McHenry County, Illinois Bicycle Accident Lawyers

McHenry County Bicycle Accident LawyersBicycles are a popular mode of transportation for leisure travel, exercise, and regular travel alike. Unfortunately, accidents involving bicycles are fairly common because they are more difficult to see on the road than motor vehicles. These incidents often result in catastrophic injuries for the rider—or, in some cases, even death.

These injuries occur because bicyclists aren’t afforded the same protection as someone in a passenger vehicle. Due to the severity of the injuries involved, these accidents can also be costly, causing medical bills and days of missed work or school to pile up. That’s why Illinois personal injury laws allow victims of bicycle crashes to claim damages and pursue compensation for their losses.

As cycling becomes more popular than ever, the personal injury team at Franks Gerkin Ponitz& Greeley works hard to ensure that the rights of cyclists are protected.

Common Bike Accident Injuries

As mentioned, bike accidents often result in serious injuries because riders are left unprotected from impact by the road, other vehicles, and debris. Following a bike accident in Illinois, some of the most common injuries are:

  • Neck Injuries
    If a cyclist is traveling at a high speed when they’re struck by a vehicle, they could be directly hit or thrown forward off their bike. When the head hits the ground or another object, the impact can lead to serious injuries to their neck and/or head. This is possible even if the cyclist was wearing a helmet. Potential neck injuries include pinched nerves, herniated or displaced discs, and fractured discs.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
    If the bicyclist’s head collides with the vehicle or the ground, the impact can cause the brain will be jostled around and come into contact with the inner skull. This contact can cause a concussion, better known as a traumatic brain injury. If you experience any of the following symptoms after a bike accident, you might have sustained a concussion or brain injury:

    • Nausea
    • Dizziness
    • Difficulty balancing
    • Memory loss and/or impaired memory
  • Nerve Damage or Paralysis
    Nerves are what allow the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. If a cyclist sustained nerve damage in an accident, they might experience full or partial paralysis in their legs, arms, hands, fingers, or other body parts. Some of the most common symptoms of nerve damage are:

    • A tingling sensation
    • Severe sensitivity or pain
    • Difficulties with speech
    • Reduced strength
    • Paralysis
  • Other Types of Bike Accident Injuries
    Aside from those listed above, bicyclists can suffer the following injuries due to an accident:

    • Dislocation or fractures
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Contusions and lacerations

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Bike Accident?

Technically, there’s no legal obligation to hire an attorney after a bicycle accident. However, this decision is almost always detrimental to the settlement you can expect in your case.

From the beginning, the bike accident claims process can be difficult to navigate. Even negotiating with insurance providers is complex and requires significant skill. If you don’t understand how to communicate with the insurance companies, you might make a statement that can be used against you. It’s entirely possible that your words will be misconstrued into an admission of fault, damaging your settlement.

If your case must proceed to court, you will be tasked with defending your version of events before a judge against those provided by the other party, the insurance company, and their team of attorneys. From insurance negotiations to litigation, your bike accident attorney can guide you through the process and negotiate on your behalf. Attorney guidance can also result in a faster, more efficient, and more effective claims process.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Bike Accidents in IL?

Personal injury cases are time sensitive, and Illinois law outlines a strict time frame within which you must file your claim. Bike crashes are no different. From the date you receive your injury, you have two years to pursue legal action against the opposing party. However, if you reside in either a local municipality or state entity, you have just one year to seek financial compensation.

There are few exceptions to this statute of limitations, including exceptions made for minors and people with disabilities. In general, you should not plan to file a bike accident claim in Illinois past the two-year mark.

What Compensation Is Available After a Bike Accident?

Following a bike crash, Illinois residents can seek both special (economic) and general (non-economic damages. Economic damages have a definitive price tag attached to them and make up your out-of-pocket costs. For example, economic damages include costs like medical bills, anticipated future medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and more.

Non-economic damages cannot be calculated using bills and other documentation. Instead, these damages are meant to compensate you for the intangible losses you experienced. General damages cover the approximate cost of physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of intimacy with your partner, loss of support, and more. Your accident attorney will be available to help you calculate both types of damages so you know what to expect from your civil case.

What Is Contributory Negligence, and How Can It Impact My Bike Accident Claim?

The state of Illinois recognizes contributory negligence during personal injury cases. This means that an injury victim could be deemed partially at fault for the accident. For this to occur, the other party must demonstrate that the victim was engaging in negligent behaviors and contributed to the accident.

Illinois is a modified contributory negligence state. If you are less than 50 percent at fault for a bike crash, you are still eligible to receive compensation. However, your compensation will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you are rendered unable to pursue compensation for the accident. It is, therefore, in your best interest to consult with a McHenry County, Illinois bike accident lawyer to establish the other party’s fault and preserve your claim.

What If the Motorist That Hit Me Is Uninsured or Under insured?

Drivers in the state of Illinois are required by law to have auto insurance. At minimum, drivers must carry liability insurance to cover the damages of other parties they injure. Even so, some drivers on the road fail to abide by this rule.

When you’re injured in a bicycle crash, the insurance provider of the other party should pay for your damages. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance (or if their insurance policy is insufficient to cover the costs), you can start by filing a claim with your own provider. All Illinois insurance policies provide automatic coverage for crashes with uninsured motorists. Some policies will even cover accidents with under insured drivers. Often, however, this coverage is minimal, and most drivers would benefit from filing a civil claim.

Who Can I File a Claim Against After a Bicycle Accident?

The driver of the vehicle that struck you isn’t the only party you should consider when filing your bike accident claim. In some cases, other parties will share liability for your injuries. Depending on the circumstances of your crash, it’s possible to file a claim against:

  • Pedestrians or Motorists
    This is the obvious one—you can bring a claim against the person who hit you, assuming they were liable for the accident. Generally, this is the liability that’s easiest to prove in court. Keep in mind that pedestrians can also be held liable for a bicycle crash. If they were crossing the street without the right of way, for example, the pedestrian’s negligence could result in a bicycle accident.
  • Your Bicycle’s Manufacturer
    Some accidents are the byproduct of a defective or poorly manufactured bike. If a bike part failed or broke and this led to your crash, the manufacturer may be liable for your injuries. Alternatively, if the broken bike part was produced by a separate company (e.g., a tire manufacturer), they could be considered liable.
  • Local Government
    It’s the responsibility of states, counties, and cities to maintain their roads. This means that roads should be safe for everyone that uses them, including passenger vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. If a road becomes cracked or littered with potholes, accidents can occur due to these inadequate conditions. Roads that are poorly marked can also cause a bike crash.

How Much Does a Bike Accident Attorney Cost in IL?

Personal injury attorneys like bike accident lawyers typically work on a contingency basis. This means that after you receive your settlement, the lawyer will collect a certain percentage of that amount. If the attorney is unable to acquire compensation for their client, that client doesn’t owe their legal counsel any money.

It’s common for McHenry County, Illinois bicycle accident lawyers to collect between 33% and 40% of their client’s total settlement. However, depending on the complexity of your claim, this percentage can vary. If you’d like more information on your attorney’s payment system, be sure to inquire during your consultation. That way, you won’t be shocked by a contingency fee that’s much different from what you’d believed.

McHenry County, IL Bicycle Accident Attorneys | Top Illinois Bike Crash Lawyers

After another party’s negligence caused your bicycle crash, you will almost certainly experience undue financial stress as a result. Reach out to the personal injury lawyers at Franks, Gerkin, Ponitz& Greeley as soon as possible. We pride ourselves in our ability to secure clients the compensation they deserve.

To schedule your consultation with our firm, simply complete our online form.

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