MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Riding motorcycles can invoke a tremendous sense of freedom. There is little between you, the outdoors, and the roadway, which is precisely what makes riders and passengers more vulnerable to harm. Also, other drivers often neglect to remember they are sharing the roadway with motorcycles. Because they are smaller than a car, they can more easily be overlooked in blind spots, entering and exiting the road, or when turning.
Nothing ruins the freedom of a motorcycle faster than a negligent driver. The injuries a rider suffers in a crash are often serious and even deadly. If it happens to you or someone you love, you deserve compensation for your injuries and losses, and that requires pursuing a motorcycle accident claim.
At Stiberth, Scarlati & Boudreau, LLC, we provide compassionate legal representation to motorcycle riders and their families who’ve been injured or killed in Chicago, Illinois, and throughout Cook County and the collar counties. If someone else’s negligence caused a crash, we will help you hold them accountable.
What Should I Do if I Get in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances of a motorcycle accident, these are four important things to do and why you should do them:
Get medical attention right away, even if you don’t think or are not sure you are injured. Many injuries are not readily apparent, taking days or weeks for you to realize you are injured. Not only will delaying diagnosis and treatment hamper your recovery, but the insurance company will use the delay to disparage your injuries and assert that they were caused by something other than the accident.
Document everything you can, and request copies of all documents related to your personal injury claim. This begins with getting the name and insurance information of all drivers involved in the crash, as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses. Taking photos of the scene, your motorcycle, and other vehicles involved will be useful as well. Moreover, you will need copies of your medical records and bills, the crash report, evidence of lost wages, and other documents to pursue your claim.
Contact your insurance company to open a claim for any benefits you may have, such as medical payment benefits and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You will also need to file a third-party liability claim against the liability insurance coverage of the at-fault driver.
Hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, like ours at Stiberth, Scarlati & Boudreau, LLC. Our attorneys will take care of most of these steps for you while you focus on your recovery. We can investigate the crash, help you avoid missteps, keep the claims process moving, and be your advocate at every step of the way. Plus, once the insurance company receives notice that you are represented by an attorney, all communication must go through your personal injury attorney, which buffers you from insurance company tactics.
What Illinois Motorcycle Laws Might Affect My Claim?
Motorcycle operators are required to follow all the rules of the road as drivers of other vehicles are. That said, Illinois law does allow motorcycle riders at an intersection with a red light lasting longer than 120 seconds to proceed into the intersection after yielding the right of way to all other vehicles.
However, there are a few laws specific to motorcycles that you should be aware of. For example, lane splitting is prohibited in Illinois. If you are sharing or filtering a lane with a vehicle when the accident occurs, you may be found partially or completely responsible for the crash.
There are no state helmet laws in Illinois, but operators and passengers must wear appropriate goggles or glasses, or be protected by a transparent shield.
Motorcycle passengers can only be transported on a motorcycle if it is built for a passenger, meaning there must be a seat and a separate set of footrests. Required motorcycle equipment includes at least one rear-view mirror, a muffler, and a headlight.
Illinois' Comparative Fault Law
Illinois observes a modified comparative fault rule, which means more than one person may be assigned fault for causing a crash. Complying fully with all laws, including those specific to motorcycles, is extremely important. Otherwise, you give the more negligent driver’s insurance company the opportunity to reduce the sum in settling your claim or as awarded by a jury.
So long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can still pursue a personal injury claim. However, the amount of compensation you are awarded will be reduced by any percentage of fault assigned to you.
How Is Fault Determined in Illinois?
In an at-fault state like Illinois, the person whose negligence causes an accident is financially responsible for the damages suffered by those they injure. To pursue compensation by filing a third-party liability claim or a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty, that the breach caused the crash, and that as a result, you were injured and incurred damages.
Can I File a Claim for a Loved One?
Motorcycle accident injuries can incapacitate a victim, rendering them unable to pursue their own injury claim. Other accidents result in fatalities. Neither prohibits the ability to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death motorcycle claim against a negligent party.
If your loved one was incapacitated in the crash, you can petition the court to appoint a conservator. The conservator would be authorized to handle many of the financial affairs of the disabled person, including filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recover compensation for the victim’s damages.
In the event of death, only the personal representative named in the victim’s will, or a court-appointed personal representative of the estate if there is no will, may pursue a wrongful death claim. Compensation would be sought for damages to the estate and for the benefit of its beneficiaries and heirs.
The burden of proof of negligence is the same in a wrongful death action as it is in a personal injury claim. The crash must have caused the individual’s death.
MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Whether you were injured in a motorcycle accident or someone you love was incapacitated or killed, you can count on our combined century of experience. We believe victims of negligence deserve just compensation, and we are dedicated to helping our clients receive it. Call Stiberth, Scarlati & Boudreau, LLC in Chicago, Illinois, now to schedule a free case consultation.