You may be entitled to compensation for your Chicago motorcycle accident. A lawyer can help make sure you get it.
It has been common knowledge for years that motorcyclists face a unique set of dangers on the road. Despite that knowledge, the problem of motorcycle accidents and related injuries seems to be getting worse. In fact, Illinois motorcycle accident fatalities increased by 24 percent between 2014 and 2015.
Everything from careless drivers to debris in the road can cause motorcycle accidents. And when these accidents occur, bikers are more prone to serious injuries than the drivers of larger, more protected vehicles.
Motorcyclists deserve to be treated just like other drivers, and they have a way to make sure they’re fairly compensated for any hardships another driver’s negligence has forced them to endure: filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party. For help with your claim, work with a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer from Lane & Lane, LLC.
What Caused Your Chicago Motorcycle Collision?
How do you determine who you should name in your claim for compensation after your motorcycle wreck? The first step is figuring out what really happened and how it caused your crash.
That knowledge, in most cases, will lead your Chicago motorcycle wreck attorney to the person or company that should be held financially accountable for your suffering. The following motorcycle accident causes are commonly seen in Chicago motorcycle injury claims:
- Roadside Construction – The Chicago area seems to be perpetually under construction, and that includes a lot of roadside construction. Unfortunately, many construction companies are careless in their obligation to put up signs to warn of road obstructions, lane shifts, and other hazards. Hazards like this can easily cause catastrophic motorcycle accidents.
- Irresponsible Drivers – This is a major cause of fatal motorcycle accidents and those that cause serious injuries. Negligent driving practices like drinking and driving, texting on the road, and drowsy driving can cause all kinds of wrecks, but when these drivers hit motorcyclists, the results are often tragic.
- Road Rage – Some drivers show too much aggression on the road, and sometimes they direct that aggression toward motorcyclists. When they do that, they open up the possibility of crashes, and they should be held responsible for the damage they have caused.
- Failure to Yield – Car drivers tend to teach their minds to watch for other cars, and trucks are hard to miss. But they’re usually not looking out for motorcycles. This can cause them to not yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists when making a turn or entering the roadway.
- Defective Auto Parts – When parts on your motorcycle or on the car that ends up hitting you malfunction, you might be able to hold the manufacturer of those parts responsible for your crash.
In addition to the above potential causes of your motorcycle wreck, you may be able to file a claim against a government agency. If the government agency in question failed to maintain safe roads, and that failure caused your motorcycle accident, you might be able to pursue compensation from them. However, claims against Illinois government agencies fall under different rules and deadlines, so it’s important to have a Chicago motorcycle collision attorney by your side as you file this kind of claim.
In each of the above scenarios, several parties could be found responsible for the motorcycle crash and your injuries. But proving fault in a Chicago motorcycle accident is going to require a lot of evidence and a healthy helping of legal knowledge, which is why working with a lawyer can be so beneficial to you.
Understanding the ‘Reckless Biker’ Stereotype
One of the many harsh realities that victims of Chicago motorcycle accidents must face is that insurance companies and negligent drivers will attempt to use false and unfair stereotypes against them. The stereotype is that of the “reckless biker,” which tries to suggest that motorcyclists are always responsible for their accidents because they are careless on the road.
We know this isn’t true, and so do you, but that doesn’t matter to insurance companies. In an effort to decrease the amount of compensation they might have to pay you, insurers will rely heavily on this stereotype to blame you for the accident that left you injured and in need of compensation.
But how is this possible? Modified comparative negligence laws in Illinois state that even those who are partially responsible for the cause of the wreck can recover compensation, but their awards will be reduced by their percentage of liability. The insurer will try to capitalize on this opportunity and make you appear more at fault than you actually are.
These dishonest efforts are often successful when they’re used against injured motorcyclists who don’t have legal representation. If you hire a Chicago motorcycle wreck lawyer, he or she will make sure you aren’t unfairly blamed for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
How Long You’ll Have to File Your Motorcycle Crash Claim
For personal injury claims, Illinois has a statute of limitations of two years. That means you have two years to file a claim for compensation after your motorcycle accident. However, the statute of limitations can also start running from the date you were diagnosed with an injury that was directly caused by the motorcycle accident you were involved in.
For instance, if you thought you were fine after the crash but then went to the hospital in the weeks after the accident with severe headaches, you might be diagnosed with a brain injury that went untreated because you didn’t seek treatment immediately following the accident. In this case, the statute of limitations could start on the date of your diagnosed brain injury and last for two years.
