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There is a long tradition of riding motorcycles across the U.S. and the state of Illinois is no exception. From the long road trips down lonely interstate highways to the inner-city commutes, there are many reasons people get inspired or motivated to hop on a bike and ride. But the reality is that riding a motorcycle comes with much added risk compared to driving a car. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the risk you are taking by riding a motorcycle and all the things you can do to minimize the chances of getting into a serious accident. And it’s equally important to know what happens if you are in a motorcycle accident, what you should do, and why it’s highly recommended to get help from a lawyer. In this article we will share with you some facts and statistics about motorcycle accidents, tips on what you can do to minimize the chances of getting into one, and frequently asked questions about being in an accident and hiring a lawyer to help you through that process.
The popularity of motorcycles has steadily grown since the 1950s. The rise in popularity has increased the number of motorcycles on the road and the types of motorcycles being produced.
Illinois has approximately 320,000 registered motorcycles in the State. In 2018 there were 21,120 motorcycle accidents in Illinois. This involved 44,052 people and resulted in 3,189 injuries and 119 deaths. The number of deaths in relation to the number of accidents is concerning. However, given the nature of motorcycles, it is hard to avoid serious injury if you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Chicago. Motorcycle accidents are statistically more dangerous and more likely to be fatal or to cause permanent injury. This is why many advocate groups have focused on safety and accident prevention.
Below are some frequently asked questions with data from the most recent available year of 2018.
From the data that is available to us 21,120 motorcycle accidents occurred in Illinois in 2018 alone.
In 2018, 119 people died in motorcycle collisions within the State of Illinois.
Leading Counties in Illinois for Motorcycle Accidents:
Of the 119 motorcycle accident deaths in Illinois in 2018, 105 were men, 15 were female, 58 occurred on rural roads, and 61 occurred on urban roadways.
If you compare auto accidents in 2018 in the state of Illinois from the 296,026 accidents that occurred there were only 579 fatalities. That is a 0.2 % fatality rate as opposed to motorcycle accidents in Illinois in 2018 which had a 0.6% fatality rate.
The age group with the most motorcycle accidents in 2018 were riders ages 21-34 who were involved in 810 accidents.
Of the 119 deaths that occurred from motorcycle accidents only 31 were wearing a helmet.
It’s hard to pinpoint the single most common cause of motorcycle accidents because each wreck has so many unique variables. Some of the most common causes of serious motorcycle collisions handled by the Kryder Law Group over the last 20 years involved these factors:
There are many accidents that have more than one factor which combined can cause an accident. For example, an inexperienced rider may be riding with a group. But poor road conditions cause the less experienced rider to lose control creating a secondary accident with other riders in the group.
The number of bikers killed each year varies. Available data shows that 4,985 bikers were killed in 2018, 5,172 in 2017 and 5,337 in 2016.
Based on the most recent data found, Thailand, holds the unfortunate distinction of having the most motorcycle accidents and deaths in the world. Motorcycles are a much more common form of transportation in Thailand. Motorcycles tend to be less expensive, use less gas and are cheaper to maintain. The number of accidents is likely due to lower safety standards and a lack of helmet laws. Based on data for 2015 there were 5,500 deaths in Thailand. That averages out to about 15 fatal motorcycle accidents per day. Compare that to the State of Delaware who had less than 10 fatalities all year in 2018.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report here are the states with the highest number of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2017:
Common causes of death in motorcycle accidents include:
The vast majority of motorcycle enthusiasts are everyday folks who enjoy the riding experience. However, some members of the public have a preconceived notion when it comes to motorcycle riders. Many times, it is a bias against motorcycle riders. Some individuals view motorcycles as dangerous. Sometimes, when an accident occurs, people may express a feeling that the motorcyclist was speeding or riding recklessly. Motorcycles make a distinct sound when they accelerate. Just because a bike is accelerating does not mean it is speeding. Witnesses to accidents can sometimes report to investigators that a motorcycle was speeding simply because they could hear the motorcycle accelerating or hear the surge of its engine. This bias can imply fault when it does not actually exist.
