Naperville Bicycle Accident Attorneys Serving all of Illinois
Riding a bicycle on city streets can be a dangerous activity. Too many cyclists get hit by cars and the resulting injuries can be severe. The bicycle accident lawyers at The Collins Law Firm represent cyclists who have been injured because of a driver’s careless disregard for their safety. We fight for cyclists so they can focus on their recovery.How Dangerous is Cycling?
Bicyclists are some of the most vulnerable people on the road. When a bicycle and a vehicle collide, especially if that vehicle is a large SUV or truck, the cyclist has very little protection from serious injury or death. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 857 bicyclists were killed in 2018, and 24 of these fatalities happened in Illinois. A big factor in the Illinois number is Chicago; the city ranks in 15th place on a list of the most dangerous places for a fatal bike accident. As tragic as they are, however, bike fatalities account for only about 1% of the bike crashes that involve injuries in Illinois. In 2018, the Illinois Department of Transportation documented an additional 2338 bike crashes that resulted in injuries—349 of them serious—in our state.
Moreover, riding a bicycle appears to be getting more dangerous for adults. Since 1975, the number of fatalities for riders under age 20 has declined by 89% (perhaps as a result of campaigns encouraging parents to insist their children wear helmets). However, during that same period, deaths among cyclists over age 20 have tripled. The vast majority of these have been men: 651 men versus only 93 women. Two possible factors are helmets and alcohol consumption: 61% of the cyclists who died were not wearing a helmet and an estimated 20% had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) over .08. In light of these facts, it’s important that bicyclists and drivers take extra precautions to keep cyclists safe on the road.Common Types of Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle can be risky, especially if you are on a busy street. Distracted driving, speeding, intoxication, weather, and failing to follow traffic signals can all cause accidents. Understanding the following common types of bicycle accidents can help you avoid them:
Vehicle Turn Collisions: These occur primarily when motorists do not check for a cyclist in the bike lane or on the shoulder before making a right or left turn. They can also be caused by motorists failing to use their turn signal when making a turn.
Dooring Accidents: The accidents are caused by drivers who open their car door after parking without checking for an oncoming bike, causing a cyclist to slam into the open car door.
Intersections Collisions: Fifty five percent of bike accidents occur in intersections. They happen when motorists are not looking for bicyclists who have the right of way.
Driveway or parking lot accidents: This is the most common way that cyclists get hit by a car. A motorist is pulling out of a driveway or parking lot on the right and fails to look for a cyclist in the street. If the bicyclist is in front of the car, then the car hits him. If the car pulls out in front of the bicycle, the cyclist slams into the car.
Wrong-Way Accidents: These occur when the cyclist is riding against traffic. Motorists who are making a right turn, look to the left for oncoming traffic and turn right into a cyclist on the wrong side of the street.
Rear-End Accidents: These fairly uncommon accidents occur when a cyclist moves left to avoid a parked car or obstruction in the road and gets hit by a car behind them.
Bike Path Accidents: Many communities have bike paths but fail to maintain or supervise them. The resulting defects in the path, like uneven surfaces or potholes, can cause a bicyclist to crash and fly headfirst over the handlebars. Overly crowded paths can cause cyclists to run into one another, throwing one or both cyclists off their bikes.What Should You Do After a Bike Crash?
Being in a bicycle accident can be physically and emotionally traumatic, especially if you have been injured. However, what you do after a bike crash can have an important effect on any personal injury claim you might decide to pursue. To recover damages, you must establish that the motorist’s actions were primarily responsible for the accident. If you are able, it is important to stay calm and gather as much evidence as possible. Follow the steps below to protect your rights:
- Do not leave the scene of the accident.
- Call for immediate medical help if you are injured.
- Get the driver’s name, address, phone number, and insurance information.
- Take photos of your bike, your injuries, and the accident scene with your phone.
- Get statements and contact information from any witnesses.
- Call the police and tell the officer your side of the story. Include any pertinent details that may prove your case.
- Write notes about the accident. These may be important later for proving liability.
- If you are having any physical symptoms after the accident, see a doctor. Some injuries—like brain injuries--may not become apparent for several days.
- Follow the doctor’s advice: If he or she recommends physical therapy or some other treatment, follow through.
- Contact a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
- Do not speak to the motorist’s insurance adjuster. Let your attorney represent you.
Unfortunately, many communities are not bike-friendly: their streets are poorly designed to protect cyclists, and motorists are oblivious to or openly hostile to cyclists. Until these attitudes change, cyclists are at risk for injury. Common bicycle crash injuries include:
- Brain injuries – the #1 cause of death in bicycle accidents.
- Bone fractures
- Back and neck injuries
- Ligament injuries
- Joint injuries
At The Collins Law Firm, our attorneys know how to investigate your bike crash, determine if the motorist involves was at fault, build a strong case for you, and negotiate on your behalf. We will:
- speak to the insurance company for you
- take witness statements,
- order police reports
- gather evidence and take photos at the scene of the crash
- collect and review medical records and bills
- check for security cameras that may have filmed the accident
- review the driving record of the motorist involved
- check cell phone records if we suspect the driver was on his or her phone
- consult with accident reconstruction experts if necessary.
It is critical that we establish driver negligence if we intend to recover damages for you. However, even if you were partly responsible for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation. Our bike accident attorneys will work to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and disability. We will guide you through the whole process and fight for the best possible settlement or verdict for you.Top-Rated Lawyers Fighting for Bicyclists Injured in Accidents
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed while riding a bicycle due to a driver’s negligence, you will need an experienced attorney on your side fighting for you. It’s comforting to know that you can turn to a respected local law firm for help. At The Collins Law Firm, our highly-rated, dedicated, bicycle accident lawyers will handle every facet of your case so that you can focus on recovery. Call us at (630) 527-1595 or fill out our contact form for a FREE consultation. We will review the details of your bicycle accident case, answer any questions you may have, and explain your legal options.
Click here for our Safety Tips for Avoiding a Bicycle Accident.