Chicago Motorcycle Crash Attorney
Although motorcycle riders are often portrayed as "wild and reckless," the fact is that most motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers. In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), researchers found that the leading cause of motorcycle accidents is the failure of other drivers to notice the presence of motorcycles in traffic.
The most frequent motorcycle accident configuration is when a motorcycle is proceeding straight ahead and another driver turns left directly into the path of the motorcycle. According to the NHTSA report, intersections are the most likely location for motorcycle accidents to happen, when another driver violates the motorcyclist's right-of way while ignoring traffic controls.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle and they are vulnerable to serious injury in a crash. When a motorcycle comes to an abrupt stop in a collision, a rider can be thrown off the bike, colliding with objects in the pathway and ultimately with the ground. Common injuries in motorcycle accidents include:
- Biker's arm
- Brain injuries
- Head injuries
- Lower extremity injuries
- Muscle damage
- Neck injuries
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injuries
Drunk Driving Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists are at risk of being hit by an alcohol-impaired driver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), twenty-eight people in the United States die each day in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. This equates to one death every 53 minutes, and costs the nation in excess of $44 billion dollars annually. Motorcyclists hit by a drunk driver often suffer permanent and disabling injuries.
While the magnitude of the monetary loss to society is difficult to comprehend, the economic loss does not take into account the damage and suffering caused on a personal and familial level for those who've suffered the consequences of being in a motorcycle accident caused by a drunk driver.
A motorcyclist is less visible to the driver of a vehicle than another vehicle is, but even more so for an alcohol-impaired or drunk driver whose vision, mental acuity, judgment, and reaction time are all altered or diminished under the influence of alcohol.
Illinois fatal crash data includes non-occupant fatalities such as motorcyclists. As of May, 2016, IDOT had logged:
- 322 fatal crashes
- 340 fatalities
- A 50 fatality increase over 2015
Amongst those numbers of fatal collisions are cases involving a motorcyclist hit by a drunk driver who didn't survive. Many more are left with serious or permanent injuries, struggling to regain the quality of life enjoyed prior to the crash, or dealing with the challenges of living with impairments.
Motorcycles and Distracted Driving
Distraction.gov, the US government website on distracted driving, notes that all distractions endanger the safety of driver, passenger and others sharing the street, road, or highway. Five seconds is the average time an individual who is texting while driving has his or her attention off the road. Traveling at 55 m.p.h., those five seconds are enough time to travel the length of a football field, almost completely unaware of road conditions – and motorcyclists on the road ahead, in an adjoining lane, or stopped or turning at an intersection. The injuries are often very serious, including:
- Internal injuries
- Severe abrasions
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
A motorcyclist is extremely vulnerable in a motorcycle accident with a distracted driver, and often suffers a secondary impact after hitting the road. A distracted driver may drift in lanes or fail to come to a stop, impacting a motorcyclist. Serious injuries or permanent impairment can leave a victim unable to work, facing great financial hardship, as well as physical and emotional pain. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer from our firm can manage all of the details of your Illinois personal injury case, and help you to pursue the maximum in compensation.
Motorcycle Crashes and Speeding Drivers
NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cites speeding as one of the most common contributing factors in traffic crashes. Motorcycle accidents are included in those speed-related factors. A crash is considered speeding related if an officer of the law indicated:
- The driving was too fast for conditions
- It exceeded the posted speed limit
- Racing was a factor contributing to the crash
In 2012 alone, Illinois had a total of 956 traffic fatalities, 387 of which were related to a driver who was speeding. Motorcyclists can be seriously injured or die if sharing the road with a negligent driver who has chosen to operate a vehicle unsafely, putting others at extreme risk of harm. This is an act of negligence – the basis for a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
A study on speed and accident risk demonstrated a definite relationship: the higher the speed—the greater the risk of a deadly crash.
A speeding driver increases the risk of a collision due to the following:
- Reduced ability to safely steer around curves or objects in the roadway
- Increasing the distance necessary to stop the vehicle
- Increasing the distance travelled during the reaction period
In a potentially dangerous situation, the driver of a speeding vehicle may not be able to react in time to avoid a crash. High speed reduces the chance to respond in a timely manner when it is most important—to avoid hitting a motorcyclist.
A motorcyclist involved in an accident with a speeding driver is at high risk of suffering serious injuries or death. The impact of a speeding vehicle often leads to severe head, spinal cord, or limb injuries, or injuries so severe that the rider is left with permanent disabilities.
FAQs about Motorcycle Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, per vehicle miles traveled, motorcycle riders are 5 times more likely to be injured in a crash than passenger vehicle riders. At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we represent motorcyclists who have been injured in accidents caused by the negligence of others.
Below, we offer answers to some commonly asked questions about motorcycle accidents.
What is the time limit to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident?
In Illinois, the statute of limitations (time limit imposed by law) is usually two years from the date of the accident. However, the sooner you consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, the better to let your lawyer obtain and preserve the evidence to support your injury claim.
Do I need an attorney to settle my motorcycle accident case?
If you have sustained serious injuries in a collision that was someone else's fault, your best course of action is to speak with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Insurance companies are in business to make profits, and simply do not have your best interests at heart. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can make a dramatic difference in the value of your settlement or verdict.
Will I be reimbursed for my lost wages if I am unable to return to work after a motorcycle accident?
Your lost wages will be part of the compensation sought by our firm. If you have been seriously injured and as a result are unable to return to work in your former occupation, you may also be able to include lost earning potential and other financial damages in your demand.
Are motorcycle accidents more likely to be fatal than car accidents?
Yes. NHTSA reports that the occupant fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 23.41 for motorcycles, as compared with 0.90 for passenger cars and 0.73 for light trucks.
Legal Help for Injured Bikers in Chicago
If you have been hurt in a Chicago motorcycle crash caused by another driver, consult with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to claim compensation for all of your damages. The financial compensation sought generally includes the cost of medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses that are the result of the motorcycle accident.
Our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC are experienced trial lawyers, dedicated to aggressively pursuing the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive. We will negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf and fight for your rights in court to help you achieve your goals.