Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States by population and a huge hub for motorcycle riding. People ride to work, to get around the packed city streets, and enjoy exciting trips in and out of the city. There is always a risk with such a bustling city and significant motorcycle culture- in fact, one in four motorcyclists in Chicago will, unfortunately, get into an accident each year.
However, the good news is that with proper knowledge of Illinois riding laws and having a competent motorcycle accident lawyer in Chicago, you can be prepared for any incident that might occur on the road. We’ll outline how to find a lawyer and why you need to be in touch with a qualified legal representative to make sure you are covered.
When to hire a Chicago motorcycle lawyer
Even the safest riders can’t prevent some incidents from occurring because of other drivers out on the road. Regardless of how a motorcycle accident develops or who you believe is at fault, there will typically be legal follow-up necessary. You should gather information at the scene of the incident to present to a lawyer or insurance and take every precaution possible.
Even if both parties agree on fault at the scene of the crash, we recommend making sure you have proper documentation. Oftentimes, insurance companies can manipulate cases to minimize payouts, or make it difficult to collect money you deserve should the other party be at fault but there isn’t sufficient evidence. Conversely, it is important to mitigate damages from claims should you be blamed for the accident.
In any case, having legal representation familiar with Chicago and Illinois motorcycle laws will go a long way in getting the best possible outcome legally and financially.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents
There are many variables and distractions that can contribute to motorcycle accidents. Here are some of the most common ones to watch out for:
- Another Driver Turning Left: One of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents is another car cutting you off while making a left-hand turn across lanes. It is estimated that anywhere between 36-42 percent of all motorcycle accidents are because of this, which is an astonishing amount.
- Inclement Weather: Difficult road conditions and harsh weather are one of the greatest sources of all crashes, and increase single-vehicle incidents in riders significantly. Make sure to avoid bad weather if possible, and to learn how your bike handles the road during bad conditions if you must.
- Driving Under the Influence: Another unfortunately high percentage of single-vehicle crashes for motorcyclists are DUI crashes. We’ll put it simply: do not drink before riding your motorcycle, and watch out for cars driving erratically that may be operated under the influence.
- Merging: Motorcycles are much smaller than most cars on the road, and often get hidden in blind spots. We recommend not staying static near vehicles to your left or right if possible, as you might not be visible to the driver. Defensive driving in traffic can be a life-saver, especially when it comes to lane protection.
- Rear-End Collisions: Because motorcycles are small, light, and less protected, a rear-end collision is much more dangerous than when driving a car. The same principles as blind spots apply – try to make sure that you are present in the vision of the cars around you. Lane splitting is not legal in Texas, but we recommend moving to the driver’s side of your land if you think someone may not be paying close attention behind you.
Any sort of distraction on the road can cause an accident, so always take your riding seriously. Chicago is an incredibly dense urban landscape, and while it can be fun to navigate the bustling streets, you should be focused on safety first.
Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
In the event of an accident, first make sure you and any other parties are safe and do not need immediate medical treatment. Following that, it is up to all parties to determine fault and document it for insurance and legal reasons.
Things that often contribute to clear fault are speeding, breaking any road sign rules, impaired or tired driving, or negligence. When it comes to determining fault in an accident, insurance companies and lawyers will be looking for witnesses, dash cam or security camera footage, and police reports to create a claim.
When to File a Claim
If you believe that the other party is at fault in a motorcycle accident, you will need to file a claim with your insurance or with a court. After all, you shouldn’t be accountable for damages to your vehicle, medical expenses, or lost wages due to a circumstance you were not responsible for.
It is important to know that most motorcycle case claims must be filed within two years of the date of the crash in order to receive damages.
Once you have filed a claim within the proper statute, insurance or a court case will determine what damages you are eligible for. The most common forms of damages include:
- Disability from injury
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
There are many different classes of economic and non-economic damages available via legal action. This is where it is important to have the best representation from lawyers who are knowledgeable about the nuance of each potential claim.
Illinois Helmet Laws
One thing that can negate many cases in your benefit is not wearing a helmet or proper facial protection. Even though it is legal to not wear a helmet in Illinois, absence of a helmet can assign you partial fault or lower your compensation. Additionally, the state laws mandate that you must wear protective eye gear at all times.
While no one wants to have their freedoms imposed upon, the added safety in both a physical and legal sense makes wearing a helmet or face shield a priority when riding in Chicago.
The Law Tigers Have Your Back
If you have been in a motorcycle accident in Chicago, Law Tigers is ready to represent your case. Whether you are at fault, suing for damages, or looking for a proper insurance payout, our team of experienced legal specialists will be there to ensure you have the best chance at success.
We are confident in our abilities because we’re riders just like you- our track record of specialized victories spans decades. At Law Tigers, we know that riding is a priority, and we want to help keep you on the road.