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When a collision occurs between a bicycle and a motor vehicle, the bicyclist is often the worse off of the two involved parties. Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even paralysis are just a few of the serious injuries that could occur, and when they do, cyclists often do not know how to respond. Sometimes, they do not even realize they may be able to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
Fortunately, if you are injured while riding your bike because of a negligent driver’s actions, you may have a valid claim that could get you the compensation you need to pay for medical bills and more. The first step to getting the full recovery to which you may be entitled, though, should be hiring a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer to manage your case and provide professional legal assistance.
Determining who is liable for a bicycle accident typically relies on finding out who was negligent in the accident. Legal negligence is defined as a lack of due care that caused the accident. Everyone on the road owes everyone else on the road this duty of care to ensure that everyone is kept safe.
When someone is found to be negligent, they could then be considered to be liable for the accident. Furthermore, they may be held responsible for paying compensation to injured victims if those individuals decide to file a lawsuit. In bicycle accident cases, this liable party is often the motor vehicle driver who was involved in the accident, but this is not always the case.
In some cases, other parties can be held liable for a bicycle accident. For example, if a bicycle was defective and part of it broke while the cyclist was riding, the cyclist may fall off the bike and into traffic. When that is the case, the bicycle manufacturer or a repair shop that just worked on the bike may be held responsible.
The primary type of recovery bicycle accident victims often pursue is compensation for their medical expenses. Given the severity of potential injuries a bike crash may cause, these costs can be enormous, often to the point that the accident victim cannot pay them on their own. Reasonable medical costs as identified by an insurance claim process or at trial may be covered and sought as restitution in a lawsuit.
In addition, compensation may be available for lost income if the cyclist is left unable to work, and in the same vein, rehabilitative costs may also be claimed. If the accident caused damage to the victim’s bicycle, compensation for this property damage may be sought as well. Furthermore, if an accident victim is left in a great deal of physical or mental pain after their incident, intangible losses such as pain and suffering may be included in a settlement demand.
Finally, the court may even award the cyclist punitive damages if the liable party acted particularly erroneously or recklessly—for instance, if they were drunk at the time of the accident. This type of compensation is meant to punish the liable party for their egregious behavior.
There are many reasons why you may want to hire an attorney to help with a bicycle accident case in Chicago. In addition to offering legal advice and bringing their experience to the case, skilled counsel could take care of all the legal legwork while you and your family focus on recovery. They could collect police reports, gather medical documents pertaining to the accident, and even speak to the insurance companies on your behalf.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, speak to a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer today. There is help available, and you may be entitled to compensation. Call today to schedule a consultation and start exploring your options.