Who is At Fault if a Car Hits a Bicycle?
Personal Injury - July 26, 2021
The last thing any bicyclist expects is that they will be injured in an accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver. However, we know bicycle accidents are not uncommon, and it is crucial for at-fault drivers to be held accountable. Proving fault in the aftermath of a bicycle versus vehicle accident can be challenging, and we want to discuss some possible liability scenarios with you.
Fault for a Bicycle Crash Depends on the Particular Incident
When working to determine fault after a bicycle accident occurs in Illinois, we have to understand that no two-vehicle accident claims are exactly alike. The reality is that the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular incident will vary. That is why the determining fault is never a straightforward process.
We do know that bicyclists are allowed to use the roadways just like any other vehicle in most situations, with the exception of major highways. Because bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of vehicles, the rules that govern vehicles on the roadway also apply to how drivers handle situations when there are bicyclists on the road. This includes yielding the right of way when necessary.
Determining Fault After a Bicycle Crash
When it comes to determining fault in the aftermath of a bicycle accident, there typically needs to be an extensive investigation into the incident. The fault is not always clear, which is why much of the following evidence will be gathered in the aftermath of every bicycle crash:
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- The photograph was taken at the scene of the crash
- Any video surveillance of the incident
- Vehicle “black box” data
- Police or accident reports
If it is determined that a vehicle driver disregarded traffic laws and caused a bicycle crash, then the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will be responsible for paying the bicyclist’s expenses. This includes coverage of their medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Can a Bicyclist be At-Fault?
It is certainly possible for a bicyclist to cause a crash. In some cases, a bicyclist is completely responsible for a crash, while there are other times where a bicyclist may only be partially at fault. Illinois operates under a “modified comparative negligence” system, which means that a bicyclist can still recover compensation so long as they are not more than 50% at fault for the incident. If a bicyclist is determined to be less than 50% at fault for a crash, they can still recover compensation, though the total amount will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
Bicyclists can be held responsible for a crash in much the same way that vehicle drivers can be held responsible. If a bicyclist was distracted or impaired, or if they failed to obey applicable traffic laws, law enforcement officials will find the bicyclist responsible. In some cases, the bicyclist could be on the line for any expenses for damages caused to other parties involved.
During the latest reporting year in this state, there were 12 bicyclist fatalities and more than 2,300 total bicyclist injuries, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. If you or somebody you love has been involved in a bicycle accident, you should speak to a skilled bike accident attorney in Chicago as soon as possible. If you are owed any compensation, an attorney can work to investigate the incident, help calculate total expenses, and negotiate with insurance carriers involved.