Even with a helmet and pads, bicyclists have little to no external protection in the event they are hit by a negligent driver. If you needed medical attention for an injury after being hit by a car while biking, you may be able to pursue civil litigation with the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney. The professional guidance of an Elgin bicycle accident lawyer could put you in a better position to recover for every loss stemming from your crash, including medical bills, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and more. En Español.
Proving Negligence for a Bike Wreck
While anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident is susceptible to serious injuries, bicyclists have a particularly high risk of suffering catastrophic harm. Without any airbags, seatbelts, or even a vehicle frame to soften the blow, bike riders involved in traffic crashes often suffer severe and debilitating injuries. These can include ligament tears, bone fractures, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, permanent brain damage, and even death.
For someone else to be financially liable for a cyclist’s damages, they must generally be found legally responsible for causing the accident that led to the injuries. This requires the plaintiff, or the person who is seeking compensation for their injuries, to demonstrate all four elements of negligence:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- They subsequently breached that duty
- Their breach of care caused an accident
- The plaintiff suffered compensable losses as a result
In other words, anyone seeking compensation for injuries related to a preventable biking collision must prove through a preponderance of evidence that the accident was a direct result of a negligent driver’s reckless or careless actions.
Every licensed driver owes a duty of care to others on the road that obligates them to drive carefully and obey traffic laws. However, showing that a breach of duty directly or proximately caused a bicyclist to suffer injuries can be tricky, depending on the circumstances.
Police reports of traffic violations and medical documentation of injuries generally make up the primary evidence for bicycle crash claim, but traffic camera footage, eyewitness accounts, and testimony from accident reconstruction experts can also be valuable tools during civil litigation. A local bike accident attorney could lead the way in collecting and effectively presenting evidence of civil fault.
Laws at Play in Elgin Bike Accident Claims
There are several statutes that bike accident victims in Elgin should be aware of when considering a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney in our community could help ensure that all legal requirements are met when filing for damage recovery.
Many states consider comparative fault in negligence cases, meaning that a plaintiff may still seek compensation even if they were found partially responsible for their injuries. However, they may have their final damage award reduced proportionately to their assigned percentage of fault, as outlined in 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/2-1116.
This legal principle often comes into play in bike crash claims where the rider was not wearing a helmet, as defendants may try to paint this as a form of contributory negligence despite the fact that state law does not require cyclists to wear protective headwear. An assertive bicycle accident attorney could help injured victims defend against these claims and argue down their percentage of comparative fault in court.
735 ILCS §5/13-202 sets a statutory filing deadline of two years after an accident occurs for all civil claims for personal injuries, including those caused by bike crashes. However, this filing period may be extended to five years in cases seeking compensation solely for property damage (i.e. repair costs for a broken bicycle). A bicycle accident lawyer could explain how these and other legal nuances might impact recovery in a particular situation.
Work with a Knowledgeable Elgin Bicycle Accident Attorney
The Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. have over thirty years of experience helping pedestrians and bicyclists recover damages after severe accidents. If you were hurt in a biking accident, seek legal counsel immediately. Civil litigation may be the best way for you to preserve your financial security and future prospects.
Once retained, an Elgin bicycle accident lawyer could work on your behalf to construct a comprehensive demand package and pursue a positive resolution to your claim. Schedule your initial consultation by calling today.