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Road Rash

Far More Than Just Cuts and Scrapes

When you leave your home, you expect to return safely. Unfortunately, whether you are heading out on your motorcycle for a nice summer drive or just walking around the neighborhood, you could end up in a tragic situation if you encounter a driver who does not pay attention to the road.

Road rash injuries are common in motorcycle accidents, but they also occur frequently in bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and car accidents when a person is thrown from the vehicle. In all these cases, you are provided little or no protection from your body getting tossed onto the pavement which could cause road rash among other injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, Illinois law may entitle you to compensation for your injuries. To know for sure, speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney today.

Causes of Road Rash

Road rash is exactly what it sounds like—it’s an injury caused when your body rubs across the pavement and rips away a layer or more of skin. When you learned to ride a bike, you probably fell off a few times and skinned your knee. That is a mild form of road rash. These injuries often occur during warmer months when people wear clothing that covers less of their bodies and engages in more frequent activities outside.

Motorcycle accidents are the most common cause of road rash injuries. These accidents can happen when a motorcyclist is driving too fast and they fall off, causing them to slide across the pavement. However, most times, another driver is at fault.

The other driver may have:

  • Been distracted by a cell phone
  • Been driving too fast
  • Failed to yield right of way
  • Failed to stop at a light or stop sign
  • Caused a rear-end collision

Any of these situations could cause you, as a motorcycle rider, to fall off your motorcycle and slide across the pavement. Not only is this painful, it can cause serious injuries that you may have to deal with for the rest of your life.

Types of Road Rash

Caring for road rash injuries depends a great deal on what type of injury you suffered. There are three types of road rash: avulsion, compression, and open wound. Each of them requires slightly different medical assistance and may impact your return to your regular life.


An avulsion happens when the skin is scraped away from the body. Depending on the amount of skin removed by the pavement, this could reveal fat, muscle, and even bones. Depending on the severity, medical professionals can treat avulsion injuries at the accident scene if minor, or they may require hospitalization and surgery.


Compression injuries occur when your body gets trapped under your motorcycle or the other vehicle. Not only can this cause road rash but it can also cause muscle damage and broken bones.

Open Wound

An open wound injury happens when the road rash you suffer causes your skin to peel back and pull away. This leaves your body open to infection if not properly treated right away.

Collecting Damages

After you suffer road rash, whether from a motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, or other accident, your only worry is getting back to your regular life. Unfortunately, that might not happen as quickly as you would hope and, in the worst-case scenario, may never occur.

That’s why it is so important to speak with a seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you recover every dollar you deserve from the at-fault driver.

To help you focus on your physical recovery, your lawyer may try to get you compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Present and future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential

You know exactly what your medical bills are right now—you see them piling up on the kitchen table. What you do not know yet is the full value of your motorcycle accident claim. When you work with a knowledgeable road rash injury attorney, you can expect that your lawyer will help guide you on your path to recovery. This includes understanding the true value of your claim.

When necessary, we can help you create an accurate estimate of your future needs. This is the part most injury victims miss. They do not properly account for their future needs. It’s important to understand what you will need in the future so you do not fall prey to insurance company tactics. Many insurance companies will offer you a quick settlement, hoping that you do not have a lawyer to advise you that the settlement amount may not cover all of your future needs.

We do not want you to suffer financially by paying out of pocket for injuries you did not cause. But that’s what might happen if you take the insurance company’s lowball settlement offer without fully understanding the amount of money you need to get better.

Don’t Delay

In most Illinois cases, you only have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim against the at-fault party to recover damages for your injuries. Two years might seem like a long time but it will go by quickly. You may be in the hospital for a long time. You might need multiple surgeries. You may even lose work temporarily or even permanently, and if you can return to work, you may never again do so in the same capacity.

With all of this going on in your life, you will not have time to worry about how you recover damages against the at-fault party. That’s why you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney fighting hard to protect your rights and get you every dollar you deserve while you focus completely on your physical recovery. Let go of the legal worry and stress and make your physical recovery your priority by calling a motorcycle accident lawyer today.

How to Treat Road Rash from a Motorcycle Accident

How to Treat Road Rash from a Motorcycle AccidentAll motorcyclists risk suffering road rash injuries if they get thrown from their bike during a motorcycle accident. The abrasions one suffers after their body comes in contact with the road can cause life-altering injuries depending on how severe they are.

In most cases, treating road rash requires emergency medical treatment to prevent infection and mitigate physical damage. Below we provide a broad overview of the two main types of road rash and their symptoms, how the medical profession categorizes degrees of road rash, and the medical treatment options associated with each level. We also provide some tips for bikers to avoid road rash when they are going for a ride.

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, contact the Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes today to get the compensation you deserve after suffering road rash injuries.

Two Main Types of Road Rash Injuries

Generally speaking, road rash refers to a wide array of injuries someone can suffer when their body hits asphalt or gravel during a motorcycle accident. Doctors recognize two main types of road rash injuries:

Avulsion Injuries

Avulsion injuries are the most common type of road rash injuries. They occur when layers of a person’s skin peel away as it slides across the surface of the road. In some cases, avulsion injuries expose fat and muscle and can even expose bone when road rash is severe. Strawberries, more formally called surface abrasion, do not penetrate the skin. These injuries heal quickly within a few weeks and typically do not need medical attention. In the most severe avulsion injuries, motorcycle accident victims must have one or more reconstructive surgeries that typically include skin grafts.

