Can You Sue Someone for Hitting You on a Bike?

July 1, 2024 | Gary Annes
Can You Sue Someone for Hitting You on a Bike?

Imagine enjoying a peaceful bike ride through the streets of Chicago, feeling the wind in your face and the sun on your back.

Suddenly, your life turns upside down when a negligent driver strikes you, causing severe injuries that leave you struggling to recover physically, emotionally, and financially.

After this traumatic event, you may wonder, "Can I sue someone for hitting me on my bike?"

The answer is yes, you can. If a car hits you or a loved one while cycling, you may pursue legal action against the at-fault driver and seek compensation for your injuries and related damages. However, you will need a lawyer to navigate the complex world of personal injury law, especially when you're already dealing with the pain and stress of your injuries.

In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the legal options available to cyclists injured in motor vehicle accidents. We'll explore the process of establishing liability, the types of damages you may be entitled to, and the crucial role that an experienced bicycle accident attorney can play in helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. By the end of this article, you'll clearly understand your rights as an injured cyclist and the steps you can take to protect those rights and seek the justice you deserve.


Where Bicycle Accidents Can Occur in Chicago

Hit by a Car While Cycling

Chicago is a bustling city with a growing number of cyclists who ride for both pleasure and commuting purposes. While the city has made efforts to improve bicycle infrastructure and safety, motor vehicle accidents can still occur in various areas throughout Chicago.

Some of the most common places where bicycle accidents can happen include:

  • The Loop: As the central business district of Chicago, the Loop sees heavy traffic from both motor vehicles and cyclists. With numerous intersections and busy streets like Madison, Monroe, and Randolph, the risk of bicycle accidents increases in this area.
  • Lakefront Trail: The 18-mile Lakefront Trail is a popular destination for recreational cyclists, offering scenic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. However, the trail also intersects with several busy streets, such as Fullerton Parkway and Belmont Avenue, increasing the chances of accidents.
  • Lincoln Park: This northside neighborhood is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, and numerous other attractions, making it a popular area for cyclists. However, the heavy traffic on streets like Clark Street and Fullerton Avenue can lead to bicycle accidents.
  • Wicker Park and Bucktown: These trendy neighborhoods on the city's northwest side attract many cyclists with their vibrant streets and bike-friendly atmosphere. However, the busy intersections along Milwaukee Avenue, North Avenue, and Damen Avenue can be dangerous for cyclists.
  • West Loop: The West Loop has seen significant growth in recent years, with new restaurants, bars, and office spaces attracting more cyclists to the area. However, the heavy traffic on streets like Randolph Street, Halsted Street, and Madison Street can increase the risk of bicycle accidents.
  • Logan Square: This northwest side neighborhood has a strong cycling community and is home to several popular bike routes, such as the 606 Trail. However, the busy traffic at intersections along Milwaukee Avenue and Diversey Avenue can endanger cyclists.
  • South Loop: The South Loop has seen a surge in development in recent years, attracting more residents and cyclists to the area. However, the heavy traffic on streets like Michigan Avenue, State Street, and Roosevelt Road can lead to bicycle accidents.

While bicycle accidents can happen anywhere in Chicago, these areas are particularly prone to incidents involving motor vehicles. Drivers should always exercise caution in these neighborhoods, obeying traffic laws and remaining alert to cyclists.

Understanding Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles can result in severe injuries, including fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and even death. These accidents often occur due to the negligence of motor vehicle drivers who fail to share the road safely with cyclists.

Common causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Opening car doors into the path of cyclists (dooring)
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

When a motorist's negligence leads to a bicycle accident, the injured cyclist may have grounds to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver.

Establishing Liability in a Bicycle Accident Case

Negligence is the foundation for most personal injury lawsuits, including those involving bicycle accidents. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to others. In other words, it is the failure to act as a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. When a motor vehicle driver's negligence leads to a bicycle accident, the injured cyclist may have grounds to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver.

For a bicycle accident case to succeed, you must establish four key elements of negligence:

  1. Duty of care: The driver had a legal obligation to operate their vehicle safely and responsibly, taking into account the presence of cyclists on the road.
  2. Breach of duty: The driver breached their duty of care by failing to act as a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. This could include distracted driving, speeding, or failing to yield the right of way to a cyclist.
  3. Causation: The driver's breach of duty directly caused the bicycle accident and your injuries. In other words, you must prove that your injuries would not have occurred if not for the driver's negligent actions.
  4. Damages: You suffered actual damages, such as physical injuries, financial losses, or emotional distress, due to the driver's negligence and the resulting accident.

