Injured Bicyclists Are Vulnerable to a Hit-And-Run
A bicycle is the perfect way to make your way through the crowded city of Chicago. It allows 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. There were approximately 800,000 cyclists commuting to work in 2013. And 36 million Americans report bicycle usage that same year. However, riding through crowded city streets can lead to bike accidents. Further, a Chicago hit-and-run bicycle accident lawyer will tell you that not all drivers stay at the scene after a crash.
Bicyclist fatalities are more likely to occur in urban areas. In 2018, Illinois ranked 7th in highest number of bicycle fatalities in the nation with 26 deaths.
Bicyclists are at more of a risk when you compare them to motor vehicle drivers. This, because they have little 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 a motor vehicle accident flees the scene before police arrive to investigate the collision. This type of collision has been on the rise over the last several years, as our hit-and-run bike accident attorneys in Chicago are well aware.
Medical Costs and Hit-and-Run Accidents
After a hit and run accident, it’s difficult for authorities to catch the driver that fled. This leaves the victim and his or her family to deal with the aftermath on their own.
Because hit-and-run drivers are in most cases never caught, bicyclists with injuries may have to rely on their own medical and auto insurance to cover expenses. If a cyclist has auto insurance, or even lives with an immediate family member who has insurance, the policy in most cases will cover the hit-and run-accident. This claim can provide funds for medical expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering, and 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 injury accident, regardless of who is at fault, is illegal in Illinois. A driver found guilty of a hit-and-run can face felony charges and lose his or her driver’s license. If the accident results in death, the driver can face charges for a class two felony punishable by up to fourteen years in prison.
How Expensive is a Bike Accident?
Motor vehicle accidents can be incredibly costly, especially when someone is seriously injured. Bicyclists in collisions have a high risk for head injuries and regularly experience more severe injuries compared to those riding in or driving vehicles.
There are estimates that the average costs of injuries following a collision between a motor vehicle and cyclist is around $58,700. However, the costs can be much higher if a victim breaks a bone, suffers from a head injury, or requires surgery to repair injuries caused in the collision. It’s best to contact a hit and run bike accident attorney in Chicago to discuss your options shortly after the accident.
Why Do 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 in a rural area? Or what if it is late at night and the bicyclist is far from home?
These questions become heartbreaking when a cyclist dies in a hit-and-run accident. The family of the victim is left wondering why their family member was left alone to die. They will always ask themselves if something could have been done to save the victim.
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 is driving impaired, specifically drunk driving. In many states the penalty for drunk driving is worse than that of a hit-and-run.
For this reason, some drivers choose to leave the scene of the accident in an attempt to avoid a more serious charge. However, many states are enacting more serious punishments for those found guilty of a hit-and-run accident to prevent this from occurring.
Why Would a Driver Flee the Scene of an Accident?
The reasons drivers may flee the scene of a bike accident are as follows:
- A driver doesn’t have a license
- The driver is uninsured
- A driver has a suspended license
- He or she is DUI
- The driver panics and leaves
- A driver does not want to face any financial consequences, such as a high deductible or an insurance rate increase
In any of these circumstances, a driver may choose to abandon the victim to save themselves.
How Common Are Bike Accident Fatalities?
According to the NHTSA, in the year 2017:
- There were 677 bicyclist fatalities in accidents nationwide
- There were 48,000 cyclist injuries in crashes
- 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 a factor in 37% of bicycle accident deaths
Do You Have Injuries from a Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accident in Chicago?
The Chicago hit-and-run bicycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can help you to obtain the recovery you rightfully deserve. They can do this whether that means pursuing an at-fault party or your own insurer.
And remember, important evidence can get lost and witnesses may forget important information over time. So, do not hesitate to seek the compensation to which you deserve. For a free case consultation without obligation, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. 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. for a free case consultation.