Who is to blame for an accident is often based on a person’s perspective. Human nature makes it difficult for many of us to accept responsibility. Especially when it comes to a motor vehicle accident. People naturally search for reasons to explain an accident in a manner that shields them from fault or responsibility. Ask a motorcyclist who is more often to blame for an accident, and they will usually say the car or truck that hit them. Ask the car or truck operator who is at fault and often you will receive a different answer.
It turns out that motorcyclists may be correct. At least one study performed by the Florida Department of Transportation found that more often cars and trucks are at fault for motorcycle accidents.
Visibility is often a factor. The study found that many accidents occurred when the larger vehicle failed to yield the right of way to the smaller motorcycle. Failure to yield collisions often happen when one vehicle fails to recognize the existence of another vehicle in situations where roads and traffic lanes merge. Vehicle operators often fail to see motorcycles and fail to yield the right of way. Many collisions also occur when a car or truck changes lanes. The motorist may fail to see the smaller motorcycle which leads to a collision.
Motorcyclists should understand their vehicle may not be as visible as a larger vehicle. With that in mind, defensive driving practices can help prevent accidents.
The Kryder Law Group has handled many motorcycle collisions over the years. Each case has its own unique factors, but there are common reasons for motorcycle collisions. Some of the most common causes of serious motorcycle collisions stem from:
A motorcycle is less forgiving than its four wheeled counterparts. It is far more difficult to recover control of your bike once you begin to lose control. Riders can lose control when taking sharp turns, traveling at high speeds, or rapidly breaking. Knowing that there is a higher likelihood of injury in a motorcycle accident, riders should know how to control their bikes and be aware of their bike’s capabilities. Riders should understand how their motorcycle responds when accelerating and slowing. Riders should also know how sharp a turn can be taken on their bike and know the limits of their bike.
Sudden stops can happen for a number of reasons. Roadway obstructions, stopping traffic, construction or unforeseen events can all create the need to suddenly stop while operating a motorcycle. These same situations arise when operating a car. However, the design of a car offers more stability when a motorist must suddenly stop. The four wheels of a car distributes the forward shifting mass of a vehicle more evenly. In contrast, a motorcycle with only two wheels is less stable. In a heavy breaking situation, a motorcycle can lose control causing a wreck. There is no perfect solution to this type of accident. Maintaining visibility and awareness are likely the best methods of prevention for this type of collision. It is also important to know the limits of your motorcycle. Practice breaking your vehicle in a parking lot or controlled environment so that you know how your bike will respond if you have to suddenly stop. The stopping distance will also help you gage what distance you should maintain from other vehicles while riding.
Many motorcycles join a club and ride together with other members. It’s common to have weekend destinations or rallies. However, riders need to be aware that collisions can happen when riding in a group, especially side by side in a single lane of traffic. If you fail to anticipate the movement of other riders the motorcycles can touch causing one or both motorcyclists to lose control. If other group members are following closely behind it can create a chain reaction for all trailing motorcycles. Knowing the other members in your group and their level of riding experience is important. Inexperienced riders can end up hurting themselves and others when riding in a group.
Poor road conditions can cause a motorcycle to slide and lose traction. Gravel on roads, especially on turns and bends in the roadway, can reduce the grip on the road and cause riders to lay down their bikes. Slowing down on turns can reduce the risk of an accident. Road construction, poor weather conditions and debris can also contribute to crashes. Some riders will say that that roads are the most slippery after the first rain of the season because oils trapped in the asphalt rise to the road surface before being washed away.
This type of accident is more common in urban settings where cars are parked along the road. As a motorcyclist travels down the road, the door of a parked car opens into traffic striking the motorcyclist. These types of collisions are more frequent than you may think. Many times, the door strikes the biker. However, just as often a wreck may occur when the biker tries to avoid the door. It may cause the biker to swerve into another lane of traffic where they are hit. The biker could lose control of the bike while taking evasive action. In other instances, the biker may have to lock up the breaks causing loss of control. Dooring accidents usually occur because the motorist does not see the motorcyclist.
Intoxication is a leading cause of not just motorcycle accidents but all types of transportation related accidents. It is always best to NEVER drink and operate a vehicle of any kind.
