Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
While driving a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience for many Chicago residents, it can be very dangerous. Collisions between a motorcycle and a motor vehicle are often catastrophic, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities. Under Illinois law, injured motorcyclists have the right to hold at-fault drivers accountable for their losses—and the attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC can help. Call us today at (312) 586-1700.
Our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers represent victims in their claims against negligent drivers. With decades of experience and millions recovered on behalf of our clients, you can trust our firm to fight aggressively for your maximum possible recovery.
Why Choose Us
- Over our years of experience, our firm has recovered over $400 million in settlements and jury verdicts. Our attorneys will evaluate your case and identify every potential avenue to compensation.
- Our firm prides itself on our dedication to our clients and attention to detail. We will aggressively pursue every angle of your claim to craft a compelling case in your favor and achieve the best possible outcome.
- We are proud to represent people, not corporations or insurance companies. Our lawyers dedicate themselves to obtaining justice for our clients and preventing the same injuries or loss of life from happening to others.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Illinois
Motorcycle accidents can occur for several reasons, from dangerous road conditions like potholes to bad weather and defective vehicle parts. In many cases, however, dangerous driving behaviors are responsible for these collisions. Some of the most common causes of Illinois motorcycle collisions include the following:
- Unsafe lane changes: Drivers have a responsibility to check for oncoming traffic before moving into another lane. Unfortunately, not all drivers perform this diligence and may crash into a motorcyclist who is traveling in that lane.
- Open vehicle doors: Many motorcycle accidents occur when a passenger vehicle is parked. The driver may unexpectedly open his or her door into traffic, causing a motorcyclist to crash into it.
- Left-turn accidents: Drivers must adhere to the right of way while driving near motorcyclists. Sometimes, drivers fail to yield and crash into a motorcyclist while making a left turn, leading to serious injuries and fatalities.
- Driving under the influence: Alcohol and drugs severely impair many of the functions necessary for safe driving, including fine motor skills, judgement, concentration, and reaction time. Drivers who operate their vehicles while under the influence of these substances can collide into motorcyclists—leading to catastrophic injuries.
Legal Options for Motorcyclists
Like most states, Illinois adheres to a fault insurance system. If a driver causes an accident, he or she must pay for the damages of his or her victims—including other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.
To uphold this financial responsibility, Illinois law requires all drivers to hold certain amounts of liability insurance. Additionally, motorcyclists must also carry minimum amounts of liability insurance. These requirements are as follows.
- $25,000 for injury or death to one person per accident
- $50,000 for total injury or death per accident
- $20,000 for property damage per accident
If you suffer injuries in an accident with a negligent driver, you have three options to pursue compensation. You can file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver or under your own policy, if you have the appropriate coverage. You can also file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois civil court.
Most motorcycle accident claims begin and settle in the insurance phase, but some proceed to a lawsuit. Additionally, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit from the beginning of your case. To identify your optimal path to recovery, speak to a lawyer at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC.
The Dangers of Motorcycle Accidents
Driving a motorcycle is a fun and rewarding experience. For many it is not only a passion, but a way of life. Motorcyclists are entitled to all of the same rights and expectations held by the operator of a car when it comes to abiding by the traffic laws. Nonetheless, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to be killed in a collision than a passenger in a car; and motorcyclists are five times more likely to be injured in a collision than the occupant of an automobile.
The disparity in deaths and injuries between motorcycles and cars is based upon the simple fact that motorcycles do not afford riders with the same crash protections that occupants in automobiles have. Furthermore, motorcycles are smaller than cars and may not be as readily seen by inattentive or unsafe automobile drivers. When a motorcycle is struck by a car, it is not as stable and the rider will often lose control resulting in the bike crashing and the rider being ejected. The ejected rider may then strike a fixed object or face other traffic hazards. The lawyers at TPMB understand riders and have a history of representing them and their families in cases involving injuries and wrongful death caused by inattentive and unsafe drivers.
Additionally, motorcyclists often face unfair scrutiny and judgement from insurance companies. An insurance representative may automatically assume that the accident is your fault, using inconsistencies between statements to deny or reduce your award. At Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, we understand the scrutiny that motorcyclists face and advocate aggressively for our clients during each stage of the case. We will guide you through the claim process and defend you against unfair judgement.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The injuries resulting from a motorcycle collision are often serious and life altering. Injuries from motorcycle collisions can result in extensive medical care, surgeries, hospitalizations, and significant medical bills. Riders can be left with permanent physical limitations that can even prevent them from returning to work. The legal team at TPMB advocates on behalf of its motorcycle clients to ensure that their rights are protected.
One of the common types of injuries sustained in a motorcycle collision is a head injury. Illinois law does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet while operating a bike. If you are involved in a collision and not wearing a helmet, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet cannot be used as a basis to lessen your financial recovery. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at TPMB have extensive experience in advocating on behalf of riders for all types of injuries associated with motorcycle collisions. Common motorcycle injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spine or spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Loss of limbs
- Fractured bones
- Degloving injuries
- Road rash
If you were involved in a motorcycle collision, the staff at TPMB is here to assist you. Please call to schedule a free consultation to review your motorcycle rights with one of our motorcycle lawyers.
How to Prove a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Claim
To secure compensation after a motorcycle accident, you will need to prove that the other driver is responsible for the collision. During the insurance process, a representative will conduct an independent investigation to identify the liable party. You may need to provide evidence to the company and engage in negotiations to establish your right to recovery.
During a lawsuit, proving the at-fault driver’s liability is a bit more complex. You and your attorney will need to provide sufficient evidence to support the four elements of negligence: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
- Duty: The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care at the time of the collision. All drivers have a duty to follow the law and operate their vehicles with a reasonable level of care.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care to you in some way. Speeding, running a red light, and failing to yield are examples of a breach of duty.
- Causation: The at-fault driver’s breach of duty directly caused your motorcycle accident.
- Damages: You sustained damages in the accident that you can collect compensation for in your lawsuit.
You can use many pieces of evidence to prove these elements, including medical records, witness testimony, traffic footage, and statements from expert witnesses. Although you may be able to establish the other driver’s liability, your award could be at risk of depletion if the court finds that you share a portion of the fault. Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence standard in these situations.
For example, say that you are in an accident with a driver who makes an unsafe lane change. However, the court discovers that you were lane splitting at the time of the accident, which is illegal in Illinois. The court assigns 30 percent of the liability to you and will reduce your settlement by that amount. If you ask for $10,000, you will only receive $7,000.
If the court finds that you are 50 percent or more responsible for the accident, you will not recover any compensation at all. To protect yourself from accusations of shared liability, it is important to contact a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer who can advocate for your best interests.
Call Our Motorcycle Accident Attorney’s in Chicago for Free Consultation
If you or someone you know needs help, it will cost you nothing to discuss your injury case with an attorney from Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC. Give us a call anytime or contact us via the form below.