Motorcycle Accidents in the Windy City More Common Than Other Parts of Illinois
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident in the greater Chicago area, you may be eligible to file a Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit. Contact an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer at TorHoerman Law today to find out how we can help.
Chicago Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the Motorcycle Operator Manual published by the Illinois Secretary of State, there are approximately 303,000 licensed motorcycles on Illinois roads, and it is increasing every year.
Motorcycles are the most vulnerable vehicles on Illinois roads because there is little to protect a motorcyclist from an impact with another vehicle, the road, or a stationary object in an accident, unlike cars or trucks which have thousands of pounds of metal and airbags surrounding the passengers. The Illinois Division of Traffic Safety formally declared motorcycles to be the most vulnerable vehicles traveling on Illinois roadways – all due to the higher percentage of fatal motorcycle accidents.
In the Windy City, accidents occurred at a rate much higher than the rest of the state. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 30 motorcyclists were killed in Cook County, more than five times the rate of other counties.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
7 Steps to Take Immediately after a Chicago Motorcycle Accident
- See if anyone is injured, call 911 right away to report the accident and injury(s). Even if no one is injured, you should still contact the authorities.
- If you are able, move out of the roadway and into a safe area near the road, such as the shoulder. This will reduce the risk of further accidents. If you or others cannot move off the roadway, set out hazards to let other drivers know that there has been an accident. Once emergency personnel arrives, they will take extra precautions to make sure other drivers are alerted of the accident by leaving their flashing lights on or setting up a detour.
- Seek medical attention even if your injuries are minor. It is important to mitigate injury right away. Do not forget to document all medical expenses and bills that you incur as a result of the accident.
- Document all details. This includes obtaining the information of all individuals involved in the accident and taking pictures or videos of the scene.
- Talk with your insurance company to figure out the next steps. It’s also important to document all interactions with your insurance agent.
- Keep records of all future interactions and costs associated with your Chicago motorcycle accident – this is incredibly important. These records can be used as evidence in the event of a lawsuit.
- Call a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer to help you navigate the complex legal process.
Most Common Injuries in a Chicago Motorcycle Accident
Motorcyclists often suffer the most serious injuries in an accident because there is little to protect and absorb the impact. While protective gear can help prevent serious injury, it is not full-proof. The most common injuries sustained in a Chicago motorcycle accident are:
- Brain injuries & Head injuries
- Road rash
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Muscle injuries
- Broken bones
- Biker’s arm
- This particular injury is caused when the motorcycle falls on the arm of the driver or passenger and causes nerve damage due to the impact.
- Emotional trauma and distress
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than 4,800 motorcycle deaths annually, and motorcycle accident fatalities happen 29 times more frequently than crash fatalities.
The statistics are staggering so it’s important to take the most care possible to protect yourself, which includes wearing a helmet.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago
Motorcycle accidents occur almost twice as much in urban areas versus rural areas according to 2016 Crash Facts and Statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Motorcyclists injured in an accident increased by 1.9% from 2015 to 2016.
While there are varying causes of Chicago motorcycle accidents, the most commonly occurring are:
Collisions with other motor vehicles – The most common cause of Chicago motorcycle accidents, there is an increased push to raise awareness of motorcycles on the road.
Driving under the influence – Never drink and drive, ever. It puts yourself and others at risk, and countless people have been injured or killed as a result of drinking and driving. Do your part and stay off the roads when drinking. Phone a friend or Uber to get home safely.
Speeding – Abide by the designated speed limits. It could save your life.
Reckless and careless driving – Regardless of the type of motor vehicle, reckless driving is potentially deadly.
Lane splitting – An incredibly dangerous maneuver, lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle attempts to bypass slow or stopped traffic by riding between lanes, or rows, of cars.
Inexperienced drivers – One of the biggest causes of Chicago motorcycle accidents, a lack of knowledge of motorcycles and necessary riding skills can be dangerous not only to yourself but others on the road.
Motorcycle defects – The manufacturer of a defective or poorly built motorcycle can be held liable for any injuries. These often fall under the category defective product lawsuit.
Sudden stops – This can be a reason for an accident in two ways: the driver of another motor vehicle suddenly stopped and did not give you enough time to do so or you made a sudden stop and it caused you to lose balance on your motorcycle.
Left turns – A misjudgment of the amount of space you have or confusion on who has the right of way can be a common occurrence for motorcyclists.
It is imperative you stay alert and aware of your surroundings. While you cannot control the behavior of other drivers on the roads, you can do your best to be proactive and take every precaution possible. Safety always comes first, especially when riding a motorcycle in Chicago.
Overwhelming Majority of Chicago Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Cars
Driver negligence is a real concern for Chicago motorcyclists. A report released by the NHTSA in July 2012 contained shocking statistics related to accidents involving cars and motorcycles. 2,351, or 51%, of motorcycles involved in a fatal crash, collided with another type of motor vehicle. Of those crashes, 75% of motorcyclists were struck in the front.
Other vehicles on the road have a duty to motorcyclists to take a heightened sense of care and leave extra room for motorcycles, take more time before stopping, pay attention to the road, and eliminate distracted driving.
How can cars cause accidents with motorcyclists in Chicago? There are three common causes of Chicago motorcycle car collisions including:
- Sudden stops preventing motorcyclists from stopping in time to avoid hitting the vehicle
- Opening car doors on busy streets without looking at the surroundings
- Unsafe lane changes which can cut off motorcyclists without warning
Illinois participates in a number of programs to promote awareness and safety of motorcyclists. The ‘Start Seeing Motorcycles’ campaign is common throughout the United States, but the goal of the program is to remind motorists to share the road with motorcyclists and promote safety. Every year since 1983, May has been designated ‘Motorcycle Awareness Month’, as determined by the Governor of Illinois. Like its counterpart, Start Seeing Motorcycles, the month is dedicated to raising awareness of motorcyclists on roadways.
