About 30 miles southwest of Chicago is Joliet, the fourth-largest city in Illinois with a population nearing 150,000 people. Joliet is known for its cultural and economic diversity and strong Roman Catholic roots, and is also home to Joliet Junior College, the country’s very first public community college. Nearly one-third of the population is between 25 and 44 years of age, while another one-third (approximately) is under 18 years of age, ranking Joliet among the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest.
We at Agruss Law Firm are proud to serve the people of Joliet in personal injury cases, including when you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or wrongful death in a motorcycle accident, and we are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you receive full financial compensation for all injuries and losses resulting from the accident, including medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services. Contact a Joliet motorcycle accident attorney for a free initial consultation today.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Common bodily injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes include:
Motorcyclists can suffer serious skin abrasion, bruising, and tearing when falling off their bikes to the ground at a high speed. To protect against this, riders are advised to wear thick clothing/sleeves, particularly denim or leather. There is a variety of clothing designed specifically to protect motorcyclists’ exposed skin, as well.
Fractured bones may occur in high-speed collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles or fixed objects; finger, hand, and wrist injuries are particularly common when riders fall at high speeds and attempt to break their falls.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Although wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle is always advised, it is not required by law in every state (Illinois does not have helmet laws). Motorcyclists who are not wearing helmets at the time of an accident are far more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, and even death resulting from these serious injuries. Many who sustain TBIs are unable to return to work and may never make full recoveries, while others may have the good fortune to avoid permanent damage and move on with little to no recurring symptoms. Despite a lack of universal helmet laws, wearing a helmet is strongly advised to minimize the risks of fatal injuries if you are ever involved in an accident on the road.
Liability in Motorcycle Accidents
To establish liability in an accident claim, determining fault – the cause of the accident and who was responsible – is essential. While causation is rather clear and uncontested in many cases, some certainly require further analysis and investigation. Some types of valuable evidence include eyewitness testimony, video surveillance footage, cell phone records, vehicle maintenance records, and vehicle computer data, and “discovery” is the name of the process through which this information is gathered. Discovery is closely regulated by rather complex legal rules and guidelines, so it is recommended to allow your personal injury attorney to handle and oversee the process.
If you wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who was responsible, the first thing you will determine with your lawyer is simply whether you have a viable case. Unfortunately, not all accident-victims are eligible to receive compensation based on the circumstances, and you and your attorney must prove some particular points to actually win the lawsuit.
Successful motorcycle accident cases must prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the motorcycle crash and the victim’s resulting injuries. In a personal injury lawsuit, “negligence” specifically means that a person or entity had a duty of care to others (such as when driving on a public road) and failed to fulfill that duty. These make up the three basic points to establish: a duty of care, failure to fulfill that duty, and causing an injury as a result.
The idea of being bankrupted or even incurring legal action against oneself for filing an injury claim against another driver is only a myth, as drivers must legally have insurance to protect against exactly this. In the end, insurance companies usually pay the settlements and damages in motor vehicle accidents rather than the drivers involved. Furthermore, personal injury claims are civil cases, meaning they simply do not result in anyone going to prison. Their purpose is to earn financial restitution for those who have been injured in accidents caused by another party’s negligence, and filing your claim will not result in bankruptcy or incurred legal action.
Negligence in Single-Vehicle Motorcycle Accidents
Here are some circumstances in which an apparently single-vehicle accident may actually have involved another party’s negligence:
Hit-and-run accidents in which the other vehicle leaves the scene;
Poorly-marked construction areas or road hazards, such as bumps or curves;
Striking cracked or buckled pavement, potholes, sinkholes, or road debris such as trash or fallen rocks or branches;
Defective or malfunctioning parts or equipment within the motorcycle.
A responsible entity in a single-vehicle accident who is not the motorcycle rider himself could instead be: other drivers, especially in hit-and-run cases; a construction company or government entity responsible for properly maintaining a roadway or notifying drivers of road hazards; or the company which manufactures the motorcycle, such as in cases of defective design. If you were in a motorcycle accident caused by negligence, our Joliet motorcycle accident lawyers will fight for full compensation for your injuries and losses, including lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
What to Do after a Motorcycle Accident
Seek medical treatment immediately
All too often, motorcyclists walk away from accidents believing they have sustained no injuries, only to wake up in significant pain just a few days later; some doctors attribute this to surges of adrenaline at the time of an accident. If your injuries turn out to be severe, you want your record to show that they were directly caused by the accident and you sought medical attention as soon as possible. Otherwise, the insurance company may claim that your injuries are exaggerated or were caused by something else.