Compression Injuries

Compression injuries occur with the body or limbs are crushed between two objects. In a motorcycle accident, a compression injury can occur when a biker gets crushed between his or her motorcycle and the road, which leads to bruising, muscle damage, and multiple fractures. Compression injuries are severe events that typically need immediate medical treatment. In the most severe cases, motorcycle accident victims who suffer compression injuries need ongoing medical treatment for weeks, months, or longer.

Doctors Evaluate Road Rash by Degree

Doctors and other medical professionals use degrees to evaluate different levels of road rash injuries. The categorization is very similar to the way we talk about burn injuries in degree. Below is an overview of each level of road rash and what specifically distinguishes it from other levels:

First-Degree Road Rash

First-degree road rash injuries are superficial, meaning they do not penetrate below the top layer of skin. A child falling off their bicycle and ‘skinning’ their knee is similar to what motorcyclists suffer if they sustain first-degree road rash in a motorcycle accident. Fortunately, these injuries often heal completely within a few weeks and rarely leave permanent scars.

It’s always in your best interest to seek medical treatment after you are in a motorcycle accident, especially when another party is responsible. Yet, first-degree road rash typically only requires medical treatment if it covers a large portion of the body. You can treat these injuries at home with basic first aid by cleaning the abrasions and covering them with bandages until they heal.

Second-Degree Road Rash

The primary difference between first-degree and second-degree road rash is that second-degree road rash injuries break through the top layer of skin, formally referred to as the epidermis. These wounds generally do not leave scars and heal on their own without intervention. Yet, second-degree road rash injuries are open wounds. When a body slides across the road, sand, gravel, dirt, or asphalt may embed themselves in the wound. Left untreated without proper cleaning, second-degree road rash can lead to dangerous, potentially fatal infections.

Motorcyclists who suffer second-degree road rash injuries need to seek medical treatment and let a nurse or doctor remove visible pieces of dirt, stone, and gravel. Afterward, these second-degree road rash wounds require thorough cleaning with iodine or saline to disinfect the area and promote healing.

Third-Degree Road Rash

Scarring and permanent skin damage occur when a person suffers third-degree road rash from a motorcycle accident. The friction of the body scraping across the body causes all the layers of skin to peel away, leaving muscle and fat tissue fully exposed. It’s not uncommon for third-degree road rash to also expose the bone.

Those who suffer third-degree road rash must seek immediate medical treatment and likely will have to undergo one or more reconstructive surgeries with skin grafts. Like second-degree road rash, third-degree road rash injuries are open wounds that need medical professionals to clean them to avoid deadly infections.

Depending on the circumstance of a motorcycle accident and the amount of road rash a person suffers on their body, some choose not to go to the hospital for medical treatment after first or second-degree injuries. If you make that decision, you need to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of dangerous infections.

If any of the following occur, you must immediately go to the emergency room:

  • Increasing redness and/or swelling
  • Increased feeling of heat or warmth in and around the wound
  • Increased pain
  • Drainage of pus from the wound
  • Red streaks or lines around the wound

Follow These Tips to Avoid Road Rash From a Motorcycle Accident

Other drivers in trucks and passenger vehicles, especially careless and inattentive drivers, put motorcyclists at risk for an accident. Another person’s negligence sometimes causes irreparable harm to the safest motorcyclists who follow the rules of the road and prioritize safety. You cannot always prevent road rash completely, but you can lessen your injuries when you wear the right gear.

These tips about proper motorcycle gear can help:

  • Wear a helmet. Helmets not only protect bikers from road rash head injuries, but they also protect them from traumatic brain injuries.
  • Wear leather. Leather jackets and pants absorb some or most of the friction created when a body slides across the road, making it unlikely a biker will experience third-degree road rash.
  • Wear gloves. Bikers who get thrown from their motorcycle try to break their fall with their hands. Gloves can protect the hands from road rash.

Road rash injuries from motorcycle accidents sometimes have severe consequences. Contact an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer today to get the compensation you deserve after suffering road rash injuries.

After Suffering a Brain Injury From a Motorcycle Accident

chicago motorcycle accident lawyerMotorcycle riders face unique risks on the road. They’re almost 30 times as likely to die in a motorcycle crash than passenger vehicle occupants are. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hop on your bike for a ride around town or a cruise out to do errands—but what happens when the unthinkable occurs?

Motorcycle crashes can and do happen; and while we understand why it’s difficult to discuss, we know it’s important to share about what happens after a crash. Many motorcycle accident survivors partner with attorneys to help them after experiencing brain injuries and other emotional, mental, and physical damage.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

We’re all taught to drive defensively when we get behind the wheel. If you’re looking to hop on a motorcycle, you should know some of the key risks that you face on the road.

