Qualified Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Chicago roadways are home to an array of visually stunning motorcycles, everything from state-of-the-art bikes and high-octane monster cycles to lovingly restored vintage classics.
They are a proud part of the Windy Cindy transportation scene, and they deserve our appreciation and respect.
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are disconcertingly common in Chicago and all across the state of Illinois. Bikers are hurt to no fault of their own every day here, owing in part to the vulnerable nature of their vehicles and the careless disregard displayed by so many other motorists.
The overwhelming majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by cars.
Driver negligence is a real concern for bikers, whose vehicles offer almost no protection from the terrible force of an impact. Motorcycle riders are often injured more gravely because their vehicles do not have the features of four-wheeled vehicles, such as airbags, steel frames, and seat belts. Compare a four-wheeled passenger vehicle (3,000-4,000 pounds) or a semi-truck (up to 80,000 pounds) to a motorcycle (200-300 pounds), and you can see from that perspective as well why motorcyclists are so vulnerable. The bottom line is motorcyclists are 29x more likely to be killed in a crash than people in cars.
Indeed, Chicago motorcycle accidents are known to produce horrible, unthinkable injuries. With just a small impact, a motorcyclist can be thrown clear of their motorcycle. Once ejected, the motorcyclist skids across the road, developing road rash generally, all the while remaining vulnerable to being run over by other vehicles. In many cases, the occupants do not survive. Those who do make it through the ordeal may face a lifetime of suffering, hardship, and impairment.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago
- Chicago Motorcycle Accidents Due To Unsafe Lane Changes: Any local driver will tell you that unsafe lane changes are frequent occurrences on Chicago roads. An ill-advised lane change that would merely inconvenience a motorist, however, can cause a high-speed accident for a motorcyclist.
- Chicago Motorcycle Accidents Due To Opened Car Doors: Few actions are more thoughtless than opening a car door into oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, few actions are more dangerous if you are a motorcyclist. Justice demands compensation if you are injured in this manner — and at Malman Law, justice is our business.
- Chicago Motorcycle Accidents Due To Speeding: The laws of physics dictate that the faster an object is moving, the more serious the accident will be if a collision occurs. The vulnerable position of a motorcyclist, deprived of the frame protection that a motorist enjoys, virtually guarantees a serious injury.
- Chicago Motorcycle Accidents Due To Sudden Stops: A motorist is obligated to keep his vehicle under control at all times. Generally speaking, a motorist who stops suddenly is presumed liable for any accident that results. When the other vehicle is a motorcycle, however, the consequences can be particularly serious.
- Chicago Motorcycle Accidents Due To DUI: A DUI accident often triggers two legal proceedings — a criminal prosecution and a civil claim for damages. Unique legal issues may be raised. Punitive damages may be possible, for example, and under certain circumstances, a third-party alcohol vendor can be joined as a second defendant.
Common Injuries from Chicago Motorcycle Accidents
- Head Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents In Chicago: Even though Illinois is one of the minority of states that do not require motorcyclists to wear helmets, a defendant can still raise the defense of failure to wear a helmet. With a good lawyer, however, this defense will not necessarily succeed. Moreover, a motorcyclist can suffer a head injury even while wearing a helmet.
- Road Rash From Motorcycle Accidents In Chicago: A motorcyclist is far more likely to suffer a “road rash” injury than a motorist is. Since these injuries can be excruciatingly painful, and since permanent scarring can result, the potential value of a “road rash” claim can be quite high. A lot, however, depends on the skill and dedication of your lawyer.
- Spinal Cord Injuries for Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago: Just like when actor Christopher Reeve was thrown from his horse and permanently paralyzed from the neck down, the same type thing can happen when being thrown from a motorcycle. Spinal cord injuries are very expensive to treat, with quadriplegia running over one million dollars for the initial hospitalization and about $185,000 each year thereafter. Other complications associated with spinal cord injuries include spasms, loss of fertility, struggling to breathe, loss of touch sensitivity, inability to control the bladder or bowels, sexual dysfunction, and ongoing tingling and stinging sensations.
- Muscle Damage From Motorcycle Accidents In Chicago: If you suffered muscle damage in a motorcycle accident, you might not realize the full extent of your injuries until some time afterward. Don’t settle for token compensation that barely covers your medical bills — you might be entitled to quite a bit more to cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and disability.
- Biker’s Arm From Motorcycle Accidents In Chicago: A “biker’s arm” injury can occur when you draw up your arms to cushion yourself from the initial impact of a motorcycle accident. Although certain symptoms might not show up immediately after the accident, permanent nerve damage sometimes results. When a biker’s arm injury occurs, you are entitled to considerably more than simple reimbursement for your medical expenses.
- Leg Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents In Chicago: When you ride a motorcycle, your entire body is exposed. No part of your body is more exposed than your legs, and a collision that might have amounted to a fender-bender for a motorist can result in a catastrophic injury for a motorcyclist.
- Amputations from Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago. Limbs are easily lost in motorcycle accidents in which riders are pinned between their bike and another vehicle. Loss of an arm or leg results in something known as “phantom pain,” which is uniquely difficult. Furthermore, prosthetic limbs range from $3,000 to $70,000. Often amputees need to have their living spaces modified and drive specialized vehicles as well.
Safety Tips for Bikers
Did you know that motorcyclists are 29x more likely to die in a crash than people in cars? Here are a few tips to get back home safe when you’re out on a bike ride.
Use Protective Gear
No, helmets are not required by state law, but they do save lives. Since 2002, more than 25,000 bikers have escaped death by wearing motorcycle helmets, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Furthermore, the most commonly impacted area of the head in a motorcycle crash is the chin (about 20%), so not only should DOT-compliant helmets be worn, but full-face helmets are definitely recommended.
Slow down and ensure approaching cars make eye contact or otherwise acknowledge you. Always turn your lights on regardless of the time of day, and wear bright colors–even if it’s just a flag or helmet. Statistics show that 3/4 of motorcycle crashes are caused by other drivers not seeing the motorcyclist. Be seen!
Check the Weather Before a Long Ride
In the Windy City, wind can definitely be a safety factor for motorcycles, along with unexpected rain or snow. Especially for longer rides, check the weather and plan accordingly.
Say No to Speeding
Speeding is the cause of 1/3 of fatal motorcycle crashes, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s easy to speed when driving a motorcycle, no doubt about it, but considering a riders’ vulnerability, speeding is far more deadly on two wheels. Slow down. It will also help other drivers to see you better.