Illinois law has several requirements for anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident, no matter what type of vehicle it may be, including a motorcycle.
Most of these steps are just common sense, but there are a few technical requirements that have to do with reporting to legal authorities, and anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident needs to be aware of these requirements, since failure to comply with Illinois law can result in criminal charges and costly fines.
First: Do not leave the scene of the accident.
Even if there is only property damage, failure to stop constitutes a “hit-and-run,” which is a criminal misdemeanor; if there is a serious injury or death, the “hit-and-run” can constitute a criminal felony. If the vehicles and their occupants can be moved safely, it is okay to move the vehicles out of the roadway (such as moving to the shoulder, or onto an off-ramp or side street) for the purpose of safety and to minimize obstructions to traffic, but it should be within the vicinity of the accident scene. If it involves a collision into an unoccupied vehicle, the driver must still stop at the scene.
Second: Render aid.
After stopping at the scene, the top priority is rendering immediate aid for those who are injured, since time can be a critical factor for addressing injuries, particularly in the case of traumatic injuries.
For motorcyclists, this is especially critical. Head injuries are the leading cause of fatalities in motorcycle crashes. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to injury because they have no protective cage or chassis between their bodies and the road, other vehicles, or any other obstacles. And, in Illinois, because there is no helmet law, there is a higher likelihood of serious head injury in accidents involving motorcyclists. Unless a motorcyclist is wearing a good helmet and full protective gear, chances are extremely high that a motorcyclist involved in a vehicle collision will sustain serious injuries. Even with protective gear, broken bones or other serious injuries are not uncommon.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, on average, the nation’s emergency rooms see over 150,000 motorcyclists per year. Of these visits, 30% are for leg or foot injuries, 22% are for head or neck injuries, 20% are for injuries to the upper half of the body, and 18% are for arm or hand injuries. Often, the injuries sustained by motorcyclists involve more than one body part, and will also be in addition to more superficial injuries such as scrapes, lacerations, and bruising.
For any crash involving injury, calling 911 right away is always warranted. (This is not only for the purpose of summoning emergency medical aid, but for the purpose of summoning law enforcement to come to the scene of the accident and fill out an accident report.) If one of the involved parties is capable of personally rendering any necessary aid—CPR, application of first aid, covering someone with a blanket, or the like—it is important for them to do so. If professional medical help is needed or is requested by an injured party, the involved parties may arrange it and, if it is safe to move a person, that individual can personally deliver an injured person to a nearby medical facility if emergency personnel are not on hand. They will, however, need to report the absence and the reason for it to the authorities as soon as practicable.
Third: Exchange information.
After a collision, the drivers of the vehicles involved need to exchange information including their names, addresses, vehicle registration numbers, the name of the owner(s) of the vehicle(s) (if the owner is not the driver), insurance information, and license plate numbers. If requested, the drivers must also show their driver’s license. It is also important to obtain the contact information of any witnesses to the accident, including occupants of the vehicles other than the drivers. If one of the vehicles is unoccupied, the driver must leave a note containing all the necessary information with the vehicle in a conspicuous place.
If one of the parties is incapable of providing this information due to a serious injury or other applicable circumstance, it may be acquired by other means or at a later time.
Fourth: Report the accident to law enforcement.
Under Illinois law, every driver involved in a traffic accident must file a crash report to the local law enforcement authorities if an accident resulted in a fatality, any bodily injury, or more than $1,500 in property damage. Several municipalities in Illinois require law enforcement to be on hand at the scene of any accident regardless of these limitations, so the safest route is simply to notify local law enforcement as soon as practical after you have been involved in an accident.
If law enforcement does not show up, it is your responsibility to report the accident to the local law enforcement office, whether that is the local police, the local sheriff, or Illinois State Police.
If you are injured and need to seek medical aid immediately, then a passenger in your vehicle may file the report, or you must file the report within 10 days of being discharged from a medical facility. Failure to file the report could result in jail time, and cost $2,500 in fines.
If You are a Motorcyclist Injured in a Collision, When Should You Consult a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
In addition to meeting the requirements outlined above, there is one other step you probably should take in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident if you have been injured: contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C., have many years of experience assisting and representing the victims of motorcycle accidents. Sadly, motorcyclists involved in collisions are often the victim of another driver’s negligence. And after you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is not uncommon to feel that you have been victimized in more than one way. When that happens, Abels & Annes, P.C., can help you.
In addition to your physical injuries, which may require emergency medical care, hospitalization, surgery, or extended treatment or physical therapy, there is also the emotional cost of experiencing a traumatic event and a serious injury. And on top of these difficulties, other factors may add to your troubles, and cause you even more frustration and aggravation than the physical injury: if the party or parties responsible for the accident fail to provide restitution to you, either directly or through their insurance carrier(s).
Unfortunately, insurance companies, which supposedly exist primarily for the purpose of providing financial assistance and reparation in the event of an accident, frequently try to deny or limit claims, particularly when an accident has costly consequences. They may grossly undervalue the amount of compensation that is owed, or deny a claim outright. A valid claim may get delayed by continual inquiries or requests for paperwork, or insurance company attorneys may try to pressure you into signing a comprehensive settlement agreement even before you know the full extent of the damages you have suffered or what you may be entitled to.
These tactics are not uncommon. Particularly when you are vulnerable and under stress from all the changes and upheaval that follow an accident, some people and businesses believe they can freely pressure you because you may have little or no power to enforce or pursue your claims. When you are on your own, it is easy to get overwhelmed or intimidated with legalistic language, technical details, deadlines, and other difficulties, and to accept arguments or rationales intended to convince you that you have no choice but to accept what is offered. What you are offered may even seem reasonable or generous, when you are unaware of your rights.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you to avoid or overcome the problems that come about from trying to deal with all of this on your own. At Abels & Annes, we take our clients’ interests to heart, and we aggressively pursue all the damages to which we believe our clients are entitled, whether from insurance carriers or from the responsible parties themselves. We know the law, and we know what insurance companies can and cannot get away with.
When you work with us, we will explain to you what your rights are, advise you on your options, and represent your interests to all outside parties on your behalf. You will have peace of mind knowing that you have a steadfast advocate working for you, shielding you from having to deal with these parties directly, and knowing that you will not have to pay any legal fees unless and until damages are collected on your behalf.
When you are trying to recover from a motorcycle accident, the last thing you need is the added pressure, worry, and aggravation of trying to deal with complex and confusing paperwork, and dealing with a bunch of strangers whose only interest is to get you to sign on a dotted line. The sooner you place your worries into the hands of the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C., the sooner you can concentrate on getting your life back in order.
If you have been injured, or someone you love has been killed, in a motorcycle accident, contact the knowledgeable Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C., at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or (312) 924-7575, or use the online form here on this website, to get the help you need.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, call the attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free, no-obligation case consultation.