There are also campaigns to remind Chicago motorcyclists themselves to take precautions while enjoying the roads. In recent years, there has been a push to eliminate drinking and riding, especially through the ‘Don’t Drink and Ride’ campaign, established in 2008. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, alcohol contributes to about 40% of motorcycle fatalities.
Steps and Precautions to Avoid a Chicago Motorcycle Accident
Riding a motorcycle in Chicago undoubtedly increases your risk of an accident, however, there are steps and precautions you can take to avoid an accident.
- Be visible. Wear bright-colored clothing. Alert drivers of your presence by flashing your lights before changing lanes, especially at nighttime. If visibility is decreased for you, it will also be decreased for other drivers.
- Take extra precaution when going through intersections. It is best to assume that drivers cannot see you and you are in their blind spot. Leave extra room for yourself in the case of a dangerous situation arising.
- If changing lanes, do so slowly. Again, you may be in the blind spot of another vehicle and they will not see you if you switch lanes. Use hand motions to signal your intentions and alleviate any possibility of a potential accident.
- Do not follow other motorists closely. There could be a number of reasons why a motorist would stop abruptly, but it is best to keep your distance to keep yourself safe. Follow the rule of thumb – three-second following distance.
Illinois Helmet Laws
Illinois is one of three states that does not have any sort of helmet law established, and motorcyclists are not required to wear helmets when driving or riding on a motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets have a 37% effectiveness in preventing motorcycle accident fatalities and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries. The Illinois Department of Transportation compiled data from 2015 and determined that of the 147 motorcyclists killed, 71% were not wearing a helmet.
We highly recommend a helmet is worn to protect the safety of the rider. From 2016 to 2017, motorcycle fatalities increased by 5.2% in the State of Illinois.
Helmet laws date back to the mid-1960s when in 1967, the federal government required states to enact helmet laws for motorcycle riders in order to qualify for federal safety programs and highway construction funds. However, nine years later, states lobbied Congress to stop the Department of Transportation from executing penalties based on helmet law requirements. Illinois, as a result, rolled back its laws, becoming one of the three states without any established helmet law.
Throughout the years, there have been many attempts to re-establish a law requiring both motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets, but all attempts have been fruitless due to pro-helmet-choice advocates who stand by their position that helmets should be a choice made by the driver. The American Motorcyclist Association encourages the use of safety gear, including helmets, gloves, protective clothing, when operating or riding on a motorcycle, but has not gone as far as to recommend a universal helmet law.
In 2011, Illinois established a campaign to encourage motorcyclists to wear proper gear to protect them from the elements and potential accidents. Titled ‘Gear Up – Ride Safe’, the aim is to raise awareness of the wearing proper gear to protect yourself, such as helmets, eye protection, gloves, jackets, pants, and boots, in order to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.
Other Illinois Motorcycle Laws
In order to obtain your motorcycle license, a driver must pass a knowledge test and skills test. For the written knowledge portion, all information needed can be found in the Illinois Motorcycle Operating Manual. To pass the skills test, the driver must demonstrate their ability to ride a motorcycle through a series of obstacles, based on the type of motorcycle the driver is applying to get a license for.
The rules of the road are the same for motorcyclists as they would be for drivers of cars.
To promote motorcycle safety, Illinois is one of two states that offer free training classes for motorcycle operations with the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program (CRSTP) program, established in 1976.
How Long Do I have to File a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Each state has different laws that determine your “statute of limitations“, or a set of laws that determine how long an individual has to file a claim after their accident. It is important to be aware of your state’s laws because if the time has passed, you are not allowed to file a claim, which could inevitably cost you time and money.
In Illinois, motorcycle injury claims must be brought within two years of the sustained injury. However, this rule is different if the injured individual is a minor. In that case, the minor’s age at the time of the accident will determine when a suit must be filed.
It is best to consult a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer to initiate your Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit as soon as possible, avoiding any issue with the Illinois statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents
Hiring a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
- Have you been injured in a Chicago motorcycle accident?
- Was the accident due to another driver’s negligence?
- Do you have questions about your accident and need help taking the next step?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may want to contact a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss your potential Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit. An experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer can answer any questions you have and consult you on your accident and legal options, free of charge. Call TorHoerman Law today to see if you qualify for a Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit.
At TorHoerman Law, we have a team of experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers available to discuss your potential lawsuit with no-obligation and free of charge. There are many benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer from TorHoerman Law. One of those benefits is that our team works on a contingency fee basis for all Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit clients. So, we are as dedicated as our clients to get the best possible outcome for their Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Filing a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Before moving forward with your Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit, you should familiarize yourself with the steps of civil litigation so that you know what to expect.
You should also mitigate your injuries by any means necessary. this is important to the strength of your claim
As mentioned previously, you should then begin to gather evidence, with the help of your Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer.
Your Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer will also be able to help you assess damages in your case – based on the details of your case, you may choose to file both compensatory damages and punitive damages against the party that is liable for your accident.
Determining personal injury liability can be difficult in these cases, but an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer will have no problem determining liability.
After determining damages and liability, the next step is moving forward with your Chicago motorcycle accident lawsuit and seeking compensation for your losses.
For additional information, see the following pages:
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