Any type of contact with a motorcycle is likely to cause a wreck. Motorcycles are simply not a match for larger passenger vehicles. Even slight taps between a vehicle and a motorcycle will likely cause a serious motorcycle collision and serious injury. Bikers do not have the protection afforded by a passenger vehicle. A motorcycle rider is completely exposed in a collision which is why so many motorcycle collisions end in serious injury to the biker. Rear end accidents are frequent with cars, but do not always cause injury. A rear end accident with a motorcycle, at any speed, is likely to cause injury to the rider. Side swipe or lane change accidents happen all too frequently because motorcycles are less visible than passenger vehicles. Visibility is an important piece of accident prevention. Riders should consider riding with lights on to increase their visibility. Sometimes it is useful to lane split when stopped at a light. This may reduce the chance of being rear ended because your motorcycle is occupying the space between lanes of traffic where vehicles are not.
Visibility ranks among the most common reason for motorcycle collisions. Operators of passenger vehicles simply fail to see smaller motorcycles on the roadway. This can occur at an intersection or while changing lanes. Of course, cars need to be aware of other vehicles in the immediate area, but bikers should also be aware that the profile of their two wheeled motorcycle is not as obvious as a four wheeled car. Accordingly, bikers should consider driving more defensively.
Preventing motorcycle accidents should be EVERYONE’S concern. However, motorcyclists must be personally responsible for knowing the dangers of riding. Motorcyclists cannot depend on motorists seeing them and must therefore be proactive when it comes to their own safety.
The National Safety Council recommends the “Four Rs” for accident prevention:
Wear your safety gear when riding. A helmet that meets national standards can save your life. You should also consider wearing reflective clothing to increase your visibility on the road.
Motorcycle clubs can be a helpful resource for new and experienced riders alike. Below is a quick list of some of the motorcycle clubs currently active across the state of Illinois.
Next Level Riders Motorcycle Club Chicago
Blue Island, IL
Chicago Norton Owners Club
Blue Knights Illinois XX
Sugar Grove, IL
Star Chapter 104
Hanover Park, IL
Justified Motorcycle Club
Top Cat Illinois
BMW Motorrad Club of Northern Illinois
St. Charles, IL
Illinois Free Spirit Riders
Red Knights Illinois Chapter 23
North Aurora, IL
Chain O’ Lakes Vulcan Riders Association
Star Chapter 193
Chicago Vintage Motorcyclists
City Heat Motorcycle Club of Chicago
Ducati Riders of Illinois
Ton Up Club Chicago
Chicago Region of BMW Owners Association
Latin American Motorcycle Association of Chicago West
Buffalo Troopers MC Chicago
Variety Riders Motorcycle Club
High Riders Motorcycle Club
Midwest Antique and Classic Motorcycle Club
Chicago and the surrounding areas have many scenic routes for motorcycle enthusiasts. However, these Illinois roadways can also be dangerous for motorcycle riders. As discussed in this article, many Illinois motorcycle collisions tend to be more serious because the motorcyclist is not as protected as a driver of a car is. Motorcycle drivers and riders are totally exposed to other vehicles. Motorcycles do not offer the same safety features as cars, such as seat belts and airbags. Frequently The Kryder Law Group, LLC sees the horrific outcome of Chicago motorcycle collisions. It is not uncommon for motorcycle riders to sustain permanent injury. Even more unfortunate is the fatality rate associated with serious Illinois motorcycle collisions.
The value of your claim is greatly influenced by the insurance covering the person responsible for your accident. Having appropriate insurance can mean the difference between fair compensation for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident and being left with bills. For example, let’s assume you are severely injured in a motorcycle accident and have $100,000 in medical bills. If the person who hit you only has $50,000 in liability coverage, then the chances of recovering fair compensation for your injuries is much more difficult. The available coverage in this case would not enough to pay the medical bills.
Therefore, you should be aware of what your own insurance coverage is. Your motorcycle insurance policy should offer Under- Insured Motorist benefits. This coverage compensates you if the value of your claim exceeds the policy limits of the person that hit you. Again, assume you are severely injured and have $100,000 in medical bills. Unfortunately, the person who hit you only carried $50,000 in liability insurance. Now assume you have $500,000 in under-insured motorist benefits. This type of coverage would allow you to collect the $50,000 from the person who hit you and then submit a claim to your own insurance for up to $450,000 more. Having the appropriate insurance can ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries.
