Bicycle Accident Attorney in Chicago, Illinois

Driving a vehicle that provides a metallic shell for protection can still lead to serious injury and even fatality if an accident occurs between two or more vehicles. Can you imagine what it’s like if you’re out on your bicycle and are struck by a vehicle weighing more than a ton?  

Right, the odds aren’t great that you’ll have the same protection from injury as those inside an enclosed vehicle. In fact, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) says that bicyclists are five more times likely to be injured in a roadway accident than those in motorized vehicles. In fact, in Chicago, as recently as 2018, a bicyclist was fatally injured every third day.  

The usage of a bicycle is increasing more and more every day. Health is certainly one. It’s great exercise. Convenience is another. A bicycle takes less space in a public area, and if your distance isn’t great, you can arrive at your destination almost as quickly as using a motorized vehicle. The downside is the exposure not only to drivers who ignore safety rules but also to the elements. Rain and other conditions can make it more difficult to navigate your way safely.  

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident – or worse, lost their life – in or around Chicago, Illinois, contact us at the Law Office of Anselmo Duran P.C. for compassionate legal guidance.  

We have been handling personal injury and wrongful death cases for more than 17 years, and we will fight aggressively for your rights and just compensation for injuries and losses. And you don’t pay unless we win. We also proudly serve clients in Lake County, McHenry, DuPage, Cook, Will, Kankakee, Kane, and Grundy, Illinois.



What to Do After a Bicycle Accident

If you’ve been struck by a vehicle while using your bicycle to transport you, you need to deal with the situation as you would if you were in your own car and involved in a collision. First, if you need medical care, you should immediately seek that.   

Illinois law also requires that you report any accident that results in injury, death, or $1,500 in property damage. So, in most cases, you should call 911 just to be safe. Police should come and investigate. You can later seek a copy of their report and use it in any claim or lawsuit you initiate.  

Of course, you’re going to need to obtain the contact and insurance information of the other party involved. While on the scene, assuming you’re fully able, you should also use your smartphone to take pictures or videos. Capture the condition of the road – potholes, etc. – and any roadside warning signs that may have been violated, and of course, film the damage to both vehicles and any injuries that you suffered.  

If there are bystanders, witnesses, or people who stop to help, try to get their version of what they saw – their witness testimony, so to speak – along with contact information, so you can use their testimony later on to bolster your case against the at-fault driver. 

Illinois Laws Regarding Bicycle Use and Maintenance

Illinois has published what it calls “Bicycle Rules of the Road.” Of course, bicyclists are expected to observe the same laws as drivers, but also to exert extra caution, for instance, by not assuming a driver necessarily sees you. In other words, don’t try to make a quick right when the vehicle next to you or ahead of you has its right-turn signal on.  

In addition, helmets should be worn at all times, and important safety features should be installed and maintained on the bicycle itself, including:

  • Front light visible for at least 500 feet (night riders)

  • Clear front reflector

  • Red rear reflector, visible from 100 to 600 feet

  • Horn or bell that can be heard up to 100 feet

  • Reliable, properly adjusted brakes

  • Wheel-mounted side reflectors

  • Reflector pedals

  • Gears that are adjusted and operate smoothly

  • Properly adjusted seat

  • Handlebars and all accessories are securely attached

Filing a Claim

If you own a vehicle and have auto insurance, you should be covered under that policy, but that won’t help if you just have basic liability insurance. A basic car policy covers only damage and injury you cause to others but does not protect or provide for you or your vehicle. You may want to consider purchasing optional uninsured motorist (UM) and/or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in the case of a hit and run or a driver who is uninsured or woefully insured.  

As mentioned earlier, the at-fault driver is responsible, but only up to the point of the rule of modified comparative negligence. Thus, if you file an insurance claim or a lawsuit, your own actions will be judged as well as the other party’s.   

Say you make a sudden, unexpected lane change and the result is that a driver couldn’t fully see you and react in time. How much of the resulting injuries are your fault? The insurance claims adjuster or a jury in a trial might, for instance, conclude you were 40 percent at fault (more or less).   

Assume you’re seeking $20,000 for medical and other related expenses and losses. That amount would be reduced by 40 percent to $12,000 in your settlement or court award. If your fault rises above 50 percent, you can obtain nothing. That’s why modified comparative negligence is also called “the 51 percent rule.”  

In Illinois, there is a two-year statute of limitations to seek a claim for personal injury, dating from the actual occurrence of your injury. However, for an insurance claim, most policies have prompt reporting requirements. If you try to submit a claim a few months or a year after the incident, the insurance company can reject it on the grounds that it’s too late to investigate. 

Wrongful Death Claim

If you’ve lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, it is possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the person’s date of death (not necessarily of injury unless the death were immediate). However, though family members would be the recipients of any court award, they themselves cannot necessarily file the lawsuit.   

The requisite statute requires that the “personal representative” of the deceased file the action. A personal representative is someone named in the person’s will to be the executor of their estate when they are gone. If there is no will or named personal representative, then the court will appoint one, usually from among the family members. 

Bicycle Accident Attorney Serving Chicago, Illinois

Filing a claim with an insurance company can be challenging. Insurers are for-profit entities and will do everything to protect their bottom line, which means to lowball or deny your claim. If you or a loved one has been injured in Chicago, contact us at the Law Office of Anselmo Duran P.C. for legal assistance. We will fight for the just compensation you deserve, even if it means filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.