Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycling can be a quick way to commute to work and a fun form of exercise. Unfortunately, bicycling can also be a dangerous activity, especially when bicycling in a traffic-congested area or on roadways with fast moving traffic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 716 bicyclists were killed and another 52,000 were injured in traffic accidents in 2008 alone.
At Ankin Law Offices, LLC, our Chicago bicycle accident attorneys represent bike riders who have been injured in an accident with a motor vehicle.
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Bicycle accidents can lead to serious and life-threatening injuries since bicyclists have little protection. Bike riders are reminded to always wear a bike helmet to help protect themselves from serious head injuries.
Accidents with bicyclists can occur for a number of reasons. Frequently, drivers will fail to notice a bicyclist on the roadway or fail to obey bicycle rules of the road. If a driver negligently hits a bicyclist, the driver may be liable for the bicyclist’s injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income or other compensation.
When a bicyclist is injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, a claim is made against the negligent driver’s auto insurance carrier. If the negligent driver is uninsured, a claim may still be made against the bicyclist’s own auto insurance policy. Given that insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, they frequently take a formulaic approach to determine compensation instead of considering the individual facts of the accidents and merits of the claim.
Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with and it is important to have a skilled bicycle accident attorney to advocate on your behalf. The knowledgeable Chicago bicycle accident attorneys at Ankin Law Offices have significant experience representing clients injured in a variety of accidents with motor vehicles and we are able to efficiently and effectively communicate and negotiate with all of the insurance companies involved.
Safety Reminders for Bicyclists and Motorists:
- Bicyclists should always wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet when riding a bike.
- Bicyclists should obey the same rules of the road as drivers, including obeying traffic signs, signals and lane markings, and riding in the same direction as traffic.
- Bicyclists should maximize their visibility by wearing brightly colored clothing during the day and a front light and rear reflector at night.
- Motor vehicle drivers must share the road with bicyclists and allow for at least 3 feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a motor vehicle while riding a bike, contact the experienced Chicago bicycle accident attorneys at Ankin Law Offices today for a free consultation to discuss a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
If you are on a bicycle and get into an accident with a car or truck, what you do at the accident scene and immediately after is crucial.
When bikes get into accidents with cars, it’s scary. (Fortunately, most bicycle accidents do not involve cars.) If you are the one riding the bike, it’s important to keep your wits about you after the crash. What you do in the immediate aftermath of the accident may have a big impact on how much you recover for your injuries and damage to your bike. It may also affect the outcome of any lawsuits resulting from the accident.
Here’s what to do:
Wait for the Police to Arrive
It is vital that you wait for police to arrive at the accident scene so that they can take and file a police report — even if you think you are not injured. Some cyclists don’t realize they’ve been injured until several hours after the accident. And sometimes seemingly minor injuries later develop into serious and permanent problems. If you leave the accident scene, you may never be able to identify the at-fault driver.
Don’t attempt to negotiate with the driver. Many drivers initially apologize and accept blame, only to later deny their negligence or even deny they were present at the accident. Instead, wait for the police to come so they can document everything in the police report. Another advantage of waiting for the police: They may ticket the driver, which may be useful in settling the case with the insurance company.
Get Your Version of Events into the Accident Report
Sometimes, the police officer will take a statement from the motorist and not bother to talk to the cyclist. Do everything you can to get your side of the story into the police report. And by all means, report all of your injuries, no matter how minor. Remember, those minor injuries may later become more serious.
If, despite your efforts, the police refuse to include your statement in the accident report, you can later have the report amended.
Obtain Driver and Witness Contact Information
If possible, get the name of the automobile driver, as well as his or her address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information. In addition, try to get names and contact information for everyone who witnessed the accident. Don’t assume the police report will include all of this information — it might not. If you are injured and cannot get this information yourself, ask a bystander to do it for you.
Document What Happened
If you can, make mental notes about the accident: what happened; how it happened; where it occurred; when it occurred; and road, traffic, and weather conditions. Then, as soon as you are able, write all this information down.
Document Your Injuries
Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. The fact that you sought medical attention will serve as proof that you were injured, and medical records will document the extent of those injuries. Have several photos taken of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Start a journal of your physical symptoms and make entries every few days.
Leave your bike and other damaged property in the same state as after the accident — don’t attempt to fix anything or have anything inspected. Don’t wash your clothing. And don’t send your bike, helmet, or any other equipment to anyone other than your attorney. Take photos of your damaged equipment.
Seek Advice from a Professional
Many accidents between bikes and cars involve complex legal issues. You may want to consult a personal injury attorney who understands bicycling or has handled bike accident cases. Such an attorney can:
- advise you on how to proceed
- negotiate with the insurance companies, or
- represent you in a lawsuit.
Don’t communicate with the insurance companies before consulting an attorney. Anything you say to the insurance company could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from an attorney to the insurance company will resolve issues while avoiding legal pitfalls. In fact, most injury cases are settled without ever going to trial.
If the case warrants it, your attorney can hire a bike accident expert to investigate the accident. That person might obtain skid mark measurements, photograph the scene, speak with additional witnesses, or measure and diagram the accident scene.
Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at Ankin Law:
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