Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Unlike persons in passenger cars or trucks, motorcyclists are not protected by anything but a helmet and possibly leather gear. If other drivers are careless, the consequences of a collision are often extremely serious or fatal. If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, the Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help.
According to the most recent data issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation, while motorcycle crashes account for just over one percent of vehicle accidents, they involve almost 15 percent of all fatalities.
Why Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
In any injury case, it is typical for the lawyers representing the at-fault party to try to reduce the value of legitimate injury claims. Insurance company lawyers are working for their employer. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible, no matter what is actually fair or equitable. Never attempt to deal with a serious motorcycle accident injury case without an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident attorney.
Motorcycles can be difficult for other motorists to see. A much greater degree of driving skill is required to keep a motorcycle upright. Irregularities in the road surface that would not affect an automobile can be a risk. At present, motorcycle riders in Illinois are not required by law to wear a safety helmet.
Do I Have a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
For decades, the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates have helped thousands of men and women in Illinois find the best path forward in the aftermath of accidents and injuries. The fastest way to get help after a motorcycle accident is through a no-cost consultation with our team. Get an expert assessment of the strength of the case and the size of the settlement we may be able to pursue. Our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers can provide an initial consultation by phone. We can also chat live through the “Live Chat” feature on this website.
If your injury has had long-term consequences, you owe it to yourself to try to seek maximum compensation.
Common Motorcycle Injuries
Although every motorcycle accident is unique, several common injuries appear in motorcycle accident victims. Since Illinois does not require the use of helmets, many motorcycle injuries in Chicago affect the head and neck. However, head and neck injuries exist even in states with helmet laws. In fact, a CDC study of over one million motorcyclists found that 22% of all motorcycle accident injuries affect the head and neck.
There are many common motorcycle injuries, including:
- Lacerations and abrasions, including road rash
- Traumatic tattooing from asphalt and debris embedded in the skin
- Broken and fractured limbs, particularly the lower extremities
- Loss of limbs due to traumatic amputation
- Injury to joints, particularly from bracing and impact with the ground
- Damage to internal organs or internal hemorrhaging
- Back injuries, including crushed vertebrae, slipped discs, and spinal injuries
- Head and neck injuries such as skull and neck fractures
- Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury and paralysis
Certainly, other types of injuries can and do result from motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle arm is another common injury, which occurs when a rider attempts to shield himself from the impact of an accident. Other injuries are psychological in nature. They may involve conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the crash. However, psychological issues remain difficult to prove without a clinical diagnosis and the help of a knowledgeable Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can be caused by any of the factors that commonly cause other road accidents. However, the difference between motorcycle accidents and other accidents can be seen in the severity of the injuries. The following situations are especially dangerous for motorcycle drivers:
- Door check accidents. A driver leaving or entering a vehicle can cause an accident by opening a door in the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
- Merging accidents. A driver that is changing lanes can fail to look carefully and collide with or pull into the path of a motorcycle.
- Accidents related to road conditions. Debris on a road, potholes on poorly maintained roads, missing signage or similar road hazards can cause accidents.
- DUI accidents. Intoxicated drivers are unable to drive in a safe manner, posing a risk to the drivers around them.
- Accidents caused by distracted drivers. Drivers texting, talking on the phone, eating, or otherwise distracted while driving are at a much higher risk for causing accidents than those focused on the road.
- Reckless driving accidents. Other drivers speeding, failing to maintain a safe distance, passing unsafely or stopping suddenly pose a risk to motorcyclists riding alongside.
- Accidents caused by failure to obey signage. Drivers failing to yield, stop, or turning illegally can cause accidents by improperly entering into oncoming traffic.
- Equipment failure accidents. A defect in the design or the manufacture of the motorcycle can cause the motorcycle to fail and lead to an accident.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident, it is essential you follow a few important steps. Following these steps can ensure your safety and assist you in making an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit later with the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer in Chicago. If you experience a motorcycle accident, be sure to:
- Get to safety. If the accident occurs in traffic, move yourself and your motorcycle, if possible, to the side of the road to avoid further accidents and injury.
