Cycling is one of the best ways to get around Chicago, especially during warmer days. It allows you to enjoy fantastic views while getting your workout.
From the Lakefront Trail to the 606 and the North Branch Trail, there are various trails for those who want to get out on their bikes. But even with the separate cycling lanes, accidents occasionally happen. Around 440 accidents were recorded in the city’s cycling lanes in 2020-2022.
Such accidents can leave people with various damages and substantial medical costs. It’s only fair that you seek compensation if the accident is someone else’s fault. A Chicago bicycle accident lawyer can help you assert your rights and seek restitution.
They bring skills and know-how you won’t find anywhere else, significantly improving the chances of a successful claim or case. Here is a look at what you need to understand about bicycle accident laws.
Statute of limitation
Statutes of limitations exist for all civil litigations. If you plan to file a claim or sue someone, do it within the specified period to avoid forfeiting your right to compensation. Chicago bicycle accident victims must file their claims within two years of the dates of their accidents.
Of course, this statute has a few exceptions, but filing your claim early is important. Statutes of limitations ensure speedy case resolution and quick reprieve. Plus, filing your lawsuit when you can recall the details of your accident leads to a strong case.
However, you only have six months since your accident to file your lawsuit if it involves a government entity as one of the defendants.
If your loved one dies because of the accident, you have one year from the date of death to file your claim. On the other hand, minors who get injured in bicycle accidents have until two years after their 18th birthday to file their claims.
Liability is an important part of a bicycle injury claim. Illinois sticks to a comparative negligence standard. You will not receive any compensation if the jury determines that the case is mostly your fault. Usually, the cutoff is 51 percent, meaning you can get compensated only if you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
Take care when speaking with the insurance of the at-fault party. Better yet, have your lawyer present. Insurers know how to gut claimants who neglect to hire lawyers. They may trick you into accepting part of the liability, leading to a smaller settlement or award. Don’t speak with insurance adjusters without the presence of a lawyer.
The burden of proof
Another important aspect of bicycle accident litigation is the burden of proof. The three important things you must prove, with the help of a lawyer, are a breach of care, damages, and causation.
You must show the person who caused the accident didn’t act as a responsible person would have under similar circumstances. You’ll also need to prove that the accident led to your injuries and expenses.
Personal injury cases compensate for economic and non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. So, go to a hospital as soon as possible after the accident, even if you don’t have physical injuries.
Otherwise, the insurer’s defense team can argue that you delayed seeking medical treatment because your injuries were trivial or might not have resulted from the accident.
Document everything, including photos of your injuries, medical scans and expenses, therapy appointments and travel expenses, cost of special medical equipment, etc. You can use this evidence to support your claim.
Just make sure to keep details private. The insurer’s defense team may mine your online activity for clues that you are exaggerating about your injuries or hiding culpability.
All accidents have hidden costs because you never know how an injury may impact your life. That’s why it’s important to document your recovery process and work with experts to ensure claim calculations include all economic and non-economic costs, including long-term care, medical implants, travel to therapy/hospital appointments, therapy costs, property towing and repair, depreciation, and so on.
Don’t shy from psychotherapy after an accident. Acting all tough isn’t helpful. Get the care you need and ensure to get compensated for the costs, including pain and suffering.
Most bicycle accident settlements depend on negotiations. Hire an experienced lawyer to fight for your rights. Rarely do bicycle accident cases head to trial, but a good lawyer isn’t afraid of litigation if insurers refuse to negotiate. Bicycle accident attorneys also provide recovery and emotional support.
They understand how stressful a claim or litigation process can get, especially for accident victims. They will be there for you every step of the way. They may also direct you to recovery networks and resources for cycling accident victims.