Injuries sustained in a car vs. bike collision are often very serious, life-threatening, or fatal. The victim may never have the quality of life they enjoyed prior to the accident.
It’s crucial to secure experienced legal representation in a bicycle-related accident involving serious injury or death. Our team of Chicago bike accident attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates should be contacted right away to review the facts and advise you on how to move forward.
Steps to take after being in a bicycle accident
The immediate aftermath of a bicycle accident is understandably chaotic. However, it’s vital to take the right steps to protect your safety, rights, and best interests.
1. Get to a safer location
If possible, move your bike to a nearby safe area or sidewalk away from traffic.
2. Keep your safety gear on
If you’re wearing a bicycle helmet, gloves, or other safety gear, leave it on until medical personnel arrives. This will help to show police and witnesses that you were taking the necessary safety precautions when the accident occurred.
3. Call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance
You must call 911 if there’s any property damage or if anyone is injured. Getting the authorities involved at the scene of the accident is important for your case later on. A police report will provide an official record of the incident.
4. Tell your side of the story to the responding police officer
Be sure to inform the police officer of your side of the story. This will help build a strong case if you decide to pursue legal action against the at-fault party. Refrain from admitting any fault or blame as this can weaken your case.
5. Gather evidence at the scene
If possible, take photos of your bicycle, any property damage, any other vehicles involved in the accident, road conditions that may have contributed to the accident, and any visible injuries.
6. Notify your insurance company
Some bicyclists are covered under their home or auto insurance policies. If this is the case for you, notify your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible. When doing so, simply state the facts and avoid any speculation about who was at fault.
7. Visit urgent care or your primary care physician
Even if you don’t think you sustained any injuries, it’s essential to visit a medical professional right away. Internal injuries can take time to develop symptoms, and you’ll want a medical record that can help back up any future claims.
8. Meet with a bicycle accident attorney to understand your legal options
Depending on the facts of your situation, you may have a legal case against the person or company responsible for your accident. To understand your legal rights and options, it’s recommended that you consult an experienced bicycle accident attorney who can review the details of your case and help you make an informed decision moving forward.
Make sure you file a claim in time
In the state of Illinois, injured parties generally have two years to file a claim for compensation. There are some circumstances that might affect this deadline.
Regardless of your filing deadline, failing to file in time could result in you being unable to recover any compensation for your injuries. This deadline, known as the statute of limitations, is one of the many reasons why it’s essential to speak with a qualified bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
The longer you wait to file a claim, the harder it may be to prove fault and recover compensation for your losses. Evidence can quickly disappear, witnesses may forget key details, and your recollection of the accident can become more unclear over time. Don’t let these factors work against you — take the right steps now to protect your best interests.
Possible damages you can claim
The primary purpose of filing a personal injury claim after a bicycle accident is to recover compensation for your losses. These losses, formally called damages, are intended to put you in the position you would have been in had the accident not occurred. There are two main categories of damages available in bicycle accident claims: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are designed to cover the monetary losses you’ve experienced as a result of your accident. They’re easy to calculate and may include past and future medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, lost earning capacity, and any accommodations or modifications you may need to make to your home or vehicle due to your injury.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and are intended to compensate you for the physical pain, emotional suffering, and other intangible losses you’ve endured due to your accident.
While assigning a dollar value to these damages is more difficult, a qualified bicycle accident attorney can help you determine the full extent of your losses and fight to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Parties who may be liable for your injury
Bicycle accidents can have many potential causes, and determining who’s liable for your accident requires a thorough investigation. Depending on the facts of your case, multiple parties may be responsible for the costs of your injuries including:
- One or more motor vehicle drivers
- The driver’s employer
- Another bicyclist or pedestrian
- A government agency responsible for road maintenance
- The manufacturer of a defective bicycle or part
- A property owner, if a hazardous condition caused your accident
Exploring all potentially liable parties is a critical part of the claims process that should only be handled by an experienced bicycle accident attorney. When you work with the skilled and experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we’ll evaluate each potential avenue to recovery and pursue the most advantageous path forward.
How our Chicago attorneys prove negligence
Our strategy for proving negligence will depend on the exact type of party that’s responsible for your accident. For instance, if a distracted driver caused your crash, we might be able to examine their phone records, eyewitness testimony, and any other available evidence to establish that they weren’t paying attention at the time of the accident.