We know motorcycle accidents can result in serious injury. You should review your insurance to make sure you are properly insured. Many insurance companies will only sell you the basic insurance to comply with Illinois Insurance laws. That may not be enough.
If your ride a motorcycle, you probably know of someone who was hurt or even killed in a motorcycle accident. When reviewing your insurance needs, you should consider the type of insurance coverage you should have in the event of a serious motorcycle collision. Ask your insurance agent about medical payment benefits, uninsured motorist coverage and under insured motorist coverage.
Additional insurance is surprisingly affordable and can ensure you are fully compensated in the event of a motorcycle collision in Chicago.
The days and weeks after a serious motorcycle accident can be chaotic. You may be in the hospital, out of work and have medical bills piling up. Tragically, in other instances you may be planning a funeral. You may find that so much has changed in a short time that you do not know where to start first. In these situations, having the proper guidance is especially important. Obviously, you know that restoring your health and focusing on needed medical treatment should be your number one concern. But if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was someone else’s fault, you also need to make financial compensation a priority. If you are hurt because of someone’s negligence, Illinois law entitles you to recover your economic damages and money for pain and suffering.
Having an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer focus on your economic recovery while you focus on your medical recovery is probably the number one reason to seek legal counsel. Evidence can disappear after an accident. Having a lawyer focused on your claim while you focus on your health ensures that both important priorities are being handled. You do not want your claim to be neglected during your recovery. An experienced lawyer can ensure all necessary steps are taken to preserve evidence and maximize your recovery.
There are many advantages to having an attorney assist with your Illinois motorcycle accident. Some reasons are obvious but other benefits are less obvious. Here 15 reasons you may want to hire a lawyer after a motorcycle accident.
There really is no substitute for knowledge and experience in your field. Having a skilled professional provide guidance in a highly specialized area of law is one reason to hire an experienced motorcycle lawyer to assist with your case. Without the proper counsel you cannot ever know if you are being treated fairly by the insurance company. Many cases can be settled without filing a lawsuit. However, if your case need to be taken to court you will need an experienced lawyer to handle your case. Why not start with what you will ultimately need and hire a knowledgeable Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer at the beginning of your case. When you are involved in a serious motorcycle accident making sure you receive fair compensation and everything you deserve is critical. Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced motorcycle attorney is really the only way you can assure that happens.
Documenting evidence after a motorcycle accident takes skill and knowledge. To do it properly your lawyer should move swiftly. Critical evidence can disappear with time. As an example, skid marks can fade in a matter of days depending on weather and traffic conditions. A totaled vehicle can be disposed of if a preservation letter is not immediately sent. The key is to locate, gather and preserve evidence for use in your case. The evidence may be used in the claim stage of a case, during litigation or at trial. Preserving the evidence allows you to use it at any of these important stages. Once evidence is lost it is gone forever. If the evidence is not preserved, it can diminish the ability to prove your claim. This is why the Kryder Law Group maintains a rapid response team that deploys to an accident scene within hours to preserve and document critical evidence.
To preserve evidence our lawyers will:
We understand that many motorcycle accidents end in serious injury. When this happens our attorneys and investigators are available to meet you in the hospital or at home. The Kryder Law Attorneys also provided appointments on weekends and evenings. Our firm will work around your schedule.
One of the best reasons to hire a lawyer after a motorcycle accident is that there is no up-front fee or costs. Attorneys at The Kryder Law Group will meet with you and discuss your options FOR FREE. There is no obligation to move forward after the initial consultation. And there is no downside to having the consultation. You likely have many questions on what to do after a motorcycle accident, especially if you are out of work and have serious injuries. Getting legal counsel to answer your questions is probably the smartest decision you can make after a serious motorcycle collision.
