Springfield, our state’s capital, is located in central Illinois and home to about 117,000 people with over 211,000 in the metro area. It is also home to Abraham Lincoln’s presidential library, museum, and former home, making it a popular tourist destination in the state. The median age in Springfield is about 37 years old.
We at Mike Agruss Law are proud to serve the people of Springfield in personal injury cases, including when you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle 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 costs, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services. Contact a Springfield bicycle accident attorney for a free consultation today.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that nearly 60,000 bicyclists per year are injured in accidents involving motor vehicles, and about 900 per year lose their lives. It’s also estimated that nearly 75% of traffic accidents involving bicyclists and passenger vehicles occur near intersections and driveways. If you’ve been injured due to a driver’s negligence, speak with one of our bicycle accident lawyers as soon as possible.
Common types of bike accidents include:
Open-door (motor vehicle) accidents;
and Parallel-path accidents.
Unfortunately, due to bicyclists’ vulnerability – especially relative to cars and trucks – bicycle accidents can result in life changing injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, and even death. No matter the severity of your injuries, you deserve full compensation if your accident was caused by another’s negligence, including all medical expenses and lost wages as well as pain and suffering, and our experienced attorneys are here for you every step of the way.
According to a national survey from 2012 about the attitudes and behaviors of bicyclists and pedestrians, about 13% of bicycle-related injuries are actually caused by road hazards. Bicycles, of course, are especially prone to road hazards due to their thin tires and instability, and their riders have a legal right to roads that are reasonably safe and do not increase the risk of an accident themselves.
Legal claims for bike accident injuries must determine who was responsible for the accident and whether direct negligence was involved. Two primary elements must be shown for an injured bicyclist to be compensated for his/her damages:
- Another person or entity breached a duty of care which was owed to the injured cyclist;
- The breach of care was a direct cause of the cyclist’s damages.
Negligence on behalf of a motorist in a bicycle accident commonly results from distracted driving, intoxicated driving, or driver error.
When a bicycle accident is caused by a road hazard, the responsible entity may be the city, county, state, or a public agency which maintains the particular roadway. Whether this entity is legally responsible for your injuries depends in part on the type of accident you were involved in:
Potholes – Potholes commonly occur for two reasons: surface breaks/wear-and-tear over time; and the cracking or sinking of temporary road fixes. Public entities responsible for temporary road work are usually responsible for providing sufficient warning to motor vehicle drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike – such as blocking off the work area or placing warning cones or signs – and failure to do so may result in legal liability if a bicyclist is then injured in a tragic accident.
Sewer grates – These can be dangerous for bicycles, especially when tires can become stuck in them and project the rider from the bicycle. Although many cities and counties have replaced these sewer grates with safer ones, many hazardous grates still exist in residential and high-traffic areas.
Rail tracks – Rail tracks can be hazardous to cyclists whether they run along a roadway in the direction of traffic or cross the road at an angle or curve. A breached duty of care for rail tracks commonly involves failure to properly maintain these tracks in a way that does not pose unreasonable danger to others, which may fall onto a public entity responsible for these tracks.
Steps to Take After an Accident
If you’ve been in an accident while riding a bicycle due to another person’s negligence, your immediate actions can be crucial for protecting your rights. Here are the common steps to take after a bicycle accident:
- Report it to the authorities – All bicycle accidents should be reported to law enforcement regardless of how serious the accident was. It is also important if you discover later on that you were injured and wish to file a claim against the person who was at-fault. Accident reports contain a great deal of important information, including road conditions, witnesses, diagrams of the scene of the accident, contributing factors, and information about any administered tickets.
- Take notes of the scene – The officer who arrives on-scene may take some notes about the accident and surrounding area, but don’t assume they will record every important detail. Bicycle accident victims should, if possible, obtain the contact information of any witnesses, and use a camera-equipped cell phone to take pictures of any obvious injuries and damage to your bike.
- Delay repairs to your bike – While you may feel tempted to have your bike fixed up and returned to riding condition as soon as possible, it may be better to delay these repairs until you’ve spoken with your attorney, as the insurer may not agree to compensate you for the damage until they have inspected the bike themselves, and an “expert examination” of the bike may also be necessary to provide further evidence of how the accident occurred.