Lots of motorcycle accidents can be easily traced to these common causes:

  • Distracted driving | A motorcycle or vehicle operator can easily become distracted on the road. When this happens and a crash occurs, the motorcyclist is clearly the more likely of the two to face serious injury.
  • Road defects | Sometimes, a motorcycle accident feels all but unavoidable thanks to road defects and other circumstances. Always look out for potential crash risks. Potholes, uneven roads, and other road conditions can all lead to a crash.
  • Inclement weather | Weather itself rarely causes crashes—it’s the people who fail to accommodate for the weather who might misjudge stopping distances or drive too fast in poor visibility, then crash into motorcyclists, who cause accidents.
  • Inexperienced Drivers | Drivers who do not have much experience behind the wheel may not know how to properly navigate around motorcycles, stay alert to motorcyclists, or perform maneuvers to avoid colliding with a motorcycle. They may not properly check their blind spots before merging or may follow a motorcycle too close due to a lack of awareness about road safety.
  • Left Turns and Lane Merging | Left turns are a common cause of accidents for motorcyclists. While a car is turning left, it is common for drivers not to see a motorcycle and end up colliding with them. Lane merging is also a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Drivers who don’t check their blind spots before switching lanes or switch lanes abruptly are likely to cause an accident with motorcycles that are hard to spot.
  • Door Opening Accidents | On busy streets, if a driver opens their door after parallel parking without checking to see if someone is driving by, this could lead to what is known as a dooring collision. In the case of a car colliding with another car door, the door would be much more damaged than the car. But if it’s a motorcycle rider colliding with an open door, the motorcyclist would likely be ejected from their bike, which can result in various injuries to them, including a traumatic brain injury.
  • Aggressive Drivers | Aggressive drivers often cause accidents because of how little regard they have for the safety of everyone else on the road. Aggressive drivers may rush erratically, may be quick to anger, or may let their ego cause them to behave in a dangerous and reckless manner. For motorcycle riders, this type of driving is especially dangerous since a car easily outweighs a motorcycle.
  • Failing to Look Out for Motorcycles | Motorcycles are harder to see than cars. There is no doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean that other drivers do not have just as much of a responsibility to watch out for motorcycles as they would any other vehicle or person on the road. The saying “Look Twice, Save a Life” is a good tip for keeping everyone on the road safe.

[Read: Chicago Motorcycle Accident FAQ]

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to stay calm. This advice assumed that you do not need immediate or emergency medical attention. If somebody is seriously injured, he or she should not focus on these steps of the process and instead wait on emergency attention.

  • Contact authorities (call 911)
    • Police will help fill out an accident report when they arrive
    • Those who need emergency medical attention will receive it
    • Other people involved in the accident may try to persuade you not to file a police report. Don’t follow their advice. Filing a police report will play a crucial part in your lawsuit if you need to seek compensation for injuries.
  • Collect information and evidence
    • Photo and videos of the crash, damage, and injuries
    • Names of witnesses and other drivers
    • Insurance and phone information from other drivers
  • Seek medical attention, if needed
    • If you sustain injuries, seek medical attention at an ER, urgent care,  or with your primary care provider ASAP after the crash
    • Adrenaline can sometimes mask more serious injuries, so if you’re in pain, seek medical attention.
  • Start with attorneys
    • Only once your physical and mental health are stable
    • Most initial consultations are free
    • Let your lawyer talk to insurance companies for you

Your health should always be your first priority after a motorcycle accident. If you’ve faced serious injury during a crash, your lawyer can help you piece together information that is needed to pursue a claim. Attorneys are used to working with crash survivors who struggle with serious injuries—they will not decline your case just because you were injured and can’t collect much evidence.

Watch for Symptoms: Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (or TBIs) present a serious risk for motorcyclists.

If you or somebody you love was involved in a motorcycle accident, watch for these warning signs of TBI:

  • Loss of consciousness, disorientation, or dizziness
  • Nausea, altered sleep and language patterns, headaches
  • Persistent or worsening symptoms like headaches and nausea
  • Fluid leakage from the ears or nose
  • Extreme confusion, agitation
  • Slurred speech

Never overlook a TBI. Any degree of a TBI can result in severe complications and long-term impairments. If you believe that someone is exhibiting symptoms of a TBI, you should contact a medical professional immediately.

What if I Still Need Treatment After my Brain Injury Case Settles?

Usually, your lawsuit will settle after you have received all of the medical treatment necessary and after all of your medical bills and lost wages have been calculated. This means that most people are no longer receiving treatment when they decide along with their attorney to settle their injury claim. However, some injuries, especially brain injuries, can cause lifelong problems that require ongoing treatment or that may cause people to be out of work indefinitely.

In these cases, your medical providers’ records would need to contain information about your injury and about the types of care that you’ll need to continue receiving in the future. Your attorney will use this information to get you a settlement that incorporates the costs of this future care. Basically, if your treatment is ongoing, you’ll receive more compensation to account for the money you’ll continue to lose in the future.

It is important to note that once a personal injury case settles, you cannot go back and ask for more money to cover costs that suddenly came up. This is why it is so important to have an attorney experienced in personal injury and traumatic brain injuries by your side so that you can gain the right amount of compensation you’ll need for your injuries from the onset.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries


Concussions are one of the most common types of brain injury. They are mostly minor, although they can get much more serious depending on if you have had other concussions or brain injuries in the past. Concussions can cause temporary loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. Even though they are mild, they still can cause an injured rider to miss work and to rack up some serious medical bills.