No fees unless you win. This makes contacting an experienced motorcycle lawyer at The Kryder Law Group an easy decision. The lawyers will meet you in person or speak with you over the phone. The Kryder Law Group can also coordinate a ZOOM meeting. When you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle collision in Chicago or Illinois having immediate legal guidance can make all the difference. There is no fee unless the attorneys at the Kryder Law Group win your case. This is called a contingency fee and this is how it works. The lawyer and client agree on a percentage of the settlement (typically 1/3 or 33 percent) as the fee agreement. When you win the case, the lawyer receives the agreed upon percentage. By doing this the client never has to pay the lawyer unless the lawyer delivers a settlement or favorable jury award. If the lawyer fails to recover anything, there is no fee because a 1/3 of zero is zero. This arrangement incentivizes the attorney to maximize the recovery. It also eliminates the need for a client to come up with money to hire a lawyer. We understand that most individuals and families have monthly financial obligations and paying a lawyer in addition to other bills is not always practical. The contingency fee agreement resolves the need for up legal fees. It also means the client is only paying for results.
You may not think a lawyer could be supportive, but you may be surprised. Many personal injury attorneys meet their clients under very difficult situations. It could be after an accident or an unexpected death. Attorneys who practice personal injury law have helped clients through similar situations. Because of this, the lawyers can provide much needed support because they have been through it before with other clients.
A good lawyer educates their clients regarding the law so informed decisions can be made in your best interest. Counseling clients so they understand their rights is one of the most important responsibilities a lawyer has. Your lawyer should listen to you and answer all your questions. The lawyers at the Kryder Law Group are trained to listen to each client. Each lawyer should discuss the goals and expectations for the case. Your lawyer should involve you in the case and educate you about the law and any deadlines.
A skilled litigator knows how to prepare a case. This may sound rather obvious, but it is not. Preparing a case takes skill, expertise, and experience. Experienced personal injury lawyers have honed their skills over time. A lawyer knows how to draft the needed paperwork and file it with the courts, how to take a deposition, issue subpoenas, request discovery, cross examine a witness, value your case appropriately and so much more. If you are asking what these things are you would probably benefit from having a lawyer assist with your motorcycle claim.
Negotiating skills are sharpened with practice and over time. Personal Injury Lawyers negotiate for a living. Having a shrewd and skilled negotiator on your side can help maximize your recovery.
Legal paperwork can be confusing. Never sign what you do not understand. Most lawyers use 50 words to say what can probably be said in 5. Understanding claim forms, medical authorizations and releases can be frustrating. A lawyer can help you understand all the paperwork and likely know how to complete it correctly.
An experienced motorcycle injury lawyer can provide guidance and educate you on what will happen next. Your lawyer should help you understand the process and timeline of events that will likely occur in the future. Understanding what happens next can reduce anxiety about the process and help you prepare for the next step.
There is interplay between insurance policies with nearly every motorcycle injury claim. There is vehicle insurance and health insurance. In other instances, Medicare, Medicaid, or disability insurance may be involved. Knowing how to coordinate payment from the different types of insurance can dramatically impact your recovery. Personal injury lawyers deal with insurance every day and know how to coordinate payment of medical bills to your benefit.
Just as important as making sure your bills are paid is making sure your bills are paid for the least amount possible. Many injury lawyers can negotiate reductions on your medical bills which means a larger recovery for you. A good lawyer will negotiate for reductions which can make your recovery substantially larger.
Having the resources, preparation, and experience to handle a catastrophic motorcycle injury case or death claim is what sets The Kryder Law Group apart. It is important to document evidence immediately. Likewise, it is important to hire the correct experts to prove your case. Evidence such as skid marks, photographs, videos, reconstruction reports, debris patterns and other evidence should be preserved immediately for expert evaluation later. Doing so can make or break a case. It can be the difference between maximum compensation and no compensation at all.
If the motorcycle accident clearly was caused by the other vehicle, the property damage should be paid without any issues. However, sometimes insurance companies will deny or delay a property damage claim. The Kryder Law Group will assist you with your property damage claim for free. We know that fixing your bike is a top priority. We will also make sure the insurance company is aware of any custom features and that a fair value is assessed.
The main priority should be restoring your health. This is why it is a good decision to hire a lawyer immediately after a motorcycle injury. The lawyer can focus on your financial recovery while you focus on your physical recovery. Both matters are critical, but it is difficult to focus on both at the same time. In some instances, if you are trying to do both at the same time one objective may suffer.
Some clients are reluctant to pursue benefits. Don’t be. If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, the law allows you to seek financial reimbursement. Hiring a lawyer and making a claim against all responsible entities is simply exercising your legal rights and you should never feel reluctant to do so.
