Motorcycle accidents tend to be more dangerous than the average accident involving two passenger cars. They often result in more serious injuries and many victims turn to Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers for help. If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,326 motorcycle collisions in Illinois in 2017 and 2,514 motorcyclists suffered injuries. This means that bikers who get involved in accidents have around a 66 percent chance of suffering injuries. While some injuries are minor, others are catastrophic or even fatal.
Causes of Chicago Motorcycle Accidents
There are numerous causes of traffic accidents. However, many occur when a driver violates a traffic law or fails to display reasonable care. If the driver who hit your motorcycle was speeding, driving drunk or otherwise breaking the law, this can be used as evidence of negligence. Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers will use this to help prove that you are entitled to compensation.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are:
- Driver intoxication. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol endanger all other road users. They may have reduced visibility and therefore fail to see a motorcyclist before it’s too late. Intoxicated drivers may also lack the hand-eye coordination to reduce their speed and avoid a crash.
- Speeding. Like other states, Illinois has laws that prohibit drivers from speeding. Not only should motorists travel within the speed limit, but they should drive at speeds that are safe for the existing road and traffic conditions. They must also take care not to endanger the safety of people or property by their driving.
- Illegal left turns. This is another illegal maneuver that can result in an accident. Sometimes drivers make left turns even though they are not in the far-left lane. If a motorcyclist is in the left lane, they would be in danger.
- Dangerous lane changes. When a driver wants to change lanes, they must first ensure that it is safe to do so. This is also set out in the law. The driver must check the lane as well as their blind spots. Many motorcyclists get struck because the driver didn’t check their blind spots.
- Texting while driving. Drivers who are looking at their phones won’t be looking at the road. It’s simply impossible. Driving and texting often makes it impossible for a motorist to see a motorcyclist in time to avoid crashing into them.
- General negligence. Sometimes, drivers do things that are unsafe or unreasonable even though they may not be breaking a specific law. Motorists in Chicago have a general duty to look out for other road users and not endanger them. Drivers who are simply distracted or careless can be made to pay if they cause you harm.
Injuries Chicago Motorcyclists Can Suffer
Many motorcyclists who get struck by cars suffer incapacitating injuries. Any part of the body can be affected. Some of the most common injuries are:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Road rash
Bikers who suffer serious physical injuries can also develop psychological conditions like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, the injuries are so serious that the motorcyclist dies. In these cases, their families may have grounds to file wrongful death claims.
How Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Will Prove Your Case
To get compensation from the driver’s insurance company, you will need to present evidence that they caused your injuries. Even if your claim doesn’t go all the way to trial, you’ll need to build a strong case. Insurance companies wouldn’t be able to stay in business if they paid every claim they received. Therefore, they look for ways to pay the bare minimum or even pay nothing at all.
This can be hard to hear when you’re struggling with painful injuries, mounting medical bills, and the possibility of not being able to work for some time. Fortunately, if you have a competent attorney on your side, you’ll significantly increase your chances of getting fair compensation. In an effort to prove that the driver was negligent and that they caused your injuries, Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers may:
- Collect police reports and witness statements
- Seek out video footage of the crash
- Carry out a separate investigation into the crash
- Subpoena crash data from black boxes on cars and trucks where available
- Retain an accident scene reconstructionist
- Obtain all your medical records and bills
Not every crash requires all these steps. However, the more serious your injuries are, the more work your attorney will have to do to prove that you suffered the losses you’re claiming.
Timelines for Filing an Illinois Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Your lawyer will work hard to settle your case out of court. Personal injury claims don’t typically make it to trial. However, you’ll need to keep the statute of limitations for these claims in mind. You have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim in an Illinois court. This doesn’t preclude you from negotiating a settlement. Instead, it lets the driver and their insurer know that you are serious. It also ensures you have the option of letting a judge and jury decide if you can’t arrive at a fair settlement.
The statute of limitations is usually strictly applied. Generally, the court doesn’t care about why you delayed in filing your claim. If you attempt to take legal action after the time has expired, the attorney for the other side will ask the court to throw out the case. The judge will likely agree.
In some circumstances, the time begins to run from the date that you became aware or should have become aware that you were injured. However, you’ll need to consult an attorney about if this applies to your case. The best approach is to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your crash. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll eventually file a lawsuit, you’ll get invaluable advice.
Get Expert Legal Advice from TorkLaw
If you want to improve your chances of recovering the maximum amount, contact the Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at TorkLaw. Your first consultation is free, and you don’t have to pay any fees upfront if you decide to hire us. Call us today to get an expert opinion on your case.