The latest Illinois crash facts and statistics show that cyclists were involved in 3,233 accidents that resulted in an injury or fatality in 2015. Of these accidents, 460 resulted in catastrophic injuries that resulted in someone no longer being able to participate in normal activities. Accidents that involved both vehicles and bicycles resulted in 27 cyclist deaths that year.
Unfortunately, whenever you ride your bike, your life is at risk. When you share the road with personal and commercial vehicles, your risk of a crash increases. If you are hurt in a bicycle accident, or if you lost a loved one in a crash, do not hesitate to contact a Illinois bicycle accident lawyer at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. We have experience with accidents involving both vehicles and bicycles, and we will use our knowledge and resources to help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Whether you are a relatively new cyclist or highly experienced on your bike, you are at risk for a bicycle accident. You may carefully follow the law and still end up being struck by a vehicle or colliding with a pedestrian.
The most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Aggressive and reckless drivers
- Cyclists’ failure to obey traffic signals
- Distracted cyclists
- Distracted drivers
- Drivers of vehicles speeding
- Drivers opening a door into a cyclist
- Drivers’ failure to keep a lookout
- Drivers’ failure to obey traffic signals
- Drivers’ failure to yield to the right of way
- Driving too close to a cyclist while passing
- Intoxicated drivers
- Unprotected left turns
These factors can lead to a vehicle running you off the road, rear-ending you, catching one of your wheels, or colliding with you from the side. Whatever the type of accident, you may have suffered significant injuries and should call a lawyer right away. An experienced Illinois bicycle accident lawyer from The Cates Law Firm, LLC will review your situation and advise you of next best steps.
Bicycle-Vehicle Collision Injuries
When you are in an accident while on your bike, there is little to protect you other than your helmet and other gear. That means there is nothing to mitigate the force of the impact on your body and the force of any secondary impact, such as you landing on the pavement or another vehicle.
Any type of collision with a vehicle or even a pedestrian can lead to serious injuries, including:
- Complex bone fractures
- Head and facial injuries
- Scrapes, lacerations, and bruises
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Spine injuries, including herniated discs
- Sprain or strained muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Whether you suffered severe road rash or are facing paralysis after a bicycle accident, you need to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. It can be challenging to estimate the value of your claim until you talk with an attorney who has handled bicycle accidents before and is familiar with similar awards or settlements in your area. A bicycle accident lawyer at The Cates Law Firm, LLC will review your situation and can help you determine the potential value of your case.
Establishing Who Is at Fault
Before you may obtain compensation after a bicycle accident, you must have evidence that another individual is at fault. You must prove that the other driver was negligent, or worse, reckless or intentional in their actions. In many cases, there is evidence that the driver is at fault either through an illegal or inappropriate maneuver. Your lawyer will gather evidence of the driver’s fault to present to an insurer or court, such as:
- Your statement or testimony
- Photos and video footage of the accident scene
- A police report
- Eye witness statements or testimony
- Expert testimony, such as an accident reconstruction’s report
Illinois’ Contributory Negligence Rule
If you were in an accident involving both a vehicle and a bicycle, the driver may try to claim you caused the accident or were partially at fault. If this has happened or you expect it to, call a lawyer right away. These types of allegations refer to Illinois’ contributory negligence rule, which could limit your financial recovery or stop it entirely.
Under Illinois’ law, if you are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, then you may not recover any compensation. If you are less than 50 percent responsible, then you may still receive compensation. However, it will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if a court or jury finds that you are 20 percent responsible for the bicycle accident, then whatever compensation you are awarded by the judge or jury will be reduced by 20 percent.
You need an Illinois bicycle accident lawyer to aggressively fight back against allegations of contributory fault. With an experienced lawyer by your side, you may be able to prove that you were entirely within the law and did not contribute to the accident. If you are partially responsible, then your lawyer will fight to mitigate your portion of fault so that your compensation is diminished as little as possible.
Recovering Compensation for a Bicycle Accident
If you are hurt in a bicycle accident and are able to establish fault, then you may pursue compensation for:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses
- Wage loss
Fatal Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists may pass away from injuries suffered in a vehicle-bicycle accident. If you lost a spouse, parent, or child in a bicycle accident, do not hesitate to call The Cates Law Firm, LLC to discuss your options. If there is evidence the driver was negligent, reckless, or acted intentionally, then we can guide you through filing a wrongful death claim. During this type of claim, you may ask for compensation for:
- Your loved one’s medical expenses
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Your family’s grief and mental suffering
- Loss of your relative’s economic contributions
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of love and emotional support
- Loss of instruction, guidance, and moral training for children
It can be difficult to decide whether to file a lawsuit or not after losing a loved one. Filing a wrongful death suit will not bring them back or make you feel better. However, it can provide you with the financial assistance you need to move forward from this challenging situation without taking on debt or being unable to pay your bills.
Illinois Bicycle Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Seek Justice
If you were injured in a vehicle-bicycle accident, or you lost a loved one who was on their bike, call The Cates Law Firm, LLC as soon as possible. We understand how challenging it can be to physically and emotionally recover from an unexpected accident. We also know how important it can be to recover compensation when another person is at fault. A Belleville bicycle accident lawyer from our firm will help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to under the law so that you can pay your medical expenses, cover your bills while out of work, and move forward in life without financial difficulties.
To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 618-277-3644 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Providing experienced representation for injured bicyclists throughout Illinois, including the communities of Belleville, Carbondale, Chester, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, St. Louis, Waterloo and Madison County, Monroe County and Randolph County.