The value of your claim, or what it is worth can vary. Your attorney should review your case and determine what you are entitled to recover. If applicable, settlements should include lost wages, property damage, medical bills, future medical bills, scarring, disfigurement, loss of consortium, pain and suffering and other damages your attorney can prove are related to the accident. Not all of these items may apply to your case.
There is a very high mortality rate in serious motorcycle accidents. If a loved one has been killed in a motorcycle accident, your motorcycle accident lawyer should evaluate the support the deceased provided to his or her spouse and children. The potential earning capacity of the deceased should also be evaluated. In very serious motorcycle accidents that involve catastrophic injuries your attorney should consult with life planning experts to create a report that outlines a lifetime of medical care. The Kryder Law Group has the resources to coordinate your case with these experts. Litigation attorneys at the Kryder Law Group may also have claims evaluated by economists, medical professionals, and an accident reconstructionist. In some instances, expert testimony is needed to recover all damages allowed by law.
Many claims can be quickly handled. In other instances, it may take longer. The length of time a case takes can depend on the complexity of your injury, how long your medical treatment lasts, the insurance company you are dealing with and many other factors. If a claim is not settled within a few months after a client has concluded medical care, The Kryder Law Group will likely file a lawsuit. Our knowledgeable motorcycle lawyers will discuss whether filing a lawsuit is the best decision for your case. When a lawsuit is filed it can increase the length of time a case takes to resolve. However, if a case cannot be settled, filing a lawsuit is the next step.
No average value exists for an injury claim. The value of your claim is determined by a number of factors that are unique to your case. The motorcycle injury lawyers at the Kryder Law Group can evaluate your claim to determine what you are entitled to. Some factors that influence the value of your case include the amount of insurance, the amount of medical bills, whether you have lost wages, the nature and extent of your injury, whether your injury is permanent and if there are aggravating circumstances such as intoxication or excessive speed.
A fair settlement compensates a person for lost wages, property damage, medical bills, future medical bills, scarring, disfigurement, loss of consortium, pain and suffering and other damages your attorney can prove are related to the accident. Not all of these items may apply to your case. In serious motorcycle accidents that involve catastrophic injuries your attorney should consult with life planning experts to create a report that outlines a lifetime of medical care. The Kryder Law Group has the resources to coordinate your case with these experts. Litigation attorneys at the Kryder Law Group may also have claims evaluated by economists, medical professionals and an accident reconstructionist. In some instances, expert testimony is needed to recover all damages allowed by law.
When you are trying to determine the value of your claim or how much to ask for you should consult an attorney. If you do not know the value of your claim, how can you expect to obtain fair value? This is where having an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. All too often injured people are taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Once a settlement is negotiated the insurance company will send a release of claims which is generally a one or two page document outlining that the claim has been settled for a particular amount. You should never sign anything you do not understand. Having a lawyer review the release can be very important. Often the release places many financial responsibilities on the injured person. After the release is completed a check should be sent.
Never. When a claim is presented to an insurance company an insurance adjuster is assigned to the claim. This adjuster acts as the insurance company’s representative. This person will gather information from you and evaluate the claim. Many times, the adjuster will deny the claim even when there is very little reason to do so. In other instances, they may try to convince you the claim does not have value and offer very little. Other times, the adjuster may act as if they are doing you a favor and offer something modest and try to convince you it is more than they should offer you. By doing so, the adjuster makes it appear they are your friend and doing you a favor. They are not your friend. The adjuster works for the company who wants to pay you as little as possible or nothing at all. Insurance companies make money collecting premiums, not by paying claims. Never accept the first settlement offer and you should strongly consider having a skilled lawyer negotiate for you.
The amount of pain and suffering is not a concrete figure. It depends on the totality of your circumstances and, frankly, the skill of your attorney. The amount you receive for pain and suffering is many times based on the evidence that can be presented and the presentation made by your attorney. Skilled attorneys are more experienced negotiators and maximize the value of your case. Additionally, more serious injuries warrant higher payments for pain and suffering depending on the loss of normal life and permanency of the injury. Having a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with the value of pain and suffering is one more reason to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer at the beginning of your case.