- Keep all paperwork – Keep all relevant documentation and paperwork to provide to your attorney. This includes all documents from your insurer, the at-fault party’s insurer, your doctors, and the police department.
How We Help
If you’ve been injured in an accident while riding a bicycle, you may be unsure of how you will resolve the situation. After you’ve received medical attention, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney will help you in many ways. Your attorney will:
Advise you of your claim’s potential
Not every bicycle accident victim will be eligible for compensation; when an individual is entirely at-fault for his/her own accident, for example, no one else can be held accountable. On the other hand, if your accident was caused at least in part by the negligence of another person or entity, it is likely that you have a solid and viable claim. Your attorney may interview witnesses or conduct certain forms of investigation to find evidence of negligence.
Review your options
Some accident-victims may expect to file an immediate lawsuit, march into court, and be awarded a large chunk of money from the jury, but this is rarely how the process occurs. There are ways to earn your compensation without this type of litigation, and the few cases which do go to trial usually involve very serious injuries. Experienced injury attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company to obtain the best-possible settlement for your losses, which is likely to end in your favor without the need for a jury trial.
If or when these negotiations are ineffective, there are always other options, such as filing a personal injury claim in civil court or “alternative dispute resolutions (ADRs)” including mediation and arbitration. Our Springfield bicycle accident lawyers will advise you regarding these potential options and what will be best for your case.
Investigate the accident and gather evidence
A legal claim will, of course, require evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused your accident and resulting injuries. This may involve multiple investigations, including:
Obtaining video surveillance footage of the accident, if possible;
Reviewing safety records and related documents;
Obtaining medical records and police reports;
Consulting accident-reconstruction experts;
Conducting depositions or other legal discovery methods.
Determine the value of your case
Your bicycle accident claim will also require a specific requested amount of compensation for your injuries and losses, which must be calculated based on past losses incurred as well as estimated future losses, such as lost wages and medical expenses. Injured victims may also seek to recover compensation for “non-economic” losses, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Represent you in court
In the unlikely event that a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, a trial will be necessary and you simply cannot afford to do it alone. Under the attorney client relationship, our Springfield bicycle accident attorneys will fight for you until the very end to earn your full compensation.
Whether you’re a bicyclist or sharing the road with one, it’s important to understand the rules of the road and how vehicles and bicyclists are obligated to safely share the roads with one other to avoid dangerous accidents.
If you ride your bicycle near the roads this summer, here are some tips to stay safe and alert at all times:
- Wear a helmet, especially when riding at high speeds and on off-road trails.
- Get a bicycle that is comfortable and fits your body type – it will make a significant difference and help you to maintain better control.
- Be sure the bike’s important parts and mechanisms are in good shape before long rides, such as the chains, brakes, gears, and tires.
- When riding at night, use a headlight if possible and wear bright reflective clothing to help drivers see you. Many bicycles also have reflectors on the backs of the pedals for this reason.
- Use hand signals when necessary, such as in heavy traffic, to ensure that drivers understand when you are crossing or making a turn.
- Keep an eye out for road hazards and avoid them where possible.
- It’s not recommended to ride while listening to music through headphones or earphones, as it can prevent you from hearing important things in your surroundings, from sirens and vehicles on the road to other pedestrians.
- Dress appropriately depending on the weather and always wear some type of footwear on a bicycle; flip-flops are usually ill-advised due to the lack of foot-protection and their potential to further damage the feet in an accident.
- Making eye-contact with a motor vehicle driver is a good way to ensure your presence is known, and some studies have even correlated it with a reduced risk of an accident between a vehicle and bicyclist.
- Always be on the lookout for everything around you, from vehicles to pedestrians and other bicyclists. Awareness of your surroundings is the number-one way to prevent an accident.
Contact us Today!
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or wrongful death in a bicycle accident in the Springfield area, you need an experienced Springfield personal injury lawyer. Contact Mike Agruss Law for a free 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, Mike Agruss Law 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.