Danville Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Were you hurt in an accident while riding a bicycle in Danville? If so, contact a bike accident attorney from Spiros Law, P.C. right away for help. Our team has extensive experience helping those who’ve been hurt due to the negligent actions of motorists, and we’ll be ready to help you get the full and fair compensation you’re owed. All motorists are expected to share the road with cyclists. It’s not simply a courtesy, it’s required of them by law. If a driver was distracted, driving aggressively, speeding, intoxicated, drowsy, or otherwise negligent, they could be held accountable if they cause you harm.
If you were hurt in a bicycle accident, you don’t have to suffer alone. You should contact an experienced Danville bicycle accident attorney immediately in order to get the compensation you deserve. At Spiros Law, P.C., our compassionate lawyers understand the pain you are going through and will do everything in our power to fight against people who endanger our roads.
Why Should I Hire a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
Bicycle accidents can be physically, mentally, and financially devastating. After such an accident, you should be focusing on resting and recovering, not battling insurance companies, or trying to navigate the legal system alone. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will help you shoulder this burden by handling all legal aspects of your case.
After a bicycle accident, you may have significant medical bills and property damage. In general, the insurance company of the at-fault driver should be responsible for covering these expenses. In reality, insurance companies will find any reason to reduce or deny a claim. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will know how to negotiate with insurance companies to maximize the chance that your claim is approved. In some circumstances, however, insurance companies are unwilling to approve claims, and you may want to explore filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Regardless of how you choose to pursue compensation, you should never accept any payments or sign any legal documents without first consulting an attorney. Insurance companies or individual drivers may offer you a one-time settlement in exchange for you dropping your claim or case. Although a settlement may be in your best interest, and indeed many bicycle accident cases do end in settlements, a lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement higher. A lawyer will also advise you if they think you could receive more compensation by taking your case to trial.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents are a serious problem in the U.S. The CDC reports that even though bicycle trips account for only 1% of all trips in the U.S., bikers face a disproportionately higher risk of death when in an accident than motorists. In 2015, there were nearly 467,000 bicycle-related injuries in the U.S., and over 1,000 bicyclists died in accidents. In 2010, CDC data showed that bicycle accident injuries resulted in medical costs and productivity losses of $10 billion.
As distracted driving is becoming an increasingly serious problem, vehicular accidents are all too common. When you are riding your bike, you are far more exposed to injury and serious harm than the driver of a car is. Drivers should be held especially accountable for their actions when they are against a cyclist who was obeying the law. Negligent actions by a driver can include:
- Failure to yield to cyclists when merging at junctions
- Turning into a cyclist at an intersection
- When making turns, motor vehicle drivers tend to focus on checking for other vehicles, rather than bicycles. Since bicycles are smaller and have a much slimmer profile than passenger vehicles, drivers may not notice a bicycle before it is too late.
- Rear-ending a cyclist
- Failing to check for a cyclist when switching lanes
- Turning in front of an oncoming cyclist
- Opening vehicle doors in the path of a cyclist
- This is a very common cause of bicycle accidents. Bike lanes are often on either side of a parallel parking lane, meaning they are either between parked cars and the sidewalk or between parked cars and the street. Vehicle passengers often do not check if there is an oncoming bicycle in the bicycle lane before opening doors, which can cause bikers to either swerve into traffic or crash directly into the open door.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
Drivers need to be held accountable for their dangerous actions. An experienced bicycle accident attorney at Spiros Law, P.C. can help you get the full compensation you deserve for your suffering.
How Much Money Is My Case Worth?
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the unique circumstances of your case, as well as the legal path you choose. In theory, the insurance company of the at-fault driver should pay for all of your medical bills and the cost of bicycle repair/replacement. In reality, insurance companies go to great lengths to avoid payouts. For example, they may argue that you were responsible for the accident or that your injuries were not caused by the accident.
Making an Insurance Claim
After you file an insurance claim, an insurance company representative (called a claims adjuster) will be assigned to investigate your case. They may examine police reports, request medical documentation from you, and interview witnesses. Your attorney will also conduct an independent investigation to ensure that all evidence has been uncovered.
Even if the insurance company approves your claim, you may still have expenses to pay for out-of-pocket. In Illinois, every driver is legally required to have a car insurance policy with at least $25,000 of injury liability insurance. However, it’s entirely possible that your medical bills exceed $25,000. If you have, for example, $70,000 of medical bills, then you would be responsible for paying $45,000.
If you happen to be a vehicle owner, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UMI) could kick in to help pay the rest of your bills. All Illinois drivers are required to have at least $25,000 UMI. If you only have the minimum amount of UMI, you would still be on the hook for $20,000.
Dealing with insurance companies can be an extraordinarily stressful process, especially if you’re juggling both liability and UMI claims at the same time. An experienced bicycle attorney will have the expertise and resources to handle your insurance claim.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
For a number of reasons, making an insurance claim may not sufficiently meet your needs. In this situation, you may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In a personal injury lawsuit, you are eligible to ask for compensation for two kinds of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the actual expenses you incurred as a result of your accident. These are your medical bills, property damage, and any lost wages if your accident-caused injuries have made you unable to work.
Non-economic damages are those for which money is an approximate, rather than a direct substitution. These are pain, suffering, emotional trauma, humiliation, loss of consortium (deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship), and more.
In order to help make the case that you deserve compensation for non-economic damages, we encourage you to keep a journal in which you record the ways in which your injuries prevent you from living life normally. This can be documenting chronic pain, inability to complete tasks, or feelings of anxiety/depression. We may also hire a mental health professional to evaluate you and then testify about your mental health.
Money may not be able to completely heal all of your wounds, but it can reduce financial stress and make you more comfortable while you recover.
In rare cases, you may be eligible to sue for additional punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish the at-fault driver for extraordinarily reckless or dangerous behavior, such as driving while intoxicated. A judge has to specifically permit a jury to consider punitive damages.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your loved one has tragically died in a bike accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These are lawsuits filed by the immediate family of the deceased, usually a parent or child. Family members are eligible for compensation for a variety of damages, including:
- Cost of funeral/burial
- Deceased’s medical bills
- The pain and suffering of the deceased before their death
- Lost wages/future lost income of deceased
- Loss of consortium
Contact a Danville Bicycle Accident Attorney
You have a right to be safe while cycling. If you were hurt due to the negligence of a motorist, you have the right to seek fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our knowledgeable bicycle accident attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Danville offices at (217) 443-4343 to speak with an attorney today.