Riding a bicycle is a fantastic way to get around in Chicago. Even for safest of cyclists, however, biking does not come without risk of injury. Unfortunately, accidents with cars and other vehicles are common in the Chicago area, given the amount of traffic we have and the number of riders sharing the roadway with vehicles. If you were hit by a car while riding your bike, you probably got hurt and most likely, it was serious since a bike doesn’t offer any protection to your body in the same way that riding in a car does.
You are probably wondering if you have a case against the driver who hit you. As with any other personal injury case, in order to successfully bring about a legal claim against the driver, you must prove that the driver did something wrong and acted careless in a way that caused the accident with your bicycle. You must also show that the injuries you suffered were directly caused by the accident. This is what is legally required in a claim against the driver. Whether or not you have a valid claim should be evaluated by an attorney of your choosing and not by the claims adjuster who works for the driver’s insurance company. No matter what the insurance company says to you and regardless of how apologetic and sincere the driver is, the insurance company is not on your side.
Should I speak to the driver’s insurance company after being hit while riding my bike?
You should definitely not speak to the other driver’s insurance company until you are ready to do so on your own terms and after speaking with your own attorney first. The driver’s insurance company will be very impatient and want to settle your claim as soon as possible, in order to either deny the claim or pay you less than what you are entitled to. The claims adjusters are highly trained to get rid of your claim as quickly and as cheaply as possible, which is not going to be in your best favor.
What should I do if I am hit by a car while riding my bicycle?
Cycling accidents can be serious, especially if you have been hit by a car or other vehicle on the street. Even the most cautious of cyclists can be hit and everyone on the roadway has a duty to do their best in avoiding accidents. However, if you or a family member has been hit while riding a bike, here is a basic list of steps that should be taken at the very outset.
- Seek Medical Attention. If you were at all hurt, get medical attention immediately. It is especially important to be checked by a doctor if you were in a bike v. car accident, since these injuries can be serious and sometimes even life-threatening. Waiting can risk not only your health but also your legal case. Emergency room doctors often see the following injuries in bicycle accidents:
- Head trauma and brain injury
- Cuts and bruising
- Broken bones
- Neck pain
- Back problems
- Spinal injuries
- Report the Accident. If the police were not called to the scene of the accident, report the accident to the police as soon as you are well enough to do so. Hopefully the driver stopped to provide assistance to you and also provided their information to the police. If the driver was at fault for the accident, while you may ultimately recover from his or her insurance company, you should also report the accident to your own insurance company even though you were not behind the wheel of a car. Let the police officer know if you feel that you may have been hurt, as this is important information that should be reflected in the police report. Also provide the officer any information that you remember about the accident, if you feel well enough to do so.
- Take Pictures. Take pictures of your bike from all angles, or have someone else take pictures for you. Do not get rid of the bike. If you were wearing a helmet and the helmet was damaged, you should also take pictures of the helmet and do not throw it away (however, you should no longer use the helmet and should buy a new one when you are ready to ride again). Take pictures of your body with special focus to the parts that were injured, such as bruising or cuts. The way that your injuries look may change over time and can be re-photographed at different points in time since memories fade. The pictures will not only help you to remember later on, but will also be an important part of proving your claim.
- Speak to a Chicago area Attorney to learn your Rights. Speaking to a lawyer following an accident while riding your bike is a good idea so that you can learn about what rights you have and discuss who may have been at fault for the accident. Don’t trust the insurance company to be looking out for you because their job is just the opposite. A good attorney will discuss the events of the accident with you and give you an honest assessment of what you may be facing from a legal aspect. It is not just about money but should also be about making sure that you don’t have to worry about all of the bills that will come pouring in from various medical providers. It is also about holding the person who hit you responsible for their actions, even though it was an accident.
What Compensation am I entitled to after a Bike Accident?
Even if you were partly at fault, you may still be entitled to some recovery. Bike accident victims may be entitled to compensation for some or all of the following:
- Medical Bills including X-Rays and tests, ambulance, hospital, and doctor bills
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of a normal life
- Scarring or Disfigurement
- Lost wages from work
- Bicycle replacement
What do I have to prove to recover from the driver that hit me while riding my bike?
As with any Illinois personal injury case, in order to be able to successfully bring a claim against the driver of the car that hit you, you need to show that the other driver did something wrong, even if accidental. Every driver has an obligation to keep others safe, including cyclists sharing the roadway. Sometimes drivers are illegally using a cell phone, speeding or they run a traffic light. Other times they did something wrong just by not paying attention to their surroundings.
Crashes involving a car and a bicycle usually happen in an instant and it can be difficult to understand exactly what happened. Write down everything that you can remember about the accident as soon as you are able to. If there were witnesses, be sure to take their names and phone numbers for future use. They may have seen something that others did not and can be very helpful in helping to determine what happened leading up to your bike accident.
After proving who was at fault, or who was mostly at fault, you need to be able to show that you were physically hurt and that your injuries were caused by the accident. This is why it is important to let your medical provider know everything that you felt after the accident that you didn’t feel before you were hit by the car (or another bike). This should be well documented, as should all of your losses. If you lost time from work, your attorney will help obtain the documentation for this. Save receipts from any prescriptions you were given from the accident. Your attorney will also help you gather medical bills since these will need to be admitted as a part of your claim.
Bike accidents can be very serious and you likely have many questions about the legal aspect. If your accident happened in Illinois, give us a call at 630 250-8813 to set up a time to talk to the attorney in a complimentary strategy session where your questions will be answered. There is no obligation to hire us or do anything, you simply should get informed so that you can decide what your next step will be and protect yourself in the event that you decide to bring legal action. We are located in Itasca Illinois, serving Chicago and the entire Chicagoland area.