Coup, Contrecoup, and Coup-Contrecoup

These types of injuries occur when the head is struck by an object, such as pavement or even the inside of a helmet. A coup injury occurs when the damage to the brain occurs at the site of the impact. A contrecoup injury occurs when the damage is on the opposite side of the brain from the site of impact. And a coup-contrecoup injury occurs when both sides are damaged. These types of injuries are common in motorcycle accidents and can be very serious. In some cases, they cause minor bruising which will heal over time. But in other cases, they can cause the brain to bleed, can lead to cranial pressure, and can create lasting problems for the injured rider.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents that involve a significant amount of force. When the brain moves around in the skull, it affects the connection between the brain and the rest of the body. Diffuse axonal injuries can cause the fibers in the brain stem to tear, causing permanent damage to the brain. These injuries often cause people to end up in a comatose state. Diffuse axonal injuries are difficult to detect with CT (Computed tomography) or MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scans. But most doctors know to watch out for them because they are one of the most common types of traumatic brain injury and one of the most devastating.


A contusion is bruising on the brain. These injuries can range from mild to severe. While a minor contusion can heal without much treatment, a more severe one could cause swelling and bleeding that require emergency surgery to remedy.

Other Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

We support motorcycle crash survivors with a broad range of injuries. While a TBI does pose one of the highest risks to human life, there are plenty of other types of physical damage that can impact survivors’ lives, too:

  • Road rash
  • Bruises, cuts, lacerations
  • Back injuries
  • Neck and spinal cord injuries
  • Loss of limb
  • Bone fractures

If you’ve suffered any injury as the result of a motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to compensation to help account for your losses. It’s important to speak openly and honestly with your motorcycle accident attorney to achieve the best chances of success.

Will Motorcycle Bias Unfairly Affect My Case?

Unfair motorcycle bias refers to the negative way that motorcyclists are treated by insurance companies and juries.

Insurance adjusters may try to say that a motorcycle is inherently dangerous and, therefore, the rider was knowingly taking an unnecessary risk. Or they may propose that a motorcyclist was driving recklessly when they actually weren’t. Because of the negative perceptions of motorcycles and the people who ride them, insurance adjusters often try to lowball injured riders.

Juries also suffer from this bias along with a lack of knowledge about motorcycles. Most jurists probably don’t know much about motorcycles, so they could make a decision based on preconceived notions. For example, consider the fact that motorcycles need to speed up when turning, rather than slow down. If a juror doesn’t know this, they may believe the motorcyclist was at fault since this maneuver isn’t expected.

To battle unfair motorcycle bias, you need a personal injury attorney that has experience helping injured motorcyclists with insurance claims and lawsuits. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can not only represent your compensation needs, but also dispute arguments that would damage your injury claim.

A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help You Recover Damages

What To Do After A Motorcycle AccidentIf you partner with a motorcycle accident attorney who’s prepared to carry out your case, he or she may help you recover damages. This means that you’ll receive compensation to account for the physical, monetary, and emotional expenses of your accident. Nobody can guarantee that you will recover damages and nobody can predict which damages you could recover. Your attorney can help clarify this once they delve into your case.

That said, recoverable damages in motorcycle accident cases often include:

  • Past, present, and future medical bills | Including emergency transport, specialized services, custom equipment, and more.
  • Pain and suffering | Any accident has the potential to leave long-lasting effects on survivors; if your motorcycle accident caused a brain injury, it’s no exception. Motorcycle accident survivors can collect damages to account for exceptional physical and mental pain attributed to their experiences.
  • Lost wages and/or earning potential | Sometimes, a brain injury is so severe that it leaves someone temporarily unable to work. If this is the case for you, your lawyer should suggest pursuing compensation for lost wages. Other victims face a lifetime of altered or diminished earning potential after their accidents. These individuals would pursue damages for lost earning potential.
  • Disability | Some accidents cause disability in survivors. Brain injuries, in particular, can and do lead to disabilities with some regularity. If your motorcycle accident case resulted in disability, you can pursue compensation for it.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and suffering from a brain injury or other type of injury, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer to represent you in seeking compensation for your injuries. The brain injury attorneys at Abels & Annes have experience in securing compensation for victims injured in motorcycle accidents. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us online, through our Live Chat, or by calling us at 312-924-7575.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Illinois and the Surrounding States

Whether you’re riding down Lake Shore Drive or a quiet country road outside the city, for many people, nothing can compare to driving a motorcycle on a nice day. Other vehicles just don’t provide that wind in-your-face connection with the road that a bike so easily can. If you have already had a dangerous encounter while on a motorcycle that left you with severe injuries learn what an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident attorney.

When it comes to riders on the road, few states have more motorcyclists than Illinois: In fact, only five states have more registered motorcycles than the Prairie State.

But while Illinois has more bikes registered in the state, Illinois’s neighbors, Indiana and Wisconsin, both have more bikes per capita. In fact, all three states rank high in ownership and ridership.

However, that’s where the similarities stop. When it comes to the law, all three states have different rules and regulations. If you plan on riding between the three states, it’s a good idea to know the laws and make sure you comply in each state you pass through.

Riding a Motorcycle in Illinois

Each state has its own rules when it comes to riding a motorcycle. However, one common theme that exists among most states—they require riders to wear a helmet while riding their motorcycles.

Three states in the United States have no laws that mandate helmet use while riding a motorcycle. Illinois is one of those three states.

