Victims involved in motorcycle accidents are often taken advantage of. In many instances, these innocent individuals are accused of aggressive or unsafe driving. The other parties involved usually try to blame the accident on the motorcycle rider because of the bad reputation many of these riders have. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident and are experiencing this type of bias, then you might need the assistance of a motorcycle accident lawyer in Chicago. A qualified motorcycle accident attorney will take the following steps to protect you.
Represent You On Behalf of Other Parties Involved
With the help of an Illinois motorcycle accident attorney, you’ll have legal representation. This is a great way to protect your interests in a personal injury case. Too often, the victims involved do not know what to say or do.
With a trusted attorney, you’ll be able to have proper guidance throughout your case. This promotes the best possible outcome. Part of the job of a motorcycle accident lawyer will be to represent you among the other parties involved.
With this type of help, you will not have to talk to the other parties. This can greatly minimize your stress and help you cope with what has happened.
Prevent Anyone From Taking Advantage of You
During many motorcycle accident cases, an insurance company might offer you a settlement amount that will not cover all of the damages you have sustained. Without legal aid, it might be tempting to take this type of settlement.
However, if you’re working with a qualified lawyer, you will be protected from this common mistake. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you might benefit from personal injury services. Extra assistance will help you get the best result from your case and higher compensation.
Motorcycle Accident Facts
Motorcycle accidents claim thousands of lives per year. Additionally, motorcycle riders are more likely to receive serious injuries or die in an accident than occupants of any other type of vehicle. One of the sad motorcycle accident facts is that, while motorcycles account for only three percent of all registered vehicles on the road, motorcycle operators and passengers account for nearly 13 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Consider the following motorcycle accident facts the next time you get on your bike. Plus, be sure to take proper safety precautions before you become just another statistic.
Fact: Motorcycles Are More Dangerous Than Cars
While there is no evidence to suggest that motorcycle operators are more careless than people driving cars, the fact remains that people on motorcycles have considerably less protection in the event of a crash. This is one of the main reasons that motorcyclists and their passengers are nearly 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatality on the road.
Fact: A Motorcycle Helmet Can Save Your Life
The biggest killer in motorcycle accidents is head injuries. The simple act of wearing a helmet can reduce the chances of dying in a motorcycle crash by 37 percent. It’s estimated that motorcycle helmets save more than 2000 lives each year. Plus, an additional 800 could have been saved if the rider had been wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Not all states require helmets, but the numbers prove that wearing one is a good idea. This is regardless of the law in your state.
Fact: There Are Ways To Avoid A Motorcycle Accident
While there is no foolproof way to prevent a motorcycle accident, there are ways to reduce the risks. Obeying the speed limit and other rules of the road and never driving while under the influence of alcohol are two major ways to avoid risk.
It’s also important not to engage in risky behavior like lane splitting, as this may increase your risk of crashing. As these motorcycle accident facts illustrate, driving a motorcycle is a big responsibility. Make sure you have taken adequate safety precautions before you hit the open road.
What Are The Dangers To Avoid?
Motorcycles provide a sense of freedom. They also come with risks. The average motorcycle accident is far more serious than the average car crash. Studies have consistently shown that motorcycle accidents lead to a higher rate of serious injury and even death—as much as 35 times higher.1 Motorcyclists should be aware of the hazards, weigh the risks carefully, and practice good safety habits.
Types Of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents come in many varieties. Collisions with other vehicles, particularly head-on collisions, are the most common type of motorcycle accident. They’re also the deadliest. Given the lack of protection, any type of accident is more severe when it involves a motorcycle.
Types of motorcycle accidents include:
- Head-on collisions
- Collisions with stationary objects
- Collisions with pedestrians/bicyclists
- Side or rear collision
- Loss of control
Top Motorcycle Dangers
In order to minimize the risk of injury, motorcyclists should follow basic safety practices. This means knowing what mistakes to avoid. It also means learning how to deal with a range of potential hazards:
- Left-Hand Turns: Cars making left-hand turns are among the biggest threats to motorcycles. Whether passing by on one side or proceeding through the intersection, beware of left-turning vehicles.
- Lane Splitting: Lane splitting—driving between two rows of slow or stopped cars—is a common practice among motorcyclists. It can also be a dangerous maneuver. Lane splitting is not only dangerous, but it’s also illegal in Illinois, and violators can face the prospect of fines if the police catch them maneuvering between traffic.
- Road Hazards: Road hazards include potholes, animals and slick, oily, or icy roads. They are particularly perilous for motorcyclists who can easily lose control when they come into contact with such hazards.
- Speeding: As with all vehicles, speeding is a leading cause of crashes.
- Alcohol: Drinking while driving always poses a danger, to the drunk driver as well as everyone else on the road. The stakes are higher for the driver if he or she is riding a motorcycle.
What To Do If You’re Injured In A Motorcycle Crash
Thousands of Americans receive injuries in motorcycle crashes each year. The precious minutes after a wreck are crucial to ensuring a full recovery. If you’re injured in an accident, maintaining the presence of mind to safeguard yourself from further injury could mean the difference between life and death.
