Riding motorcycles is a thrilling and popular hobby across the U.S., as the country recorded almost 10 million registered units in 2021. While it can be exciting, these bikers also face a unique risk that other drivers do not have.
With the little to no protection offered on motorcycles, a biker is more likely to endure serious injuries when in a crash, especially with a traditional motor vehicle.
Accidents happen. In fact, the rate of motorcycle accidents has increased by over 20% in the last decade.
Managing the immediate aftermath and the steps that follow a motorcycle crash can leave you overwhelmed, exhausted, and isolated without a team of supporters. By retaining an attorney after a motorcycle crash, you can move forward with the confidence that your case is being handled with the highest level of care, and you can focus your time on recovering.
In Chicago, The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers stands by to aid victims of serious motorcycle accidents through their claim or litigation process. Our skilled team has been serving the Chicago community for years, providing relief for victims of car accidents just like yourself.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to fight for compensatory pay from the negligent driver. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer from The Fakhouri Firm, call (312) 999-9990 or contact us online.
A Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorney Is Standing By to Help Your Case
Getting into an accident is an overwhelming situation with obstacles, twists, turns, and unexpected mountains to climb. Having a team of professionals to support you through litigation can ease the weight of each step as you walk through the recovery process.
An attorney can help make even the most insurmountable of challenges feel more easily conquerable. During the course of your financial recovery, it is normal for questions and concerns to arise.
Without a lawyer, you are left to trust outside sources and third parties — who may have ulterior motives to mislead or misinform. Having an attorney can give you peace of mind in knowing you have a professional to turn to without fear of confusion and uncertainty.
A motorcycle accident attorney can take the stress of litigation off your hands by helping you avoid:
- Conversations with the insurer: After any accident, the negligent party’s insurer will reach out for a statement to understand the accident. While it seems harmless, they are looking for information that may decrease the value of your settlement, saving their employer money. An attorney can manage any and all communication with the insurance representative so you can avoid the stress of second-guessing yourself.
- Reading lengthy documents: When you hire an attorney, you can send all paperwork to their office. Instead of spending time deciphering insurance jargon, a lawyer can efficiently analyze the contents of the documentation and provide you with any necessary insights before you sign anything or move forward with the next steps of your claim.
- Common insurance traps: Insurance representatives are skilled adjusters who work for the negligent party’s insurer. This means that they are incentivized to offer you the minimum payout possible and prioritize profits for the insurance company. A lawyer can help you avoid common insurance traps like leading questions and quick, “low-balled” settlement offers. Without a lawyer, an insurance representative may see you as an easy target for these tactics and attempt to undervalue your claim.
- Choosing between physical and financial recovery: It isn’t uncommon for victims of motorcycle accidents to feel as though they must choose between prioritizing rest for their physical recovery and prioritizing an injury claim for their own financial security. Without an attorney, you are left to manage every detail of your case, big and small, while attempting to recover from any physical traumas and injuries. Having an attorney means gaining peace of mind by knowing that the complex aspects of your case are being managed by skilled professionals, and you can focus your attention elsewhere.
- Having stigma around motorcycle riding hurt your case: Allegations of contributed fault and a general “reckless” persona leveled at a motorcycle operator are common during injury claims. Your attorney helps you prepare for such negative characterizations while keeping your claim focused on the facts of the case, not baseless stereotypes.
Most Common Causes Motorcycle Accidents
With the higher risk of injury associated with motorcycle riding, bikers must stay vigilant and quick on their feet at all times when on the road. Even then, they are frequently put at risk because of the carelessness and negligence of others.
The number of motorcycle accidents per year is increasing, with 2021 being the highest recorded year of fatalities, coming in at 6,084. These accidents will look different for every victim, but there are some situations reported more frequently than others.
Below are some of the most common scenarios seen where the carelessness of another driver on the road leads to a collision with a highly vulnerable motorcycle rider.
Driving Under the Influence
Drunk drivers pose one of the greatest threats on the road, causing a fatality on average every 39 minutes. Bikers are harder to see than traditional vehicles, making them even more vulnerable to an intoxicated driver.
Drunk drivers will have an impaired sense of depth perception and judgment, which can lead to severe and life-threatening injuries to motorcyclists.
Simple actions like changing the music, checking the GPS, or grabbing a snack from the back seat can be incredibly dangerous. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents, including motorcycle accidents.
Because motorcycles are smaller and can easily glide into the blindspots of traditional vehicles, a distracted driver may not take note of a motorcycle and hit it in an attempt to switch lanes.
Accidents are common at intersections because of impatient or aggressive drivers who don’t stop at a red light. Whether a driver blows through the light or tailgates the driver in front of them to squeeze through, they create a risky situation for every driver involved.
Because motorcycles are small and compact, an impatient driver with a red light may believe the road is clear when a motorcyclist is actually in their path.