While Illinois has passed no law regarding helmets, the Illinois Department of Transportation strongly recommends a helmet for all riders. Additionally, all riders must wear protective eyewear anytime they are on their bikes.

So where does Illinois stand when it comes to motorcycle safety? According to one report—about the middle of the road. A report conducted by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that 14.3 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in one year involved a motorcyclist. Comparatively, Nevada had the largest percentage of fatalities with 22.6 percent of fatalities being a biker. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska had the lowest percent of motorcycle fatalities, with just 7.1 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving a motorcyclist.

What You Need to Know When You Travel to or From Neighboring States

Gary Annes Lawyer
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

While Illinois does not have any helmet laws, this is not the case for Indiana or Wisconsin. Both states mandate helmet use. However, neither state requires universal helmet use. In both Indiana and Wisconsin, all drivers 17 and younger must wear helmets. Wisconsin goes a step further and requires anyone operating under a learner’s permit to wear a helmet as well. Additionally, any passengers riding with a driver who has an instruction permit must wear a helmet, even if they are older than 17. For all other riders, helmet use is optional.

Both states have similar safety stats as Illinois in regards to fatality rates. In 2016, 12.3 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in Indiana involved a motorcyclist. In Wisconsin, the number was slightly higher at 14 percent.

Do Helmets Actually Work?

In a word, yes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are about 37 percent successful in preventing motorcycle rider fatalities. For passengers, effectiveness increases to 41 percent. Furthermore, when you look at the percent of known unhelmeted motorcyclists killed in 2017, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin all had some of the highest rates in the country.

While helmet use is optional for many riders in all three states, most safety experts agree that regular helmet use can help prevent serious injury or death. In addition to helmets, strong evidence supports the use of other protective equipment.

This includes:

  • Eye protection, including glasses, goggles, and face shields.
  • Protective clothing, including pants, jackets, and boots.
  • Protective gloves

Aside from safety equipment, all riders should take extra precautions to stay safe on the road. Safety tips include:

  • Do not perform stunts on public roads. Only experienced riders who know what they are doing should perform stunts—and they should do so away from other drivers and riders.
  • Don’t speed. Speeding makes it harder to control your bike and increases the risk of an accident.
  • Don’t weave in between traffic. Stay in your lane. Do not attempt to drive in between two vehicles.
  • Be seen. Wear bright or reflective clothing so other drivers can see you in low light or poor visibility.
  • Don’t drink and ride: According to the NHTSA, 28 percent of motorcycle riders killed in 2017 were drunk.

Helmet Use and Your Rights in a Motorcycle Accident Case

Your choice to wear a helmet—or not, in accordance with the law—does not absolve other drivers of the responsibility to see and respect motorcycles. Those drivers cannot tailgate motorcycles, must drive the speed limit, must drive sober, and otherwise obey the rules of the road. If they don’t, they remain liable for any injuries they cause—whether you wore a helmet or not.

Know Your Rights

Whether or not you wear a helmet every time you ride is your choice, at least in Illinois. After an accident, helmet use should play no role in your right to a fair and just recovery. However, this does not mean the insurance company will not try to make the process more difficult. If you were in an accident, you have rights. After an accident, surround yourself with people you trust and who will support you through your recovery.

If you have questions after an accident or need help with your claim, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney for more information about your legal rights.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Illinois Motorcycle Laws That Car and Truck Drivers Must Follow

Gary Annes Lawyer
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

Motorcycles are so different from cars and trucks, any trip from point A to point B becomes an exciting journey. A motorcycle’s compartment-free construction gives cyclists an unparalleled driving experience. Bikers feel the wind blowing through their hair. They feel the sun shining on their faces. They connect with nature in ways a car or truck driver can’t imagine. Motorcycles are unique vehicles indeed. For other drivers, that’s a critical fact. Motorcycles are vehicles.

With a few exceptions, Illinois laws treat motorcycles the same as other vehicles on the road. Motorcyclists have the same requirements and responsibilities. They must follow the Rules of the Road, just like car and truck drivers. Motorcyclists also have the same rights.

That’s an important point for all drivers. At some point, every driver who travels Illinois’ roads and highways will share the road with a motorcycle. Because motorcycle riders are so vulnerable to accidents and serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries, Illinois implemented several laws and guidelines designed to protect them, and a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand them.

Motorcycle Accident Causes

In studies on causation for motorcycle accidents involving two or more vehicles, researchers have determined that car or truck drivers cause the accident over half of the time. A National Transportation Safety Board study shares their causation data in its report, Select Risk Factors Associated with Causes of Motorcycle Crashes.

Bureau researchers found these common factors when car and vehicle drivers caused fatal motorcycle crashes.

  • Perception failures: In 56 percent of the accidents studied, car and truck drivers didn’t see the motorcycle before the crash. In some cases, they misinterpreted the motorcycle’s speed, distance or stopping distance.
  • Decision failures: In 33 percent of the accidents, car and truck driver’s made inappropriate navigation decisions often based on failed perceptions or failure to acknowledge a dangerous situation.
  • Failed reaction: Motorcyclists failed to react to dangerous situations in 23 percent of the accidents studied.
  • Comprehension failures: Motorcycles also failed to comprehend dangerous situations in 17 percent of the accidents.

