In the event of a motorcycle accident, determining who is liable when property damage, injuries, or a loss of life has occurred is a very serious responsibility that can have life-altering consequences. When vehicles and motorcycles collide in Chicago, the operator of the motorcycle is more likely to sustain injuries or experience a fatality.
Motorcycle riders in the Chicago area and beyond are more likely to be erroneously accused of being the at-fault party due to negative assumptions and misconceptions. And while motorcycle riders can certainly be the at-fault party in many circumstances, it takes a professional who is experienced with these kinds of collisions to identify the true factors at play.
So in the event of a motorcycle accident that takes place in Chicago or the other parts of the state of Illinois, how is liability for the accident determined, and what does a settlement typically look like?
Who Caused the Crash?
This may seem like the simplest component of when there is a motorcycle accident, but if you or a loved one has been involved in one, it’s not always so simple. Statistically speaking, vehicles are more likely to be the cause of an accident than a motorcycle rider, for the following reasons:
The driver was not practicing due diligence and was not aware that the motorcyclist was there when the collision occurred. Inattentiveness can be caused by a distraction, by not checking their rear or side mirrors, or not looking twice before pulling out onto a street or roadway. Vehicles have a distinct advantage over motorcycles on the roadways, and therefore they must remain considerate and conscientious.
Failing to share the road
Following too closely, cutting a motorcyclist off, failing to yield or trying to occupy the same lane as a motorcycle are all instances in Illinois and other states that can cause a life-changing accident to occur. Determining what local and state traffic laws may have been violated that contributed to or caused the accident to occur are both very important.
You are partially to blame
The saying goes, “two wrongs don’t make a right,” and when a motor vehicle collides with a motorcycle, the motorcycle rider and their bike usually experiences the lion's share of the damages. This is why even if you as the motorcycle rider are partially to blame for the accident either through inattention or failing to follow the rules of the road, you may be eligible for compensation in the event of a settlement or award.
What Caused the Crash?
Sometimes, no one in the vicinity of the accident is to blame. Whether it’s an equipment failure, design flaw, manufacturer defect or negligence, it will demand someone with experience handling motorcycle accidents to help determine and advocate for you when other parties may be liable. Also there are circumstances such as potholes, inclement weather or other road conditions that can cause accidents to occur, but liability may be able to be determined in these cases as well.
How Might a Motorcycle Case be Settled?
As you can see, there are many many factors and components to be considered when all parties involved in an accident are trying to establish liability and determine who is at fault for a motorcycle accident. So it’s easy to understand why when it comes to motorcycle accident settlements in Chicago, that the answer may not be so clean-cut.
Here are some of the factors that may come into play when it comes to determining a settlement in your case:
- Who was at fault? The driver of the vehicle or rider of motorcycle, or both?
- Other parties or conditions that caused or contributed to the accident
- The severity and type of injuries sustained by either or both parties
- Whether or not the accident resulted in a fatality
- The needs of the victim’s family in the case of a fatality
- Medical care and resulting medical bills
- Future medical care required and assessed potential cost of this care
- Lost time at work
- The amount of type of damage to the motorcycle, the vehicle, and other property
- The insurance coverage type, limits, uninsured motorist, or any other additional insurance
- Pain and suffering
- Attorney fees, court fees, and other fees and costs associated with litigation
With all these factors to consider, going it alone or attempting to advocate for yourself or a loved one in the event of a motorcycle accident can be a brutal struggle that can cost you even more time, money, and hardship in the future.
If you’re in the Chicago area and have experienced a loss, injury or fatality as a result of a collision with a vehicle, we’d like to discuss your case with you.
How Long Does it Take for a Case to Be Settled?
Your lawsuit can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to settle, depending on the factors, individuals, and circumstances at play. In the Chicago area, we have a lot of motorcycle riders and a lot of opportunities to learn from and assess other claims and cases. Generally speaking, your lawsuit will take between six months to a year, but it can take as little as a few weeks and in some situations more than a year.
Due to the nature of these types of lawsuits, it’s a good idea to seek out legal representation early on, before you consider taking on the insurance company or at-fault party alone. However, it may also take some time to get a clear picture and documentation of the long-term impact of your injuries or losses, and your lawyer can help you navigate this timeline with intention, as opposed to following the insurance company’s lead.
What does the motorcycle accident lawsuit process look like?
Insurance companies and at-fault parties are motivated to either deny liability, decline to compensate you, or advocate that the amount you should be compensated for be reduced, sometimes substantially.
This is why it’s so important to have a knowledgeable, experienced, and motivated lawyer on your side during the claim process.
Here are some of the factors and parts of the process when you file a claim.
- Evidence and documentation are gathered, assessed, and compiled, including police reports, photos, witness statements, medical records, repair or insurance appraisals for your motorcycle, a summary of lost wages, doctor’s notes, etc.
- Your claim will be filed, and if you have been able to prove that you have a valid claim, it will move to the next stage of the lawsuit process.
- The insurance company or liable party responds. And this is where things can get tricky, and you will really appreciate the value that a competent lawyer can provide. Insurance companies can drag out their response, come back with a low-ball offer, dispute your claim, your injuries, or the damage to your motorcycle.
- You reach a settlement, or the claim is taken to court. Your lawyer can help you reach an equitable settlement, or advocate and fight for your rights in court if a settlement cannot be made. Generally, if the claim is moved to court the process will take longer, so often a settlement is in the best interests of both parties. If a settlement is reached, you no longer have the option to take the insurance company or liable party to court over the accident.
Experienced Motorcycle Attorneys
Motorcycle accidents can often be more catastrophic and in many ways more nuanced and complicated than automobile accidents. There are misconceptions about motorcycle riders that can have a negative impact on your case, and many other factors that are unique to those who ride, and the injuries and damages they can incur.
It’s important to select a lawyer who understands this landscape and has experience with these types of cases. Finding the right Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer starts with a conversation, schedule your FREE CONSULTATION, and let’s review your case, so you can get back to your life, sooner