Motorcyclists deal with many hazards when on the roads in the Schaumburg region and throughout Chicagoland. Because motorcycles have a much smaller profile than cars, you have a much higher chance of being in an accident because of the conditions and factors outlined below. If you were in an accident recently with injuries, our motorcycle accident lawyers in Schaumburg at SJ Injury Law can help.
Bad weather in Illinois can be a problem for all drivers, but even worse for motorcyclists. You should use extra caution when operating your bike in bad weather and slow down accordingly. Other drivers could lose control in wet weather, so always drive defensively on your motorcycle and pay attention to other drivers’ actions.
Failure To See The Motorcycle
The most significant reason motorcycle accidents happen is other drivers simply fail to see the motorcycle. The best advice to motorcyclists is to assume other drivers cannot see them and behave accordingly. Unfortunately, about 70% of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections because other drivers do not see the biker. This is also a frequent occurrence on the highway when people change lanes or just stop in traffic. You can make yourself more visible on the road by wearing bright-colored clothing, using your headlight and turn signals, and never sitting in another driver’s blind spot.
Car drivers may barely notice when a road is uneven, covered in gravel, or even railroad tracks. But motorcyclists need to be on alert for these road hazards because it is easy to lose control. If you are hurt because of a road hazard, your Schaumburg motorcycle accident lawyer can see if the state or local government that maintains the road can be liable.
Cars Making Left Turns
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is drivers making left turns. It is much harder to see an oncoming motorcycle than a car, so some drivers turn into the motorcyclist’s path. Cars that make left turns can easily hit a motorcyclist on a straight road or in an intersection. These accidents often happen because of driver distraction, poor visibility, and speeding.
You can help to avoid these accidents by using caution when seeing an oncoming vehicle slowing down to make a turn. Be prepared to stop suddenly if the other driver does not see you. Also, ensure that your headlight is always illuminated.
Almost 60% of motorcycle accidents happen because of head-on crashes. These tragedies can occur when either driver is going too fast and cannot slow down or avoid the crash. Many of these incidents happen because the other driver does not see the motorcyclist, so wear bright colors and always use your headlight.
Reckless driving is one of the most common conditions that leads to motorcycle accidents. If another driver was reckless in one of the following ways and caused an accident, you could receive compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Even if you were partially at fault, Illinois’ comparative negligence law means you can still collect compensation if you were less than 51% at fault:
- Speeding: All motorcycle crashes’ severity is greater when someone is speeding.
- Alcohol or drug use: If another driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, accidents are more likely, and if you were on your motorcycle at the time, you could have severe injuries.
- Not wearing a helmet: You are not required to wear a helmet on your motorcycle in Illinois, but you should. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that helmets are 37% effective in avoiding motorcycle rider fatalities in accidents.
Taking Curves Too Fast
This is a common issue that new motorcyclists have: taking curves too fast. Slowing the motorcycle enough so you can safely navigate turns is critical. If you take the turn too quickly, you can lose control, leave the road, or even drift into oncoming traffic.
Some motorcyclists like to share lanes, but it is hazardous without staggering the riders. There is a high risk of a crash involving more than one biker if one has to swerve to avoid a road obstacle. Also, riding side by side increases the chances of hitting each other. Providing more staggered space when lane sharing reduces the chances of serious accidents.
Every motorcyclist is responsible for ensuring their bike is in good mechanical condition. However, some motorcyclists let their brakes or tires wear too much, leading to a higher chance of accidents. That said, sometimes motorcycle accidents happen because of a part failure, which could be the basis of a product liability lawsuit or claim against a mechanical shop.
What To Do If You Are Hurt In A Motorcycle Accident
You can always be cautious on your motorcycle, but sometimes motorcycle accidents are unavoidable. After such an incident, the first thing to do is to check yourself and others for injuries. Motorcycle accident injuries can be severe but could be unnoticeable at first, so it is always wise to call 911 and get medical attention.
If another driver was liable for the accident, there are several things you should do to ensure you get the most compensation:
- Take photos and videos of the vehicles, damages, positions, and injuries.
- Get a copy of the police report when you can get it.
- Obtain witness statements immediately, as well as their contact information.
- Obtain insurance information for all involved drivers.
- Finally, have a doctor look you over immediately and note your accident injuries and get the medical treatment you deserve.
What Do Motorcycle Accident Cases Settle For?
Every motorcycle accident in Illinois is different; one settlement can be more than another. However, there are common factors your motorcycle accident attorney will review to determine the potential settlement value. They will look at your financial, physical, and emotional damages from the crash to understand what it could settle for. Major factors that influence the settlement value are:
- Your motorcycle insurance policy.
- The at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
- The extent of the damage to your motorcycle.
- How much your medical bills and future medical costs are. If you have serious injuries that require months of recovery, the settlement will be higher.
- What your level of pain and suffering is. Serious injuries involve considerable pain and suffering, and that is worth more.
The best way to estimate a case’s value is to have a motorcycle accident attorney review it at no charge. If you use an online accident settlement calculator, it could seriously underestimate what the case is worth. Each case has too many variables for an online calculator to offer a fair estimate.
How Long Will It Take To Settle My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The timeline to settle an accident claim varies widely. Your attorney will need to collect a lot of evidence to prove the other party was liable, and that takes time. Also, if you have serious injuries, it may take months for you to reach maximum medical recovery. Therefore, recovering as much as possible before starting settlement negotiations is always best.
If you settle with the insurance company too soon, you risk getting too little money for your injuries and future medical expenses. Most motorcycle accident cases end in settlement, but your attorney will take the case to court if necessary to get the best result.
Who Can You Sue After A Motorcycle Accident?
After the accident, your attorney will determine who was at fault. All drivers on the road owe a duty of care to other drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. This means they must drive as a reasonable person would to ensure others on the road are safe. If a driver breaches their duty of care and hits you, they are liable for your damages. Potentially liable parties in motorcycle accidents include:
- You: If you rode your bike in a way that caused or contributed to the accident, you can be held partially or entirely liable. However, it is possible to receive compensation in some accidents even if you were partly responsible.
- The other driver: If another driver drove negligently, they can be held responsible.
- The bike manufacturer: If there was a fault in the bike or part that contributed to the accident, the manufacturer could be liable.
- Government agency: Sometimes accidents are caused by government employees or because of poor road conditions, lack of signs, and improper road design. Suing a government entity has unique requirements and necessitates the help of a personal injury attorney.
What About Suing The Other Driver?
In most motorcycle accident cases, the matter is closed once the liable driver’s insurance company offers a settlement amount you agree with. After you sign the settlement agreement, there is no turning back, so make sure you are happy with the amount you receive in the agreement. If you want more money, you should file a lawsuit. They will inform you if there is a chance to take the case to litigation and get more money.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers In Schaumburg
Were you hit by a car on your motorcycle? You could have serious injuries and be out of work for months, so talk to an attorney to find out if you have a case. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Schaumburg at SJ Injury Law can review your case, so call (847) 434-3555.