Take pictures for evidence, if possible
They may not be necessary in the end, but phones with built-in cameras make it quite convenient to quickly snap important pictures. These can include where the accident occurred, the damaged vehicles, any obvious injuries, and even witnesses who are willing to speak if necessary.
Contact our Joliet motorcycle accident attorneys
Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here for you every step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Call us today for a free consultation.
How We Help
Motorcycle accident claims can be a complex process, and our attorneys conduct thorough investigations, consult with experts, and gather a wide variety of information and data to ensure that your settlement fully compensates you for your injuries and losses. In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be reached, we will go to trial and fight for your rights until the very end.
Here are some of the steps we take to build your case:
Consulting with accident-reconstruction experts to recreate the accident;
Gathering photographs of the scene of the accident and vehicular damage;
Ordering medical bills and records;
Ordering police reports;
Requesting copies of traffic light sequencing;
Reviewing computerized recordings within vehicles, also known as “black boxes;”
Speaking to insurance carriers on your behalf;
Taking statements from witnesses of the accident.
If your accident resulted from the other driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses, including:
This includes all medical care incurred directly due to the accident (including ongoing/long-term care) such as ambulance trips, assistive medical devices, emergency room treatment, medications, nursing care, and rehabilitative/surgical expenses.
Includes income you would have earned if you had not missed work to recover from the accident, and may also include future lost wages if you cannot return to the same job you held prior to the accident.
Pain and suffering
You may be entitled to compensation for physical and/or psychological pain and suffering which resulted directly from the accident.
If a motorcyclist dies in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, the motorcyclist’s family may file a wrongful death claim on his/her behalf under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act.
Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing for your motorcycle accident case:
Don’t rush to reach a settlement
There will be concern over finances in the aftermath of an accident and some insurance companies may offer a seemingly-impressive amount of money, but it’s important not to take this initial offer. Insurance companies have a strong interest in settling claims as quickly and cheaply as possible, and once an offer is accepted, no more compensation can ever be earned for the same claim. The help of an attorney is essential to ensure that you receive a truly fair settlement.
Be ready for the insurance adjuster
Insurance companies employ persuasive, well-paid adjusters who may seem friendly, but aim to solve your case cheaply and with little regard for your pain and suffering. It may be the first time you’ve worked through a personal injury claim, but these adjusters do what they do for a living. You simply can’t afford to go it alone.
Don’t provide a statement to the adjuster
The insurance adjuster may contact you after the accident and will be looking for any statement, comment, or detail that can be used against you later. In fact, it’s likely that he’s taking notes or even recording the call! You may have heard the phrase, “I’m not saying anything without my lawyer present,” and this is a common reason.
Don’t sign medical authorization forms
The insurance company may also search through your medical records to attempt to attribute your injuries to something other than the accident. Don’t sign any medical forms or allow permission for such analysis without the approval of your attorney.
Keep all documents and paperwork related to the accident
This includes insurance forms, medical bills, police reports, doctors’ notes, and so on. If possible, scan these documents to back them up electronically, as well. If you’re seeking reimbursement for medical expenses, you must have copies of those bills for your attorney and the insurance company. Also, keep track of the number of work-days you’ve missed and the sum of your lost wages.
Your credibility may be ruined by any lies or exaggerations to the insurance company. You need not volunteer any information to the adjuster, but avoid lying for any reason. Even if there is some aspect of your accident or injury that you fear may look bad for your case, don’t conceal any information from your attorneys. They are on your side every step of the way, and they can only succeed if they know every bit of valuable information that you know in order to be fully prepared.
Contact us Today!
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or wrongful death in a motorcycle accident in the Joliet area, you need an experienced Joliet motorcycle accident lawyer. Contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC for a free legal consultation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance company, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Agruss Law Firm, LLC works on a contingency fee basis and is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.