Misjudgment of the time and distance it takes to clear an intersection can cause a driver to turn into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Left turns can be a point of anxiety for people, causing them to rush and wrongfully gauge how safe the situation is.
Debris, like rocks, branches, or glass, can kick up and hit a biker or even cause a crash in extreme situations. Bikers should wear thick, protective clothing to prevent injuries from debris.
Bikers are also at risk of being injured by roadwork or deep potholes in the road. These hazards may be determined to be the fault of a negligent highway crew or overseeing governmental agency in some cases.
Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Chicago
In most cases, after enduring a motorcycle accident, the victim will seek compensation by filing an insurance claim. An insurance claim can be a lengthy process, generally taking anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Unique situations may see a lengthier timeframe in order to clearly assess the details of the accident, but an attorney can oversee the steps of the process to promote an efficient timeline.
Outlined below are the most important steps to consider in the claims process for a motorcycle accident injury.
Determining Liability and Proving Negligence
To prove that another person is responsible for the events of your accident, you’ll need to establish liability and determine if the points of negligence are met.
Illinois is considered an “at-fault” state, which means that any driver deemed more responsible than the claimant for the damages from an accident is liable for the incurred costs. However, negligence has a more complex foundation.
To prove that a driver acted with negligence, their actions will have to meet the 4 points of negligence.
The four points of negligence:
- Duty of care: This refers to when a person is responsible for upholding a level of safety in a given environment. Drivers on the road have a duty of care to each other and must operate vehicles in accordance with the state’s rules.
- Breach of duty: When a driver fails to uphold their duty of care, they commit a breach of duty. The list of Common Causes for a Motorcycle Accident details specific examples of such a breach.
- Causation: A driver’s breach of duty must be the direct cause of the accident for this point of negligence to be met.
- Injury: As a result of the breach of duty of care that caused the accident, another person was injured, resulting in medical costs and other damages.
Reporting the Incident to the Negligent Party’s Insurer
After the accident, you’ll want the negligent party’s insurer to know that an incident occurred and you wish to open a claim, but you’ll want to refrain from offering any specific details. After all, your medical prognosis and the results of a crash investigation will still be pending.
You may be asked to give a statement about the specific details of the accident, and you should avoid doing so. This is a common tactic to dig for key information that may help the defense argue against a portion or all of your compensatory request.
Instead, provide just the basic information, similar to what can be found on the police report, and refer all other communications to your attorney.
Filing a Demand Letter and Negotiating
Once all damages are understood, an injured claimant can file a demand letter with the appropriate liability insurer, requesting repayment in full. The insurer may accept this letter or put forth a counteroffer.
Negotiation can continue until a reasonable settlement value is reached.
For Cases That Don’t Settle, Lawsuit and Trial
In the event a reasonable settlement can’t be reached through the claims process, your attorney may file a lawsuit against all liable parties. A settlement may then be agreed upon out-of-court, but if not, the case may proceed to a jury trial, where the claimant will seek a favorable verdict.
Common Injuries After a Motorcycle Accident
A report on motorcycle safety records that 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. Of course, no two accidents will be identical, but looking at the few common accident dynamics between motorcycles and traditional cars shows a list of likely injuries that medical professionals see most commonly.
Bikers face a high risk of these injuries in the event of an accident:
- Lower-body injuries (legs and pelvic bone)
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Disfigurement and amputation
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Important Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
The immediate aftermath following an accident can be a confusing time, but there are a couple of tips to remember.
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing a victim of a motorcycle accident should do is seek medical care. As previously mentioned, virtually all motorcycle accidents will result in some type of injury, and it is best to be assessed sooner rather than later.
Even if you aren’t sure if you’re seriously hurt, you’ll want a full medical evaluation as soon as possible to rule out any developing injuries you can’t yet feel.
Putting off medical care can jeopardize the validity of your claim, as the negligent party can argue that you are worsening your own condition. By having a doctor nurture your injuries and document them, you can avoid tactics to decrease the value of your claim.
Document the Scene
An accident happens in the blink of an eye, and it is cleaned up in almost the same way. Once the scene of an accident is cleaned, there are limited ways in which you can recreate the details of the incident.
One of the best ways for the victim of an accident to preserve their story even after a crash site is cleaned up is to take photos and videos. It is crucial that when taking these photos, you are thorough in your documentation, noting small details like debris and tire tracks.
Also, be sure to obtain contact information from any witnesses or other third parties involved.
Let Our Chicago Law Firm Help You Get On the Road to Recovery
Motorcycle riding is an exhilarating passion for many, but sometimes the open road can be unkind. In the event of an accident, The Fakhouri Firm has your back.
Working with an attorney means having a team of professionals to handle your claim from start to finish and offer peace of mind when questions or concerns inevitably come up.
At The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers, we passionately serve each client with the full capabilities of our skills, resources, and experience. Consultations are free and leave you with no obligation to commit to our services.
Your free initial case review can help you better understand what your next steps are and how a lawyer can help.