The NTSB study also documented drivers’ pre-accident first events. In fatal accidents involving a car/truck and a motorcycle, the most frequent contributing events were:

  • A car or truck making a left turn in front of a motorcycle, 30 percent
  • A motorcycle falling to the road while attempting to avoid an accident, 28 percent

Laws Other Vehicle Drivers Must Follow to Keep Bikers Safe

Car and truck drivers in Illinois shouldn’t be surprised to learn that they have a duty to treat a motorcycle the same as any other vehicle. As motorcycle visibility is also a problem, the United States Department of Transportation’s Share the Road guidelines also dictate that drivers pay attention enough to notice that they’re sharing the roads and highways with bikers.

The Rules of the Road - Illinois Motorcycle Laws That Car and Truck Drivers Must Follow - Abels & Annes, P.C.Illinois Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/) explains the provisions that are relevant to all drivers. Sec. 1-147 of the statute provides a definition that further defines a motorcycle as a vehicle: “…Motorcycle. Every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding an autocycle or tractor…”

Illinois statutes contain laws in traditional legalese, but the publication Illinois Rules of the Road provides easier to understand explanations. The publication explains truck and car drivers’ legal duties and their responsibilities when sharing the road with motorcycle riders.

  • Intersections: All drivers must take proper precautions when navigating an intersection. The guidelines caution Illinois drivers to look out for motorcyclists at intersections, because that’s where 50 percent of all motorcycle accidents occur.
  • Stoplights: Motorcycles have a traffic light exception in cities and municipalities with populations under 2,000,000. This law is important because in-ground devices that control traffic lights sometimes fail to detect a motorcycle’s presence. A motorcycle driver has a legal right to proceed through a red light if the light fails to change from green to red within 120 seconds. The cyclist must first make sure he has the legal right of way.
  • Lane sharing: Just as with other vehicles, cars and trucks should not attempt to share a lane with a motorcycle even if they believe there is room for both vehicles.
  • Passing: When a motorcycle begins passing a car or truck, they must allow the cyclist to complete the maneuver without interference.
  • Following: Drivers must allow “…three to four seconds following distance…” to assure they have time to stop when a motorcycle stops. When pavement conditions are good, motorcyclists require shorter stopping distances than most vehicles. Motorists must also dim their headlights when following motorcycles and any other vehicle.
  • Road conditions:Rules of the Road reflects statutory cautions about weather and road conditions that create hazards for all vehicle drivers. For motorcyclists, adverse conditions enhance existing hazards. Cycles lose control more easily on wet or icy surfaces. They lose traction on gravel and lose control on rough or potholed roadways. High winds and gusts from large trucks push motorcyclists across road surfaces and out of control.

Motorcyclists Are Vulnerable to Injury

The motorcycle features that provide an exciting open-air travel experience also make bikers more vulnerable to injury and death. Unlike other vehicles, cycles have no protective compartments or restraints. When a car or truck makes a bad move, motorcyclists have few injury protections. It takes only a moderate impact to eject a biker from his motorcycle and cause serious, catastrophic, or fatal injuries.

A crash often propels them to the ground, against a pole, or into another hard surface. The impact often causes fractures, internal injuries, abrasions, and muscle sprains and strains. For motorcyclists, there is always a significant chance of sustaining a life-altering condition such as a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury.

Do You Need an Attorney if You’re Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accidents happen quickly, but the injuries they cause often have long-term consequences. When you’re injured, you may have a right to collect damages from the responsible party, but you shouldn’t go through a legal process alone. Motorcycle accident attorneys work hard to protect their clients’ legal rights and recover damages for their injuries. They deal with insurance companies and help clients understand their legal options.

During a legal consultation, you don’t have to commit to a damage claim or lawsuit. You simply share your story with an attorney, and receive information about your legal options. Any decision to move forward with legal action is up to you.

Abels & Annes, P.C.
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is the official start of warmer weather nationwide. Warmer weather brings out motorcyclists eager to get back on the roads while waiting for the cold to subside. May is therefore designated Safety Awareness Month to remind not only motorcycle users, but all drivers on the road, to practice safety before anything else.

Why Is Motorcycle Safety Important?

If the proper safety guidelines are not followed, riding a motorcycle can be extremely dangerous. It is very important to be careful to avoid injuries to yourself or others on the road. Reckless driving can result in very serious injuries, and sometimes even fatalities.

Steps Toward Motorcycle Safety

The National Safety Council (NSC) has compiled a list of precautionary measures to take when riding a motorcycle, such as:

  • Learn how to ride a motorcycle properly and practice various times before heading to busy roads.
  • Wear a properly fitted helmet and provide one for any passengers as well.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothing, as it has a higher risk of getting caught in the motorcycle.
  • Wear proper shoes.
  • Make sure you are physically healthy enough to ride a motorcycle.
  • Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or any other substance.
  • Avoid distractions completely.
  • Avoid using your phone or other devices while driving.
  • Keep checking your surroundings and mirrors.
  • Keep enough distance between the car in front of you and the cars next to you.
  • Do not drive if feeling drowsy or under any prescribed medication.
  • Make sure to take breaks if needed.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated.

Why Is Wearing a Helmet Necessary?

