Bicycle Accidents in Chicago
Chicago has been a two-wheeled town from the moment the bicycle was invented. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, the first cycles, then nicknamed “boneshakers” appeared in the area by the late 1860s. “By the late 1890s, Chicago was the ‘bicycle-building capital of America.’… and approximately two-thirds of the country’s bicycles and accessories were manufactured within 150 miles of the city.” During that same time period, the city also boasted 54 bicycle clubs, and over 10,000 people were members. You can see some pictures of these clubs and other early bicyclists in the Chicago Tribune’s archive. It is chock-full of cool photos of early bicycle enthusiasts.
Mayor Richard J. Daley and Mayor Richard M. Daley both built on this cycling legacy by building trails and making city streets safer for cyclers. Thanks to their efforts, and the continuing work of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s Bike Program, bicycling has once again surged in popularity.
Many collar counties have also developed extensive bicycle trails. The Des Plaines River Trail in Lake County takes you nearly to Wisconsin, while the popular Fox River Trail in Kane County takes you right along the river. It is no wonder that cycling is one of the most common hobbies in the Chicago area.
While all of the trails, bike paths, and shared lanes in the Chicagoland area are designed to keep cyclists safe, people are still at risk of injury each time their feet touch the pedals. When a bicycle accident occurs, Chicago area residents can count on Stein & Shulman’s experienced team of personal injury attorneys to have their back. During our 50+ years in practice, we have recovered millions of dollars for accident victims in Chicago and our collar counties. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, we may be able to help you
Helping Bicyclists With Injuries
As noted in the Chicago Bicycle Crash Analysis, “with proper street design and behavior change amongst road users, the overwhelming majority of bicycle crashes are preventable.” The problem is those two things are going to take a long time and a lot of work to improve to the point where we see a significant drop in the number of serious bike injuries in the Chicago area.
One way to push for the changes needed is to hold the people who cause bicycle accidents accountable. Over the years, Stein & Shulman have filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of bicyclists injured on Chicago area bike paths, trails, and roadways.
While you focus on healing from your injuries, we get to work:
- Investigating and photographing the site of the accident;
- Interviewing any and all witnesses;
- Examining police reports and medical data;
- Consulting with medical specialists or other experts to validate our findings; and
- Figuring out who was responsible for the accident.
Gathering this evidence is critical because determining the cause of the accident and documenting the extent of your injuries is how your potential compensation is calculated.
The Illinois legal system is theoretically designed to put you in the position you would have been in if the accident had never occurred. In order to do this, we have to calculate how much harm you have suffered.
Some damages are easy to calculate. We can look at your medical bills, bike repair or replacement estimates, and pay stubs to figure out your economic damages.
Another harm you have suffered is more difficult to put a price tag on. Based on the opinions of expert witnesses, and what has happened in similar cases, you may also be awarded compensation for:
- Physical pain
- Emotional anguish
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Adding all of these items up gives you a ballpark estimate of the total amount of money you may recover. However, that amount may be reduced depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident because Illinois is a comparative fault state.
Under Illinois law, the maximum amount of compensation you are eligible for will be reduced if the accident was partially your fault. For example, if you incur $100,000 in medical expenses because of your accident, but the evidence shows you were 20% responsible for the accident, you will only be eligible for $80,000 in compensation.
If the evidence shows you are more than 51% at fault, you will be denied any money to help pay your medical expenses or other bills.
While no amount of money will actually make it seem as if your accident never occurred, you deserve every penny you can get your hands on in order to help you heal. Stein & Shulman will work hard to make sure you have the resources you need to move forward with your life following your Chicago area bicycle accident.
Hit & Run Accidents
After all this talk about finding fault and holding the responsible parties accountable, it is important to note that many bicyclists are injured in hit-and-run accidents. Some cruel souls drive off knowing full well that they injured a cyclist. Others may be so oblivious that they are unaware an accident occurred.
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident while cycling, you may be able to make a claim against your own automobile insurance policy for your injuries even if the driver who injured you is never identified. Under Illinois law, drivers are required to hold auto insurance policies that include Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). UM protects you when the at-fault party left the scene of the accident or did not have auto insurance. You can make a UM claim against your own automobile insurance whether you were driving, walking, or riding a bicycle at the time of the accident that injured you.
Contact Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today To Discuss Your Options
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in the Chicago area, the Stein & Shulman team is here to help. We have won millions of dollars for accident victims in the Chicagoland area. We work hard to ensure our clients get the money they need to recover from their injuries and get on with their lives.
Whether you are ready to take legal action and seek compensation for your injuries, or are simply curious about what options are available to you, we are ready to take your call. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.