Two years might seem like plenty of time, but time flies when you’re gathering evidence and recovering from injuries. Luckily, a motorcycle wreck lawyer in Chicago can expedite the process and boost your chance of success.
Winning the Compensation You Deserve
After a motorcycle accident, your financial situation is likely to be in danger. Long hospital stays, expensive medical treatments, and lots of time away from work are the norm after these crashes, and all of those hardships can make a big dent in your bank account.
Of course, you shouldn’t have to pay a penny out of pocket if your Chicago motorcycle collision was someone else’s fault. A qualified and experienced attorney will make sure every damage you have suffered as a result of your accident is accounted for in your claim. This will include both economic and non-economic damages.
What Are Economic Damages?
When calculating the value of your case, your attorney will be responsible for quantifying your damages. The economic damages will be relatively simple to quantify, as they have a direct impact on you financially.
The cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle and other damaged property, your healthcare-related expenses like physical therapy, and accommodations to your home to make it work with your disability or severe injuries, as well as your lost wages and reduced ability to earn a stable income, will all be included in this category of losses.
Non-Economic Damages Explained
It goes without saying that a catastrophic motorcycle accident can impact your life in ways that have nothing to do with money. The emotional trauma of being involved in a wreck can be devastating and seem impossible to overcome.
For this reason, your Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer will need to know how your life has been influenced emotionally and psychologically to ensure you are treated reasonably and fairly. Some of these damages might include the following:
- Mental anguish
- The loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- The loss of consortium
- The loss of household services
- The effects of scarring or disfigurement
Although non-economic damages are more difficult to evaluate, they are often far more impactful than your economic losses, which is why they should be considered in your claim accordingly.
Getting the Most out of Your Claim
There is also the possibility that you’ll be awarded punitive damages if the actions of the defendant were particularly egregious or intentionally harmful. These damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and prevent others from making the same decisions in the future, which will hopefully prevent similar accidents.
Not only can you secure compensation for the previously mentioned damages, but if you are the loved one of an individual who has passed away after being injured in a motorcycle collision, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
Chicago Motorcycle Accident FAQ
Fighting for the compensation you deserve after a motorcycle accident isn’t easy. And it’s more than likely going to raise a few questions about the legal system and your rights. Below, we’ve answered a few of those questions.
If I wasn’t wearing a helmet, can I still receive compensation for my motorcycle crash?
Illinois is one of the few states that don’t have motorcycle helmet laws. That means you’re within your rights to ride without a helmet, although helmets have been shown to reduce the severity of head injuries.
The other side might try to argue that because you weren’t wearing a helmet you are somehow responsible for your injuries—they’ll say you demonstrated a disregard for your own safety by not wearing a helmet. Negligence laws in Illinois could result in your award being reduced if you’re found to be partially at fault for your injuries.
You can rest assured that your Chicago motorcycle injury lawyer will work diligently to make sure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
Will I have to go to court for my motorcycle accident claim?
That depends on how successful we are at negotiating with the insurance company. If we are able to get the insurance adjuster to agree to a settlement that is both fair and reasonable, then we may not have to go to court. In cases where you are clearly entitled to more than the insurance company is willing to provide, we will be prepared to bring your case into the courtroom.
Although the possibility of going to court may seem intimidating, you should keep in mind that sometimes having your case heard by a judge and/or jury can be the best thing for you, as they are unbiased and impartial and will likely award you a sum that coincides with the damages you endured.
I don’t have the money for an attorney. What can I do?
The last thing our attorneys want is to take your money in your time of need. With that in mind, we work with injury victims based on an attorney contingency fee. This means you won’t have to pay us anything up front—or at all if we don’t win your case.
During your initial consultation, we’ll discuss your case and work together to determine what your fee will be. If we can agree, our fee will then be deducted from your winnings, so you won’t have to worry about encountering any unpleasant financial surprises later on.
Speak with a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Unfair stereotypes, shady insurance companies, and complicated legal rules are just a few of the difficulties you’re likely to face if you file a claim for compensation without a lawyer’s help. Any one of those difficulties could keep you from recovering the compensation you need to move on with your life.
To give yourself a strong chance of success, work with a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer at Lane & Lane, LLC. We’d be happy to discuss your case in a free, no-obligation consultation. Give us a call at 312-332-1400 or head to the bottom of the page and fill out the online contact form to schedule a meeting.