Injured Bicyclists Being Left Behind with Injuries
A bicycle is the perfect way to make your way through the crowded city of Chicago, allowing you to avoid frustrating traffic jams all the while fitting in a great workout. Bicycling as transportation, as well as recreation, is on the rise, with almost 800,000 bike commuters reported in 2013 and 36 million Americans reporting bicycle usage that same year. However, riding a bike through crowded streets can be incredibly dangerous.
Bicyclist fatalities are more likely to occur in urban areas and in 2012, Illinois ranked 5th in highest number of bicycle fatalities in the nation with 29 deaths. Bicyclists are at more of a risk compared to motor vehicle drivers as they obviously have less protection and drivers easily overlook them. This further places bicyclists at an increased risk of becoming victims of hit-and-run accidents.
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver involved in motor vehicle accident flees the scene before police arrive to investigate the collision. Since 2009 hit-and-run fatalities have been on the rise, with 1,449 deaths across the country reported in 2011.
Medical Costs and Hit-and-Run Accidents
The issue with hit and run accidents is that evidence can be lost within a matter of hours, preventing authorities from catching the culprit, leaving the victim and his or her family to deal with the aftermath on their own. Because those responsible for hit-and-run accidents are in most cases never caught, injured bicyclists may be forced to rely on their own insurance to cover expenses. If a cyclist owns a car or lives with someone who owns a car, the car insurance policy in most cases will cover the hit-and run-accident, providing funds for medical cost, lost wages, or other related damages.
If the at-fault driver can be identified and located, the injured bicyclist may have a claim against that driver’s insurance. If the at-fault driver is identified it is likely he or she will face severe criminal charges. Fleeing the scene of an accident, regardless of who is at fault, is illegal under Illinois law. A driver found guilty of a hit-and-run can be charged with a felony and have his or her license revoked. If the accident results in death, the driver can be charged with a class two felony punishable by up to fourteen years in prison.
Motor vehicle accidents can be incredibly costly, especially when someone is seriously injured. Bicyclists involved in collisions have a high risk for head injuries and regularly experience more severe injuries compared to those riding in or driving vehicles. It is estimated that the average costs of injuries following a collision between a motor vehicle and cyclist was around $58,700 in 2012 but the costs can be much higher if a victim breaks a bone, suffers from a head injuries, or requires surgery to repair injuries caused in the collision.
Why Hit-and-Run Accidents Occur
Victims of hit-and-run accidents are often left shocked and traumatized by the experience. The driver who is responsible for your injuries has just abandoned you. What if the cyclist does not have a cell phone or is not in a highly traveled area? Or what if it is late at night and the bicyclist is far from home? These questions become heartbreaking when a cyclist is killed in a hit-and-run accident. The family of the victim is left wondering why their loved one was left to die alone and if the driver could have done something to prevent this tragedy had the driver remained at the scene.
Although there is no justification for a hit-and run-accident, studies have displayed common trends in what motivates drivers to leave the scene of a collision. The most common factor involved in hit-and-run accidents injuring bicyclists or pedestrians is driving impaired, specifically drunk driving. In many states the penalty for drunk driving is worse than that of a hit-and-run so some drivers choose to leave the scene of the accident in an attempt to avoid a more serious charge. However, many states are choosing to enact more serious punishment for those found guilty of a hit-and-run accident to prevent this scenario from occurring.
Other reasons drivers flee the scene of an accident can be attributed to attempts to cover up additional crimes. If the driver is unlicensed, uninsured, driving with a suspended license, or in the process of committing another crime like street racing, they may choose to abandon the victim to save themselves.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
- 677 bicyclists were killed in accidents in the United States
- 48,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents
- Bicyclist fatalities represented 2.1% of all traffic accident deaths
- Bicyclists represented 2% of all people injured in all traffic accidents
- The majority of bicycle fatalities occurred in urban settings, at 69%
- The deadliest time to ride a bicycle is at night
- Alcohol was involved in more than 37% of bicycle accident deaths
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured in a Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accident?
The experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. can help you to obtain the recovery you rightfully deserve, whether that means pursuing an at-fault party or your own insurer.
Over time, important evidence can be lost or destroyed and witnesses may forget important information, so do not hesitate in seeking the compensation to which you are entitled. For a free case consultation without obligation, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. toll-free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442), locally at (312) 924-7575, or by using our online form. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
If you were injured in a hit-and-run bicycle accident in Chicago, call Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO for a free case consultation.