Motorcycle accidents can be particularly gruesome events. Many lead to permanent injuries, scarring from road rash, damaged arms or legs, internal bleeding and even death. Surviving these horrific injuries can leave a person with mental trauma in addition to physical injury. The fear of being in another vehicle accident is a common anxiety many people experience after being involved in a serious motorcycle crash.
A lawsuit can be lengthy depending on the facts of your case. If there is a dispute about how the collision happened or the permanency of the injury, the case could be litigated for several years. It is not uncommon for a lawsuit filed today to take 18-24 months to obtain a trial date. During this time depositions will be taken, doctors will likely provide testimony regarding the injuries and expert witnesses may be necessary. The process is overseen by the judge who is assigned the case. Many cases can be settled without filing a lawsuit. If a fair settlement can be negotiated, this is usually beneficial because it avoids costs associated with litigation and generally is faster than litigating a case. An experienced litigation attorney at the Kryder Law Group can counsel you on which is the better option based on the facts of your case.
This question might be answered best by asking yourself several questions. Law is a highly specialized profession. Experience handling injury cases and, more specifically, motorcycle injuries can make a difference in the outcome of your case.
If you are wondering if you should hire a lawyer, ask yourself these basic questions:
If you answered these questions honestly and you are unsure about any of them, you should hire a lawyer immediately.
As we have discussed, many motorcycle accidents can unfortunately be fatal. This is called a wrongful death claim and certain steps must be taken to present this type of claim. The deceased can’t present their own claim so an estate must be opened, and a representative of the estate must be appointed by the court. Motorcycle accidents can also cause traumatic brain injuries, which leave the victim incapable of making their own decisions. In this type of situation, the court may also appoint a representative to represent the injured victim.
Who acts as the representative of the estate can be determined by Illinois law, or by a consensus of surviving family members. The probate statute in Illinois provides who shall have preference to serve as representative of the estate for purposes of presenting a lawsuit for wrongful death. The probate statute also outlines certain items which would disqualify a person as acting as the representative of the estate.
As described above it is particularly important to know what your insurance coverage is and what is covered. You generally need a separate policy that specifically covers your motorcycle. Having medical payment coverage is typically an additional charge but may prove to be well worth it. Even if you have traditional health insurance you probably have a deductible. Medical payment benefits on your motorcycle policy can be used to cover your deductible and avoid out of pocket expenses. Traditional insurance may also limit your access to specialists or only cover a certain number of visits. For example, some standard health insurance policies limit the number of physical therapy visits that are covered. If this occurs, you could use the medical payment benefits to cover additional care or specialists that your normal insurance may not cover. Most motorcycle accidents tend to cause more serious injuries. It is certainly worth discussing your insurance options with your agent to make sure you have appropriate insurance levels, medical payment benefits, uninsured motorist benefits and under-insured motorist benefits.
We know motorcycle accidents can result in serious injury. You should review your insurance to make sure you are properly insured. Many insurance companies will only sell you the basic insurance to comply with Illinois insurance laws. That may not be enough.
If you ride motorcycles, you probably know of someone who was hurt or even killed in a motorcycle accident. When reviewing your insurance needs, you should consider the type of insurance coverage you should have in the event of a serious motorcycle collision. Ask your insurance agent about medical payment benefits, uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage.
Additional insurance is surprisingly affordable and can ensure you are fully compensated in the event of a motorcycle collision. Consider benefits of $250,000 or more. At this level you may be able to purchase an umbrella policy that offers considerably higher liability limits for a slightly higher insurance premium. Policies vary from insurance carrier to insurance carrier. You can safely assume that the Illinois liability limits of $25,000 are not enough.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, consider hiring a lawyer to help you immediately. Make sure your motorcycle accident lawyer does these 3 things to maximize the value of your accident claim.
Every case starts with investigating, gathering, and preserving evidence. The more evidence your attorney can gather after a motorcycle collision the better your motorcycle injury claim will become.
The first step to consider is the insurance company that covers the vehicle that caused your collision. Your attorney should immediately notify the insurance company that a claim is being presented. Depending on the issues involved, you may also need to include the insurance company or its representative in portions of your investigation.