- Call the authorities. If you or the other driver experienced injuries or property damage, you must report the accident. Remain calm, respectful, and relate as much of the events of the accident as you are able. However, you do not need to admit fault.
- Document the scene. If possible, take photos of your damages and of the accident scene. Photos can help the courts and insurance companies make decisions later.
- Exchange insurance information. While you do not need to speak with the other driver’s insurance company, you will need the company name and policy information to file your claim.
- Seek treatment for your injuries. Unless your injuries are life-threatening, only leave the scene once cleared to do so by the authorities. Keep all medical treatment documentation for future reference.
- Speak with a Chicago motorcycle crash attorney. If your accident occurred due to the other driver’s negligence, if you were seriously injured, or if the other driver did not carry insurance, you will likely benefit from speaking with a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer regarding a personal injury claim against the other driver.
Timeline of a Motorcycle Accident Settlement
Each motorcycle accident case is unique, and it is often difficult to determine just how long your case will take to finalize. However, a few general situations exist that may help provide guidelines for your case’s timeline:
Settlement Before Filing
In cases where all parties agree regarding liability and damages, a settlement may occur before filing. Simple, clear liability cases usually involve undisputed liability, straightforward property damages caused by the accident, and relatively minor injuries that do not worsen over time. In addition, both parties usually have insurance. Clear liability cases that settle before filing often finalize by the 90-day mark after the accident, since nothing exists to argue in court.
Settlement During the Discovery Phase
The discovery phase of a case involves both sides performing research, securing sworn testimony, and other fact-finding. Both sides exchange information, and the cause of the accident, as well as the extent of the injuries, becomes clear. Settlement can occur during this phase as details emerge; typically, the discovery phase can last from six to twelve months.
Settlement During Mediation
If the two parties dispute some parts of the accident after discovery, the case often enters mediation, where a neutral third party guides the two parties in a discussion regarding the accident. Often, attorneys on both sides negotiate the terms of a settlement during mediation in order to avoid unnecessarily taking a case to trial. Mediation lasts a few hours to a few days, and if the parties reach a settlement during mediation, the entire process takes around twelve months.
Settlement After Trial
Most motorcycle accident cases reach a resolution before the case goes to court. However, it can take as many as two years before your case receives a court date; in addition, court dates undergo rescheduling frequently for multiple reasons, making a court timeline even more uncertain. Once your case begins, it can last a day, a week, or even longer, dependent on the circumstances of your case.
Settlement can take place at any stage of your case, once both parties agree regarding liability, the extent of the damages, and a proper settlement. Ideally, both parties agree early on in the process, eliminating the need for multiple steps on the timeline.
How Much Is My Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
As stated, every motorcycle accident is unique, as are the associated injuries, property damages and other damages incurred as a result. It is difficult to accurately estimate the worth of your case without a consultation delving into the specifics. However, your motorcycle accident attorney will consider multiple factors while valuing your case.
- Current medical fees related to costs sustained immediately after the accident
- Ongoing medical fees, including future procedures, rehabilitation, medical equipment, and medications
- Property damage and replacement costs
- Lost wages due to your injuries
- Future lost wages or reduced capacity to earn income if you are unable to return to work as the result of the accident
- Any other damages, including pain and suffering, reduction in your ability to enjoy life, and PTSD
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
- Funeral, burial, and loss of care damages in wrongful death cases where the rider died as a result of his or her injuries
Once your Chicago motorcycle accident attorney estimates the value of your case, he or she can point you to similar cases and their associated settlements. Again, prior settlement amounts do not constitute an absolute valuation of your case, but can provide a basic guideline regarding what to expect from a similar case.
Get the Help You Need to Rebuild Your Life
You will need help after being seriously injured or disabled in a motorcycle accident. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates has the resources to undertake every task necessary to build a compelling case on your behalf.
You won’t be asked to pay until we have achieved a settlement or verdict in your favor. Contact us and get on the path to the compensation you deserve.