After an accident, one of the most important things you can do is to get off the roadway and away from your bike, especially if it’s leaking fluids. Your next step is to examine yourself for injuries. Make sure you can move all the muscles in your arms, legs, hands, and feet. Also, check for scrapes and cuts.
Even if you feel fine, be sure that you consult with medical professionals, as some injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes are not immediately apparent. Once you’ve ensured your safety, you should immediately contact your attorney to ensure your rights are protected. Do not admit fault and be sure to collect any witness contact information if you can.
Check out this infographic from the Law Office of Marc J. Shuman & Associates, Ltd. to learn more about protecting yourself and your legal rights after a motorcycle accident.
Settlement Factors In A Motorcycle Accident Case
Personal injury claims in a motorcycle accident case are not as widely advertised as the ones resulting from car and truck accidents. But, they are equally as serious. Here are some critical factors that help determine the settlement of motorcycle accident claims:
Valuing A Potential Case
A personal injury lawyer will assess your motorcycle accident and try to come up with a figure for the amount a jury might award you. Furthermore, valuing will also establish how much you’ll be willing to take a settlement before the case goes to trial. Therefore, the most critical factors in determining these numbers are the nature of the accident, the extent of your claim, and the likelihood of the judgment finding the defendant liable.
Determining the end result of a motorcycle accident case can be difficult. The outcome will depend on how much the jury will decide to award you or your dependents. While costs like medical bills and wages lost may be easy to quantify, other claims like pain and suffering or emotional distress can be more difficult to value.
Likelihood Of Defendant Culpability
Your personal injury lawyer will study the facts of your case. This will determine the likelihood of the jury finding the defendant culpable in causing you or your family member’s injuries. If the evidence against the defendant is scarce, there will be a significant drop in the value of the settlement claim. This will make your lawyer advise you to take a low settlement. Or, you may run the risk of not being awarded anything at a full trial.
Amount Of Insurance And Its Availability
Sometimes the jury awards an amount higher than the limits on the defendant’s insurance liability. Should you be unable to collect the full amount from the defendant, you may have to accept a settlement. One that is within the limits of the insurance liability.
Understanding Helmet Law In IL
Whether you currently ride a motorcycle or intend to purchase one, it’s important to know the laws. One of the most important ones is the helmet law. Most states require a helmet when operating a motorcycle or similar vehicle and may restrict the types of helmet permitted.
Illinois currently does not require helmets, making accident claims involving motorcycles even more complex and necessitating the assistance of an experienced Chicago personal injury law firm in even minor accidents.
A Brief History of Illinois Helmet Laws
In 1967, states were informed that they must enact helmet laws in order to receive Federal funding for certain safety and highway construction. Illinois was among 49 states to enact helmet laws over the following year. Only California refused to require helmets.
The Illinois statute was challenged by People v. Fries, in which a motorcycle accident questioned whether it was constitutional to require the use of a helmet. On July 1, 1970, the State Supreme Court repealed the helmet law. Since the repeal, there have been numerous bills attempting to reintroduce helmet laws.
At this time, it’s not legally necessary to wear a helmet for the following vehicles:
- Motocross bikes
It should be noted that Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire are the only three states that do not have at least partial helmet laws.
The Consequences of Riding Without a Helmet
Helmets protect the brain from trauma during impact. While it cannot prevent brain injuries entirely, it can reduce the risk of puncture or severe concussion. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, four lives out of every 100,000 motorcyclists were saved in 2010 by the use of helmets. Furthermore, they estimated that the economic cost avoided that year through helmet use was eight million dollars.
Reasons Why You Should Hire A Motorcycle Lawyer
A motorcycle accident may leave you or a loved one with serious life-changing injuries and numerous unforeseen expenses. During your recuperation, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the paperwork necessitated by various medical procedures and ongoing insurance battles. You may be told an attorney is not necessary for your situation. However, an experienced Chicago motorcycle lawyer can evaluate your case and help you decide what the right course of action is for your situation.
Reasons to Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
- The injuries received as a result of the motorcycle accident left you hospitalized. An extended hospital stay can be a very costly expense.
- Even if the accident was months ago, you are still incurring medical bills. The bills may be from the initial hospitalization, extended stay, or follow up care.
- Motorcycle accident injuries can be permanent and life-changing. Your injuries may have left you in need of continuing care, physical therapy, or more medical procedures. An accident may require more than one surgery to help in mending broken bones, severe scarring, or other medical treatment. Further treatment can add to your expenses which can negatively affect your monthly budget leaving you unable to pay bills.
- The motorcycle accident caused the death of a family member, child, spouse, or loved one.
- The motorcycle accident involved alcohol and the other party was above the legal limit.
- The person responsible for the motorcycle accident was uninsured or under-insured.
A Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer will keep you informed throughout your entire claims process. That way, you can get back to your daily routine while you recover from your loss or begin to heal. A motorcycle accident lawyer will be sure to keep your best interests in mind as you move forward with your claim.
An expert attorney can aid you in filling out the insurance claim forms, gathering documentation, investigation, evidence, and acquiring any other crucial data for the case. Plus, an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer will not be intimidated by insurance companies. And, if needed, they will help you to prepare for litigation or a trial.
For more information on what to expect, contact a lawyer today for a consultation about your case. Call 800.722.9744 today to receive a FREE consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD.