his body for over 6 months. The driver who hit him never surfaced and his father was left to cover Cristopher’s medical expenses on his own.
Direct Auto denied Guiracocha’s claim stating that his uninsured motorist insurance only provided coverage if his son was occupying an insured vehicle. Our attorneys at Disparti Law Group knew this was in direct violation of Illinois Insurance Code Section 143(a) which clearly states that the insured does not have to be in a vehicle to be covered by uninsured motorist insurance.
After the Circuit Court of Cook County ruled in favor of Direct Auto, we did not give up the fight. When the case finally made its way to the Illinois Supreme Court, Attorney Metaj and the Disparti Law Group team came out victorious. The court ruled against Direct Auto, upholding the law’s provisions over uninsured motorist insurance.
This major decision was not just a win for the Guiracochas who would finally receive financial assistance for Cristopher’s injuries, but for all Chicago cyclists and pedestrians injured in an automobile accident. This case exemplifies how our team never backs down from fighting for victims’ rights and stands up against insurance companies who try to take advantage of their customers.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve recently been injured in a bicycle accident but feel you are owed more by your insurance company or at-fault parties, you do not have to accept this. We do not accept this. For a FREE case review, contact us today by calling (312) 600-6000.
With over $1 Billion in recoveries for our clients, Larry Disparti knows how to win! Plus, there is no fee unless we win your case. Come join the thousands who say “Larry Wins!”
Bicycle Accident Lawyer FAQs
Common questions when contacting a bicycle accident lawyer.
1. What if I was hit by an uninsured motorist or in a hit-and-run on a bike? Am I still covered by my uninsured motorist insurance?
Thanks to Disparti Law Group’s landmark win in the Illinois Supreme Court, a stronger precedent has been set for bicyclists or pedestrians who are victims of a hit-and-run or who were hit by an uninsured driver. Even if you were not occupying a vehicle, your uninsured motorist insurance should still cover your injuries, according to Illinois Insurance Code, Section 143(a).
2. Do I have to accept the settlement offer from the insurance company?
Speak to a bicycle accident lawyer before signing a settlement offer from any insurance company. Even if you receive an offer from your own insurance company, you are not obligated to sign it if you feel you are not being fairly compensated.
3. Can I still collect damages if I am partially at fault for the accident?
Even if you are partially at fault for your bike accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. Your percentage of fault will be considered when calculating damages. If you are 50% or less at fault, you can collect damages. Do not feel pressured into accepting less than you deserve, even if you are partially at fault.
4. How long do I have to file a bicycle accident claim?
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, do not delay in filing a claim and reaching out to an attorney. The statute of limitations (in other words, the amount of time you have to file a claim) is 2 years from the date of the accident for injuries and 5 years for property damage in Illinois. While there may be some acceptions, it’s best not to delay.
Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyer (312) 600-6000.
121 W Wacker Drive, Suite 2300, Chicago, IL 60601