Most traffic related accidents in Chicago do not involve motorcycles. In fact, of all the accidents that happened in Illinois in 2011, only 1.5 percent of them involved a motorcycle, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Yet despite the fact that motorcycle accidents make up only a small portion of all crashes, they disproportionately account for injuries and fatalities. In 2011, motorcycle accidents were responsible for 5 percent of all injuries sustained in accidents and 16.7 percent of all fatalities that occurred on Illinois roads.
These numbers highlight some of the biggest issues facing bikers – though the odds of being involved in a crash might be low, the chances of being injured or killed in a crash are much higher than for those individuals who driver automobiles.
Many threats pose dangers to bikers, like speeding, distracted driving, and those who fail to yield the right-of-way. The biggest threat of all may be drivers who operate under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Every year, statistics continue to show that many of the bikers who are injured and killed in Chicago were involved in a crash that was caused by an intoxicating compound.
These accidents can be broken down into two main categories: those accidents involving an intoxicated driver of a passenger vehicle and those accidents involving an intoxicated motorcyclist. Regardless of who was negligent or reckless in causing an accident, if you were injured and you were not the intoxicated driver, you may entitled to bring a legal claim for your damages against the drunk driver or the driver’s insurance company, depending on the facts of your accident and the injuries you sustained. An injury lawyer can help you determine what legal relief may be available to you and whether you are entitled to a financial settlement for your losses.
Drunk and Drugged Driving in Chicago
Whether a motorist feels impaired is not the legal test applied in Illinois. Rather, intoxication is defined by law and will be presumed whenever a driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. The amount of alcohol it takes to reach or exceed this level will vary from person to person as well as factors including height, weight, sex, and tolerance to alcohol. But for many, two to three drinks may put an individual at or over the limit. Driving in violation of state law means that a driver may be fined, suffer a loss of license, or even incarcerated if caught driving drunk.
The rules regarding driving while under the influence of drugs other than alcohol are very strict and also present the possibility of serious penalties if they are violated. With many drugs, simply having the drug present in a driver’s bloodstream may be enough to face charges and even a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs. The penalties for drugged driving are often the same as those for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Besides any charges that may be brought by local authorities, a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes an accident that leaves another person injured can face serious civil claims for the damages caused to victims. This can include victims within the drunk driver’s vehicle or in another vehicle, as well as those on motorcycles, bicycles, or even pedestrians walking in the area. Depending on the severity of the injuries and the number of victims hurt in an accident, these claims can cost drunk drivers hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
In some crashes, the driver of a car that hits a motorcycle may be drunk or under the influence. Yet in others, the driver of a motorcycle may be the one that is impaired. Of all the fatalities among motorcycle drivers in Illinois in 2011, 46.5 percent of those operators tested had at least a BAC of .01. Though this minimal amount is far below the legal level of intoxication, it is indicative of the correction that seems to be present with motorcycle riders who imbibe in some alcohol and later fatal crashes. When these bikers have a high BAC limit, the odds of them causing a collision with another motorcycle or with a passenger vehicle increase significantly, putting their own safety as well as the safety of others at risk.
Seeking Legal Help after a Motorcycle Crash
When a collision with a drunk driver leaves you injured, you may be able to seek a financial recovery against the responsible driver. These claims can seek payment for medical expenses that have already been incurred as well as those reasonably believed to be incurred in the future, like future surgical and future rehabilitative expenses. Claims can also seek compensation for time a victim had to miss from work while recovering from injuries. In the worst accidents where a loved on is killed, the victim’s surviving family members may be able to bring a claim for their losses, even though no amount of money can provide proper compensation in those cases.
The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. has experience representing motorcycle accident victims who have been injured by the negligence of another. We fight hard for each one of our clients in an effort to obtain the maximum award possible in every case. If you have been involved in an accident, call us today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or locally at (312) 924-7575 and let us provide you with a free case consultation. There is no obligation on your part for taking advantage of the call and our lawyers are standing by 24 hours a day to speak with you. Following an accident, do not wonder about your legal options. Call us now and let us help you get a recovery you deserve.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident involving a drunk driver, call us at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free consultation.