For more complex cases, we may hire experts to reconstruct the accident and analyze other evidence that can demonstrate fault. This is particularly likely when multiple parties may be at fault or when a hazardous condition contributed to the accident.
We fight the insurance company to get you maximum compensation
The process of negotiating a fair settlement isn’t always easy and can involve complicated discussions about liability and the extent of your losses. Insurance companies are also notorious for offering low settlement amounts, and they may even attempt to deny your claim outright.
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our Chicago personal injury attorneys understand the tactics insurance companies use to minimize their losses, and we’ll stop at nothing to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries. We don’t let the insurance company push us around — if they refuse to cooperate, we won’t hesitate to escalate your case to court.
Common bike accident causes in Chicago
Cyclists put their lives at risk when sharing the street with a negligent driver. The cyclist may not be noticed, or the driver is intoxicated, distracted, speeding, or simply not paying attention to the road ahead. Some common bike accidents are:
- Driver opens a car door directly into a moving cyclist (dooring)
- Driver fails to see a bicyclist when turning
- Cyclist is impacted from behind while riding or while stopped at a red light or stop sign
Distracted driving and bike accidents
Distracted driving is a problem of epidemic proportions. A driver who is eating, texting, talking on the phone, engaged in a conversation, or daydreaming puts cyclists at high risk of serious injury or death. A driver may be totally unaware that a cyclist is present, hitting them from behind, or failing to ensure no cyclist is on their right prior to making a turn. Distracted driving is negligent driving.
Common bicycle accident injuries
The inherent lack of protection for cyclists on the road, along with the size and speed disparity between cars and bikes, can lead to significant injuries when something goes wrong. Common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruising and lacerations
- Internal organ injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Knee, hip, and leg injuries
- Facial injuries
“Invisible” injuries such as chronic pain and psychological trauma are also common consequences of bicycle accidents, and the impact of these injuries can be just as life-altering as any other.
“Dos” and “don’ts” of dealing with insurance after a crash
Remember, insurance companies are for-profit businesses and may try to minimize your claim or deny liability altogether. Keep the following dos and don’ts in mind when dealing with insurance after a bicycle accident.
- Provide basic information to the insurance company, such as your name and date of birth, the time and location of the accident, and a brief description of the events leading up to the crash.
- Refuse to give a recorded statement or sign any documents presented by the insurance company without your attorney’s go-ahead.
- Forward any correspondence or documents received from the insurance company to your attorney.
- Admit fault or blame the other driver for the accident.
- Speak with the other driver’s insurance adjuster without an attorney present.
- Accept the first offer made to you by the insurance company.
- Accept any final offer before consulting with a lawyer.
When in doubt about the best course of action, seek legal advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with insurance.
Cost of hiring a Chicago bicycle accident attorney
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our bicycle accident attorneys provide free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay any legal fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Thanks to this arrangement, you don’t need to worry about the cost of legal representation while you’re still in the process of recovering from your injuries. When you consult our attorneys, we’ll provide you with additional information about the anticipated costs and fees associated with your case so there are no surprises along the way.
Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible
You should always seek medical care after a bicycle accident, even if you don’t think that your injuries are serious. Some injuries are asymptomatic for days or weeks after an accident and can have grave complications if left untreated.
Evidence of medical treatment and/or records of your injuries is also crucial when pursuing a legal claim. It’s also important that you follow all of the instructions given to you by your doctor as the insurance company will use any lapses in medical care against you when they review your case.
How a Chicago bicycle accident attorney can help
Bicycle accidents often involve a number of complicated factors. More than one driver may accept fault, or the city may accept partial liability due to adverse road conditions, missing signage, and other factors. Multiple insurance companies, attorneys, and bicycle laws can result in a case that is far too complicated to handle on your own.
Hiring a Chicago bicycle and scooter accident lawyer can help. With years of experience in bicycle accident cases, hiring a Chicago bike accident lawyer ensures proper handling of your case while you recover.
Contact Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today
If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer in Chicago, connect with the bike accident lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. Our trial lawyers are focused on seeking justice and full compensation for the injured. Our record of success is extensive, including achieving what was the highest value personal injury verdict in Illinois history. Call (800) 985-1819 today to schedule your free consultation.