In a motorcycle accident, your head and brain are extremely vulnerable to serious injuries. Almost 75 percent of all fatal crashes involve head injuries. Also, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that wearing helmets saved approximately 1,772 lives in 2015. Wearing a helmet can significantly decrease your chances of a fatal head injury. While Illinois does not have a law requiring helmets for motorcycle drivers or riders, it is important to wear one as a precautionary measure for your own safety.

What Injuries Are Prevented by Wearing a Helmet?

  • Disfigurement
  • Nerve damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain damage
  • Concussion
  • Skull fracture
  • Broken facial bones

Why Is Staying Hydrated Important?

Staying hydrated is more important for motorcyclists than any other driver. This is mostly because of the direct exposure that motorcyclists face while on the road. They are more exposed to sun, heat, pollution, asphalt, and humidity, among other factors. If a motorcyclist is not properly hydrated, dehydration can have many detrimental effects, including:

  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired vision
  • Loss of motor control
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Kidney failure
  • Coma
  • Death

Just staying hydrated can prevent these from occurring and ensure you are safe to ride.

Causes of Crashes

Common causes of motorcycle crashes include:

  1. Sharp lane changes can cause crashes when drivers make unpredictable turns or fail to signal motorcycles around them before turning.
  2. When drivers fail to look around them before opening their car doors, they may accidentally open a door in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
  3. Driving above the speed limit can cause the unnecessary risk of accidents. Speeding causes the driver to lose control of the car, and be less likely to prevent an accident from happening. A speeding car also makes accident impacts considerably worse than a car driving under the speed limit.
  4. Drinking and driving can also cause accidents. A driver under the influence is less likely to be able to maneuver the car or even drive in his own lane. Alcohol impairs the ability of the driver to make correct judgments regarding distance and perception.
  5. Stopping unexpectedly can result in a car rear-ending a motorcycle, which has a much shorter stopping distance than a car. It is also always safer to keep as much distance from the car in front of you as possible to avoid rear-ending it as well.
  6. Not knowing how to drive properly can lead to inexperienced and unsafe driving. This could be dangerous for not only the driver, but also a hazard for other motorists on the road.
  7. Drivers that do not follow road signs and signals are also a hazard for motorcycle riders. The signs and signals are in place to implement a system for safe driving and ignoring them can cause chaos.
  8. Other hazards such as debris, potholes, sand, water, gravel, or litter on the road can also jeopardize motorcycle riders’ safety.
  9. Manufacturing defects can also cause crashes as these defects can cause motorcycles to malfunction.
  10. It is also common for motorcycles driving next to another vehicle to disappear in a blind spot. If the driver of another vehicle does not look over his shoulder to check his blind spot, he may not see a motorcycle next to him and change lanes or turn into the motorcycle.

Different Types of Injuries

In addition to possible head injuries that are common to riders not wearing proper helmets, common injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash include:

  • Neck injuries
  • Chest injuries
  • Punctured lungs
  • Broken ribs
  • Dislocated shoulders
  • Broken backs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken or crushed legs

What to Do After an Accident

In the event you or someone you know has been in a motorcycle crash, the first thing to do is always call 911. Be sure to exchange information with the other driver, and note any evidence of the crash. Contacting an attorney from the very start can help you navigate the process. It can also help to have an attorney handle negotiation with the insurance company, while you focus on your physical recovery.

Contact a Chicago Attorney for a Free Consultation

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are very common in Chicago. The injuries sustained from these crashes are often serious or even fatal. In many instances, the accident is caused by the negligence of another driver who should be held responsible for the accident victims’ injures and losses. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, Abels & Annes, P.C., is here to help. We focus on personal injury cases and can help ensure you recover fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Call us today at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation, or send us an email through our online contact form.

How Distracted Drivers Hurt Motorcyclists

In 2015, about 88,000 motorcyclists sustained injuries in crashes, many of which involved a collision with another motor vehicle. Drivers of cars and trucks often crash into motorcyclists because they are not paying adequate attention to the road around them to notice the motorcyclist. Motorcycles are already difficult to see on the road, as they are smaller than most motor vehicles. When a driver adds in an extra distraction, the chances of a collision with a motorcyclist increase even more.

Common Distractions for Chicago Drivers

The following are some common causes of distracted-driving motorcycle accidents:

  • Smartphones – Even though it is unlawful for any driver to use a handheld electronic mobile device in any form in Illinois, many drivers violate this law and continue to read or send text-based messages, search the internet, check social media accounts, or make calls from a handheld cell phone. This can cause visual, manual, and cognitive distractions that can cause a driver to crash into a motorcycle.
  • Passengers – Passengers of all ages can be a distraction to drivers. While it is not realistic to expect drivers not to engage with passengers, they should always do so in a safe manner that allows them to focus on the road. Conversations with passengers in the front seat can be distracting, and tending to children in the back of a vehicle can be severely distracting as a driver must turn around, reach in the back, or repeatedly look in the rearview mirror.
  • Other activities – A driver can engage in many other distracting activities. They include eating, drinking, grooming, putting on makeup, reading, listening to audiobooks, programming a radio or GPS, and many more.

Of course, anything that takes a driver’s eyes or attention away from the road or hands from the wheel can lead them to crash into a motorcycle and cause serious injury.