To establish these elements, your attorney will gather evidence such as police reports, witness statements, photographs or video footage of the accident scene, medical records documenting your injuries, and expert testimony from accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals.

This evidence will demonstrate that the driver's actions or inactions were the cause of your injuries and that you deserve compensation.

  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs or video footage of the accident scene
  • Medical records documenting your injuries
  • Expert testimony from accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals

This evidence will demonstrate that the driver's actions or inactions caused your injuries and that you deserve compensation.

Comparative Negligence in Illinois

When pursuing a bicycle accident lawsuit in Illinois, you need a lawyer who understands the state's comparative negligence rule and how it can affect your ability to recover damages. Comparative negligence acknowledges that both parties involved in an accident may share some degree of fault.

Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that an injured party can recover damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the accident. However, their compensation will decrease by their percentage of fault.

On the other hand, if the jury finds that you 50% or more at fault for the accident (for example, if you rode your bicycle against traffic or ignored traffic signals), you could not recover any compensation, regardless of the severity of your injuries or the negligence of the driver.

This modified comparative negligence rule highlights the importance of working with an experienced personal injury attorney who can build a strong case on your behalf and minimize any allegations of fault that the defense may raise.

Your attorney will work tirelessly to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult experts to demonstrate that the driver's negligence was the primary cause of the accident and that you are entitled to full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

Even if you believe you bear partial fault for the accident, consult an attorney to discuss your legal options. An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case, assess the strength of your claim, and advise you on the best course of action to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Damages in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit

If you successfully prove that the motor vehicle driver was negligent and caused your injuries, you may recover compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: Compensation for all medical bills related to the accident, including future medical costs.
  • Lost wages or income: Reimbursement for income lost due to time off work while recovering from your injuries.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident and your injuries.
  • Disability: Compensation for any permanent disability or disfigurement resulting from the accident.
  • Property damage: Reimbursement for repairing or replacing your bicycle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.

The worth of your bicycle accident will depend on the severity of your injuries, the extent of your financial losses, and the strength of your case.

The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Hiring a personal injury lawyer

After a bicycle accident, to sue the at-fault driver, you need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Never handle the legal process on your own. Personal injury law is complex, and navigating the legal system without professional guidance can harm your claim.

Here are several compelling reasons why you should hire a lawyer if you want to sue someone for your bicycle accident injuries:

Knowledge and Experience

Personal injury attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations surrounding bicycle accidents and the experience necessary to build a strong case on your behalf. They can explain your rights, assess the merits of your claim, and develop an effective legal strategy to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Investigation and Evidence Gathering

A skilled attorney will thoroughly investigate your bicycle accident, gathering critical evidence such as police reports, witness statements, medical records, and expert testimony to support your claim. This evidence establishes liability and demonstrates the extent of your injuries and damages.

Negotiation with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies often seek to minimize the amount they pay out in claims, and they may undervalue your injuries or shift blame onto you. An experienced personal injury attorney can handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance companies, protecting your rights and recovering a fair settlement offer.

Litigation Experience

If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your attorney can file a lawsuit and represent you in court. Personal injury attorneys have extensive litigation experience and can present a compelling case to a judge and jury, fighting for the maximum compensation you deserve under the law.

Maximizing Your Compensation

An experienced personal injury attorney can identify all potential sources of compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. They can also ensure that any settlement or award considers your future medical needs and long-term financial losses resulting from the accident.

Peace of Mind

Dealing with a bicycle accident can cause overwhelming stress, especially when you're trying to focus on your physical recovery. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you can have peace of mind knowing that your legal case is in capable hands, allowing you to focus on your health and well-being.

Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer from Abels & Annes, P.C. Today

If you have been hit by a car while riding your bicycle, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for your injuries and related damages. To successfully pursue a lawsuit, you must prove that the driver's negligence caused the accident and that you suffered injuries. Work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., our Chicago personal injury attorneys have extensive experience representing clients injured in bicycle accidents. We understand cyclists' unique challenges and are committed to holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact us today at (312) 924-7575 or through our online form for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Gary Annes Author Image

Gary Annes


Personal Injury Lawyer With Over Twenty Years Of Experience

Gary Annes, a partner at Abels & Annes, P.C., has dedicated over two decades to practicing personal injury law, specializing in auto accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and sexual abuse. Since earning his law degree in 1995, Gary has led numerous jury trials, and adeptly resolved cases through arbitration and mediation, securing millions in compensation for his clients.

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