Though all vehicular accidents can be devastating, they can be even more fraught and full of risk when bicycles are involved. A bicycle accident can result in serious injuries or even death due to the relative lack of protection offered by a bicycle.
However, there are ways a personal injury attorney could help you seek compensation after such an incident. If you are injured in a bicycle accident that someone else caused, contacting a Wheaton bicycle accident lawyer should be one of the first things you do after receiving the appropriate medical care for your injuries.
The Three-Foot Rule
Bicyclists are given protection under Illinois law, and in almost all cases vehicles are supposed to yield to a bike. One specific way that Illinois protects its bicyclists is by imposing what is commonly known as the “three-foot rule.” This rule states that vehicles who seek to pass bicyclists on the road must do so at a safe distance, which is defined as being at least three feet from the bicycle.
Failing to pass at this distance is not only a violation of the law, but it can also lead to serious injuries. Evidence that a vehicle did not abide by the three-foot rule can be invaluable to a bicycle accident lawyer in Wheaton, who may be able to use that evidence to heighten the amount of fault attributable to the driver of the vehicle.
When Cars Flee the Scene of the Accident
Illinois law also protects bicyclists by requiring any vehicle that is involved in an accident with a bicycle to stop and help the injured person by arranging for any necessary medical care, such as by calling an ambulance. The law also requires the driver of the vehicle to exchange their information with the bicyclist for insurance purposes.
When a driver flees the scene of a bicycle accident, this is known as a hit and run. Though it may be difficult to find the vehicle, a skilled Wheaton bicycle accident attorney may be able to gather evidence from nearby cameras or eyewitnesses to identify the driver.
For insurance purposes, all drivers in Illinois are required to have uninsured motorist coverage. In hit and run cases in which the driver cannot be found or has no insurance, the insurance company of the injured bicyclist is normally required to pay for the damages under this uninsured motorist coverage.
Crosswalks and Bike Lanes
When a bicyclist is in a bike lane or a crosswalk, they receive explicit protection from the law. All vehicles are legally required to yield to bikes in crosswalks, and no motor vehicles may be driven in a bike lane. Unfortunately, not all motorists obey these laws or remain cognizant of them at all times, and sometimes accidents do occur in these areas as a result.
However, an accident that occurs in one of these specially protected areas is clear evidence that the fault lies entirely with the driver of the vehicle. Regardless of other aspects of the case, there is never any time in which it is legal for a car to drive in the bike lane or fail to yield to bicyclists who are legally in the crosswalk. With help from a Wheaton bicycle accident lawyer, this evidence could make a civil case much easier to win.
Contacting a Wheaton Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, contacting a Wheaton bicycle accident lawyer should be high on your list of priorities. A skilled attorney could help you devise a comprehensive legal strategy for your case and operate effectively within the often-confusing legal system. The sooner they are on the case, the sooner you could be sure that you are working toward the best possible resolution, so call today to get started.