Learn More about How Our Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help You

At the law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C., we can help you hold distracted drivers liable for all of your motorcycle accident injuries. Please call our office at 312-924-7575 to discuss how – for free – we can help you today.

Establishing Liability in an Illinois Motorcycle Accident Case

Under Illinois law, when a motorcycle accident is caused by the negligence of another person, the negligent party can be held liable for any losses that occur as a result of the wreck. In many cases, the cause of a motorcycle accident is clear and the at-fault party admits liability. When this is the case, the only issue that needs to be resolved is how much the party that caused the accident will pay the victim.

In some cases, however, liability is contested, which means that the victim will need to prove that the other party’s negligence caused the accident. Very generally speaking, negligence occurs when a person or a party fails to use the degree of care that would ordinarily be used by a reasonable person under similar circumstances. There are many types of negligent conduct that could potentially cause a serious motorcycle accident, including speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, and poor motorcycle design or manufacture.

Establishing Negligence Often Requires Evidence

If the other party refuses to concede liability, it may be necessary to conduct an investigation and collect evidence that supports your position that the other party’s negligence caused your accident. Examples of the kinds of evidence that may be relevant to a motorcycle wreck case include the following:

  • Vehicle maintenance records
  • Toxicology reports
  • Cell phone records
  • Internal company emails
  • Surveillance footage
  • Eyewitness reports

As a victim, it is important to bear in mind that collecting evidence can be difficult and often requires significant resources. In addition, at-fault parties may not want to turn over documents that they know will help victims meet their burden of proof. Fortunately, when you retain an attorney, he or she will conduct the investigation on your behalf and can use legal mechanisms to compel the production of evidence.

Call Abels & Annes, P.C. Today to Set Up a Free Consultation with a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, it is important to retain legal counsel as soon as you can. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys, call our office today at 312-924-7575 or send us an email via our online contact form.

Older Motorcyclists Are More at Risk for Injuries

Riding a motorcycle is fun for people of all ages. Often, once a person begins the hobby of motorcycle riding, he or she continues to ride for as long as possible, which results in adults of all ages out on the roads with little protection in the event of a crash.

According to reports, younger riders tend to be involved in significantly more accidents than older riders, often because of less careful riding and greater risk-taking. However, the reports indicated that while riders over the age of 60 had fewer crashes, they suffered a higher incidence of serious injuries and hospitalization following a crash. The following are only some reasons cited for the increase in serious injuries for older motorcycle riders:

  • Older motorcyclists might be inexperienced if they picked up riding as a retirement hobby.
  • Older motorcyclists who have been riding for decades may be rusty when it comes to safety skills if they have not taken a refresher safety class.
  • Some older adults experience decreased bone strength or other weaknesses that leave them more vulnerable to traumatic injuries, especially in the head and chest areas.
  • Aging can cause decreased reflexes, lessened ability, difficulty balancing, and vision or hearing problems, all of which can increase the likelihood of a crash.
  • Older adults may have pre-existing health conditions that may be aggravated in a motorcycle accident.

The above are only some of many reasons why older motorcycle riders may be at a greater risk for severe injuries in a crash. The more severe the injuries, the greater the medical expenses and other losses may be.

Because older riders can incur extensive losses as a result of their injuries, it is critical to discuss your legal options with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as you can following a crash. Our attorneys can identify the best way to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more.

Call Abels & Annes to Consult with a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you have been the victim of a motorcycle accident, you should seek representation from a lawyer who knows how to handle this type of case. Contact the Chicago law firm of Abels & Annes at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation today.

Top 3 Myths about Motorcycle Accidents

There are many misconceptions when it comes to the personal injury process, especially as it relates to motorcycle accidents. The following are three common myths about motorcycle accidents.

1. Single-vehicle crashes are always the fault of the motorcyclist.

When a motorcyclist crashes and no other vehicles are involved, you may assume that the motorcyclist was intoxicated, being reckless, or engaging in some other type of dangerous behavior. This is often not the case, however, as other factors can cause a crash. For example, if a part on the motorcycle is defective and suddenly malfunctions, the motorcyclist may lose his or her ability to brake or steer. In addition, road hazards, such as potholes, can cause a motorcyclist to lose control and crash.

2. You don’t need a lawyer for smaller claims.

Even if someone else was at fault for a motorcycle accident, too many victims do not call an attorney because they believe they can handle a relatively small claim. However, no matter how much your expenses were, you deserve to be fully compensated by the liable party. Without the help of an attorney, an insurance company could try to take advantage of you and offer you less than you deserve. You may also fail to consider certain losses that you did not realize were compensable. It is always wise to discuss your claim with a lawyer, no matter how small you may believe it is.

3. You can’t recover for injuries if you weren’t wearing a helmet.

While motorcycle helmets are important, they certainly do not protect you from all injuries. The fact that you were not wearing a helmet will not stop you from recovering for injuries to other parts of your body. In addition, you can often receive substantial compensation for head injuries even if you were not wearing a helmet. This situation would have to be examined under Illinois law, but it is likely you still could receive a significant recovery.

Discuss Your Injuries with Our Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

The above myths are only three of many that exist about motorcycle accident claims. To ensure you have all the proper information about your rights and options, please contact the Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at the law firm of Abels & Annes. Call us today at (312) 924-7575 for a free case evaluation.