Bicyclists in Normal Illinois can ride different trails encompassing many miles of scenery that includes wetlands, forests, historic railroad beds, and creeks. Cycling can be an efficient way to commute to work while also getting the health benefits of exercise. However, when accidents happen, the results can be devastating.
If you or a loved one has been injured while riding a bike, you should contact a Normal bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your rights. A skilled injury attorney could review your case and help you seek financial compensation for your injuries.
Causes of Bicycle Crashes
The negligence of motorists usually causes bicycle accidents. Drivers may fail to see bicyclists and crash into them or clip a cyclist while trying to pass at an unsafe distance. Illinois statutes 625 ILCS 5/11-703 and 625 ILCS 5/11-709.1 allow motorists to pass bicyclists in some no-passing zones and allows bicyclists to ride on the shoulder of roads to enhance safety.
Motorists could also be negligent by opening car doors without checking to see if a biker has approached alongside, and by driving recklessly due to road rage. Drivers and bicyclists may also fail to yield the right of way, not signal turns, run red lights, and drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Who Could Be Liable for a Bike Wreck?
Illinois statutes provide for modified comparative fault or negligence in determining the amount of compensation a someone injured in a bike accident may be awarded. A plaintiff who is more than 50 percent at fault for a bicycle accident cannot recover damages. A claimant who is less than 50 percent responsible could receive reduced compensation determined by their percentage of fault. A bicyclist abiding by all traffic laws may be fully compensated while a bicyclist who runs a stop sign or rides against traffic, contributing to the accident, will not. A Normal attorney may talk to witnesses, recreate the accident, study police reports, and inspect the damage to determine a biker’s liability.
Safety Measures to Help Avoid Fault
Although, in most cases, helmets are not mandatory for bicyclists, the Illinois Secretary of State recommends that all bikers wear an approved safety helmet since brain injuries are the most devastating form of injury when a bicycle and car collide. Other safety equipment that can protect bicyclists from harm include:
- Front and rear light for riding at night, visible for at least 500 feet
- A loud horn or bell
- Properly maintained gears, brakes, handlebars, and seat
- Securely attached accessories
Types of Bike Injury Lawsuits in Normal Bicycle
Most bicycle accidents are attributed to a person’s negligence, but a manufacturer may also be liable. An experienced attorney in Normal could determine who the at-fault party is and file an appropriate injury claim on the injured biker’s behalf.
All parties have a duty to act reasonably while on the road. If a motorist breaches that duty by driving in an unsafe manner that causes injury to a bicyclist, a negligence claim might be appropriate. Government entities also must maintain roads, signage, and lighting. If a bicyclist is injured because of deteriorating infrastructure, a negligence action could be in order.
If an accident occurs because of a defective bicycle, the manufacturer may be liable if the defect rendered the bike dangerous, occurred during its manufacture, and the bicyclist did not alter the bike and operated it as intended.
Learn More About How a Normal Bicycle Accident Attorney Can Help
State and local laws governing personal injury claims are complicated. Dealing with insurance companies that do not want to compensate an injured party can be even more difficult. By scheduling a free consultation with a Normal bicycle accident lawyer, you could learn about your rights and what avenues of recovery may be available to you. Call right away.