Investigating insurance coverage is an important first step in the process. For cases that involve catastrophic injury or death, knowing how much insurance coverage is important to know before any settlement negotiations can begin. There can be multiple insurance policies involved. One policy could cover the vehicle that struck you and umbrella or excess insurance coverage could also exist. This could be a very important detail depending on how the collision occurred.
Documenting evidence after a motorcycle accident takes skill and knowledge. To do it properly your lawyer should move swiftly. Critical evidence can disappear with time. As an example, skid marks can fade in a matter of days depending on weather and traffic conditions. A totaled vehicle can be disposed of if a preservation letter is not immediately sent. The key is to locate, gather and preserve evidence for use. The evidence may be used in the claim stage of a case, during litigation or at trial. Preserving the evidence allows you to use it at any of these important stages. Once evidence is lost, it is gone forever. If the evidence is not preserved it can diminish the ability to prove your claim.
Common Ways Experienced Lawyers Gather and Preserve Evidence
Evidence Preservation Letter
An Evidence Preservation Letter is typically sent by an attorney early in the case usually as soon as defendants are identified. The purpose is to notify a person or company that the circumstances of a particular accident are under investigation. The letter places an affirmative duty on the recipient to identify, gather and preserve requested items. This letter can prevent unethical companies from purposefully destroying evidence. If a company fails to preserve evidence, it could later be subject to court sanctions.
Freedom of Information Requests (FOIA)
Nearly all public agencies are subject to freedom of information requests. In the context of a motorcycle accident, a FOIA request could be made for police reports, Department of Transportation records, body camera footage or dashboard footage from responding police officers, reports from a coroner’s office, and other agencies depending on the facts of the collision. Learn how to make a proper FOIA request in Chicago in our step by step guide.
To fully understand why a collision occurred it is useful to document and inspect the vehicles involved and the location. Traffic signals and road signs may have contributed to the collision. Intersection cameras may be present. Often the damage to the vehicles can provide valuable insight into how the collision occurred. Documenting all this evidence with photos is something that should be done as soon as possible.
When investigating a serious motorcycle collision, a subpoena is a useful tool used by attorneys to investigate a collision. Your attorney can issue a subpoena with the court’s approval and the subpoena allows you to dictate how rapidly the requested documents must be produced. This is useful if deadlines exist or if time is of the essence. A subpoena also carries with it enforceability measures. A court can enforce the subpoena with monetary fines or in extreme circumstances detainment. A subpoena acts as a legal magnifying glass and allows your attorney to demand cooperation from parties that do not have an incentive to do so.
Just as important as gathering and preserving evidence is knowing what evidence to ask for, and why. An expert can help you understand the significance of the evidence and interpret the evidence properly.
When investigating a recent Illinois or Chicago motorcycle collision, The Kryder Law Group utilizes the help of various experts. The type of expert needed depends on the issues. However, utilizing experts can greatly enhance the evidence collected and can help maximize the recovery. Experts can be expensive, but their insight can be invaluable to your case.
If you have a serious injury, a lawyer can help you maximize your recovery. An experienced lawyer knows the value of your case and how to make an insurance company pay the maximum compensation for your pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer who has experience handling motorcycle claims can also help you recover lost wages and other compensation you may be entitled to.
Every Illinois motorcycle case is different, but you may be entitled to lost wages, medical bills, future medical bills, disability, loss of a normal life compensation, or money for pain and suffering. The personal injury lawyers at the Kryder Law Group can evaluate your case for free.
Some cases can be resolved quickly after your medical treatment has concluded. If we are hired immediately after a motorcycle accident, it is easier to gather and preserve evidence that may later disappear. In most instances the sooner we can begin work, the sooner we are able to resolve a case. However, in other instances, resolving a motorcycle collision can take longer. If you have been injured in a motorcycle collision that occurred in Chicago, we can help. If you would like to discuss your case, contact the Kryder Law Group for a free consultation of your case. Call us at 312-598-0870 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
The Kryder Law Group will provide a totally free, no obligation evaluation of your claim. Our experienced motorcycle injury lawyers can answer all your questions. We like to understand the goals and expectations of every client before we begin a case. That is why the Kryder Law Group provides a free personal injury consultation to every client.
There is no obligation. There is no cost. There is no reason not to call.