Danville / Champaign Bicycle Accident Attorneys
When you think of a bicycle accident, you may be more likely to imagine a twisted ankle and a scraped paint job than serious injuries. However, bicycle accidents can be quite serious, and even fatal. Illinois ranks 5th in the nation for average annual number of cyclist deaths.
While many of those deaths occur in more urban areas, the Champaign / Urbana area is the site of many Illinois bicycle accidents. More than half of bicyclist crashes in the area involve riders under the age of 25.
Who is Responsible for Damages in an Illinois Bicycle Accident Case?
The determination of liability in a bicycle accident case is similar to that in an automobile accident case. Every case is different, and the law can be complex. Thus, a local personal injury attorney is your best source of assistance in assessing who may be responsible for your injuries, property loss and other damages associated with the accident. However, in general terms a bicyclist who is injured in an accident may expect to recover damages from a person or entity whose negligence caused or significantly contributed to the injury. Some common examples include:
- Another bicyclist
- A pedestrian
- The driver of a car or truck
- The owner or occupant of property
In some cases, assigning responsibility may be more complicated. For example, if an on-duty pizza delivery driver’s negligence causes your injuries, the driver himself may be liable. But, it is likely that the restaurant he works for will share that responsibility.
Ensuring that you identify all possible responsible parties is critical to obtaining the compensation you deserve, for more than one reason. For example:
- If you leave out a responsible party, the judge or jury may decide that party was the one at fault and award you nothing, or less than full compensation
- Additional responsible parties mean additional opportunities to negotiate fair settlements
- A responsible party such as an employer will have more resources and additional insurance with which to satisfy your claim
In short, overlooking a party can really hurt your case.
This is one reason that it is to your benefit to work with a qualified local personal injury attorney from the beginning: seasoned lawyers like the ones at Devens & McFetridge, Ltd. have the knowledge, experience and resources to thoroughly investigate your accident and make sure that no responsible party is overlooked or omitted.
Shared Responsibility for Bicycle Accidents
Often, the negligence of two or more parties combines to create a bicycle accident. If the cyclist himself or herself was negligent and contributed to the accident, he or she may still be able to recover damages. However, the assessment is a bit complicated.
Illinois employs a modified comparative negligence standard, which means that the injured party can recover only if he or she was less than 50% responsible for the accident. Then, the settlement or award may be reduced based on the partial responsibility of the injured cyclist.
Of course, damages very from case to case. However, certain types of damages commonly arise in bicycle accident cases, including:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost income due to injuries
- Property loss (such as destruction of the bicycle)
- Pain and suffering
While not all of these types of damages will apply in every case and there may be additional damages in certain cases, this list provides a good sense of the type of losses you may be able to expect to recover in a bicycle accident case.
A Quick Settlement May Cost You Money in a Bicycle Accident Case
After your accident, chances are good that you will hear from the other party’s insurance company. For instance, if you were hit by a car while riding your bicycle, the driver’s motor vehicle insurance carrier will almost certainly reach out to you immediately. When this happens, please proceed with caution. Remember that the insurance company’s profits depend on minimizing claim paid. The person you’re speaking with will likely be friendly and helpful, and may offer you a quick settlement under the guise of helping you get caught up and back on your feet.
If you’ve missed work and are watching your medical bills grow, that quick settlement may be very tempting. However, it is very unlikely that an insurance company making a quick offer to settle will be offering the full value of your claim. In some cases, the goal may be to get you to sign a settlement agreement before you have completed your medical treatment and know the full extent of your injuries.
Your Own Insurance Carrier May Compensate You
In a personal injury case, it’s natural to think first about pursuing damages from the person or business responsible for your injuries. However, you may be able to take advantage of the medical coverage on your own motor vehicle insurance policy. Additionally, if you have Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, that coverage may supplement or substitute for recovery from a third party, if the driver didn’t have insurance or the policy limits were too low to cover your expenses.
Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as You Can
Immediately after your accident, your primary concern should be getting the medical attention you need. As soon as you’re stable, though, you should seriously consider talking with a personal injury attorney. The information you gather during a free consultation can save you from making serious mistakes that could hurt your case and prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve.
With 60 years of combined experience in personal injury cases, our attorneys can provide the guidance you need to protect your rights and pursue fair compensation.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
You don’t have to go through this stressful experience alone. Contact our office today for a free consultation. You can reach an experienced lawyer at (217) 355-9123 or by contacting us online.