With the average passenger vehicle weighing over 4,000 pounds, it is perfectly clear how accidents between bicycles and cars are especially dangerous. As an injured cyclist, you will likely have mounting medical bills, a long recovery, and potentially permanent injuries to your body. These injuries and resulting damages can leave you with serious pain, financial worries, and on-going stress from your recovery.
If you were the victim of a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you deserve to be properly compensated for your injuries. However, the driver’s insurance company will likely try to convince you to settle for less. At Abels & Annes, we are not afraid to take a hard-line approach with insurance companies to get you the best possible settlement for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, speaking to the opposing insurance company could compromise your case. Instead, speak to our Waukegan bicycle accident lawyers of the Abels & Annes legal team right away to understand your rights and options in making a claim. A consultation with an attorney is completely free. Additionally, it will give you a much better understanding of your potential case and what to do next.
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Bicycle Accident Statistics in Illinois
Illinois is one of the most dangerous places in the country for bicycle riders. Fifteen percent of traffic fatalities in Illinois involve a cyclist or pedestrian. Of all the US states, Illinois ranks fifth in bicycle deaths. Because of this high volume of serious bicycle accidents, understanding how a bicycle claim works is important for those who have suffered an accident or have lost a loved one because of a bicycle accident.
It should also be noted that not everyone is at the same risk of being involved in a bicycle accident. Male riders are six times more likely to die in a bicycle-related accident than women. Additionally, children between the ages of 4 and 14 are more likely to be involved in non-fatal bicycle accidents. Still, adults between 50 and 64 are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. These statistics can be explained by who is more likely to be riding a bicycle, where they ride, and the times during which they ride. Children commonly ride bicycles, but only in low speed areas; whereas adults that ride bicycles are much more likely to be riding in high traffic areas as commuters.
Why Hire a Bicycle Accident Attorney
Oftentimes, there is more to an accident than meets the eye. An experienced bicycle accident attorney knows exactly what factors to investigate to show another party’s negligence and how to properly negotiate the case once liability is established.
Your attorney will also make sure that you are properly protected against insurance tactics aimed at lowering or denying your claim. Once you hire an attorney, all calls and inquiries will be directed to your legal team. That way you don't have to speak to them. This is to your advantage, as your lawyer will advocate for you and keep you from making any mistakes.
If your case cannot be properly settled pre-trial, having an experienced trial attorney is the only way you can ensure that your case will go to court with the best possible chance of getting a favorable outcome.
When it comes down to it, the only people encouraging injured victims to handle claims on their own is insurance companies. And they have an obvious reason for this. If you are involved in a bicycle accident that resulted in injuries, contact the Waukegan bicycle accident attorneys at Abels & Annes rather than risking the degrading of your case by working with insurance companies on your own.
Common Bike Accident Injuries
Since cyclists don’t have the same protection as car occupants, injuries can be particularly severe. Here are some of the most common injuries associated with bicycle versus car accidents:
Bike riders may develop a traumatic brain injury, such as a contusion or concussion when they are struck by a car. This can happen when the head collides with something hard, like a vehicle or the pavement, or from the jarring force alone (coup injury).
During a bicycle accident, riders are often thrown from their bikes and land in awkward positions that body was not meant to move in. This often causes spinal injuries as the spine is twisted, bent, or broken. Spinal injuries can lead to long-term back pain and nerve damage, or even cause partial or full paralysis.
Broken and Fractured Bones
Broken bones during a bicycle accident are extremely common. Virtually any bone can become broken or fractured during a collision, which can lead to a painful recovery period.
Road rash can potentially destroy all layers of the skins and damage underlying bones. It also exposes your body to infection despite appropriate medical attention.
Disfigurements don’t just alter your appearance. They can also change the way your body functions. For instance, a bicycle accident may lead to an amputation. This not only affects your lifestyle and mobility but also your earning potential in your career.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicyclists are uniquely exposed in ways that most other travelers are not. Consequently, they’re keenly aware of the sounds, signs, and dangers that surround them. For the most part, that makes them extremely cautious. That’s why when bicyclists are involved in accidents, the driver is typically at-fault. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
Distracted driving is a leading cause of all motor vehicle collisions, including bicycle accidents. When drivers aren’t paying attention, they are significantly more likely to cause a dangerous accident. This may be due to the driver using their phones or because of some other distraction.
Speeding is a factor in over 25% of traffic accidents. And when a driver is speeding, it is much harder for them to see hazards, stop quick, or make quick maneuvers. This is not to say that only speeding vehicles can cause serious injuries or death to cyclists. However, it does increase the chances of an injury to a bicyclist.
Too little space
Drivers who don’t leave enough room between themselves and cyclists on the side of the road increase the odds of something going wrong. In areas where there is no bike lane, cyclists are especially at risk. Despite the common courtesy of sharing the road, many vehicle drivers for one reason or another refrain from safety precautions that keep everyone on the road safe.
Even if a driver is paying full attention, changing lanes or merging onto a roadway is still dangerous. Bicycle accidents involving unsafe merging are typically caused by drivers crossing into a cyclist’s lane without making sure the lane is clear first.
Drivers who are turning right often collide with cyclists that are continuing straight. This is most commonly caused when motorists do not properly stop or yield at a red light before making a right turn.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
After a bicycle accident, receiving medical attention should be your top priority. However, if you are physically able to, you should try to collect as much information as possible while you’re at the scene. Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, your bicycle, and any vehicles involved. Take pictures and videos of the scene from various angles.
Drivers are required to contact law enforcement. Once a police officer arrives, they will take an official report which will contain important information for your claim. You should also exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved in the collision. Further, you can collect contact information from independent witnesses so your attorney can follow up with them later. Also, writing down your own account of the accident can help you to keep your memories straight during this frantic time. All of this information will help move your claim forward.
Finally, you should contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after the incident. Especially before you speak to any insurance company.
Following the accident, continue to document your injuries and bills. As you continue to receive treatment, save any medical records you receive, along with receipts of any other expenses you incur due to the accident. It can also be helpful to keep a journal of all the conversations, phone calls, and appointments you have.
Contact the Waukegan Bicycle Accident Attorneys at Abels & Annes
If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle accident, seeking legal representation as soon as possible is important for maintaining the integrity of your injury claim. The dedicated attorneys at Abels & Annes carefully evaluate each client’s case to determine every available form of compensation. For a free consultation about your bicycle accident, contact us today. You can call us at (224) 998-6007 or contact us online.
Abels & Annes, P.C. (Waukegan Office)
404 W Water St Suite 100
Waukegan, IL 60085