Bicycle Accidents on the Rise in Evanston

Cycling has been a popular recreational and competitive activity and form of transportation in Evanston and the entire North Shore for quite some time. Unfortunately, a host of bicycle-related accidents and injuries are not uncommon. It’s important to know that cyclists have rights and can seek legal recourse if they are injured in an accident. 

Cyclists are often injured due to the negligence of drivers.

According to the 2019 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics from the Department of Transportation, there were 2,353 cyclists injured that year, with an additional 328 suffering incapacitating injuries. Those are the ones that prevent the injured person from walking, driving or continuing to live their life as they had before.

The Evanston area is becoming particularly susceptible to bicycle accidents due to its population and streets that are busier than they were. In addition, far too many motor vehicle drivers take a relaxed approach to safety and may not be aware of cyclists sharing the road with them. 

Some motorists do not take bicyclists seriously on the road.

When sharing the road with bicyclists, some motorists do not take them seriously. This can be a risky attitude to have. Bicyclists have just the same right to use public roadways as motorists and in the state of Illinois are covered under the same laws. And did you know in Illinois, laws give bicyclists specific rights and protections? It’s true. 

For example, motorists must give cyclists a bare minimum of three feet of space when passing on a highway. There are also vulnerable road user laws in place, which state that drivers shall not, in a reckless manner, drive unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist. 

Motorists who do not take these laws seriously are not only putting bicyclists at risk and when they cause a collision may face being charged with a Class A misdemeanor for minor injuries or a Class 3 felony for serious injuries that result in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement. And you may be eligible for compensation through a lawsuit if you have been injured due to the driver’s negligence or aggressive road behavior. 

If motorists drive recklessly or aggressively, they can and should be held responsible for a bicycle accident. While police may issue traffic citations to negligent drivers, cyclists need to take action to protect their own rights if they have been injured due to a driver’s disregard. In prosecuting a civil case against a negligent driver, cyclists can recover damages for their pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages, among other items of damages. 

What to do if you’re a cyclist who has been in an accident?

If you are a cyclist and have been in an accident, there are measures you should take to protect your rights. First and foremost, if you have been injured, to the extent possible, document the accident by taking photos of the scene and getting the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen what happened. Also, contact the police to file a report, and if you believe the motorist was at fault, inform them of this.

If you’ve been injured, call an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Insurance companies will often try to take advantage of accident victims by offering them a low settlement offer. An experienced lawyer will fight for your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. 

Insurance companies and their role in bicycle accidents.

When a motorist is involved in an accident with a bicyclist, they may be held financially responsible for the cyclist’s damages. This is often covered by the motorist’s insurance policy. The insurance company will investigate the accident, determine who is at fault, and then decide how much they will pay out in damages. 

Unfortunately, many people don’t know what they’re up against when dealing with these insurance companies. As a result, they get taken advantage of because they don’t know their rights. So, let’s examine some things insurance companies will try to do to lowball you or avoid paying you what you’re owed.

  • Take statements – An insurance company will often try to contact an injured cyclist shortly after the collision and before they hire an attorney to take a recorded statement. An unsuspecting victim may inadvertently be prompted for statements and admissions that distort the facts of the collision.
  • Dispute liability – An insurance company may try to dispute that their insured motorist is liable for the accident. They may try to say that you were partly at fault or that the accident was entirely your fault. This is why it’s crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side who knows how to investigate these claims and gather evidence to prove liability. 
  • Delay payment – Even if they can’t deny your claim outright, insurance companies will often delay compensation in the hopes that you’ll get frustrated and give up. They may ask for more information than necessary or drag their feet in processing your claim. This is why it’s essential to have an attorney who knows how to deal with these delays and keep the pressure on the insurance company so that you can get the compensation you need and deserve promptly. 
  • Deny coverage altogether – In some cases, insurance companies will deny coverage, even if their insured motorist is clearly liable for the accident. Instead, they may try to say that their insured driver wasn’t covered for that type of accident or that they didn’t have enough coverage. This is where having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference. We know how to investigate these claims and find coverage that the insurance company doesn’t want you to know about so that you can get the compensation you need and deserve. 

Can you file a lawsuit if you are injured in a bicycle accident, even if you were not wearing a helmet?

No state law in Illinois requires cyclists to wear helmets while riding, so even if you were not wearing one at the time of your accident, you might still be able to file a lawsuit. 

In some cases, the other party’s insurance company or attorney may try to argue that your injuries would be less serious if you wore a helmet. They may even try to argue that you are partially at fault for your injuries because you were not taking proper precautions. However, it is important to remember that Illinois is a comparative negligence state. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you might still be able to recover damages as long as you were less than 50% at fault. 

Having an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Evanston on your side is the best way to ensure that you are awarded all of the payment you are entitled to for your injuries, regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet or not. 

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer is essential. At our law firm, we are Evanston personal injury lawyers specializing in bicycle accident cases. We understand how devastating these accidents can be, and we are here to fight for the justice you deserve. Contact Robert Rooth Law Firm today to discuss the details of your case. We are here to help you get the compensation you need to move forward with your life.