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Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, it is highly advised that you discuss your case with a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer at Duncan Law Group.

We practice personal injury law exclusively and can get to work investigating your accident in order to help you obtain the financial compensation to which you are entitled. We are experienced motorcycle accident attorneys with proven results and a track record that includes tens of millions of dollars recovered for our clients. Harmed in a Chicago motorcycle accident? We are on your side! Get started by calling our experienced attorneys today. We offer free consultations.

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How Much is My Motorcycle Claim Worth?

When you work with a Chicago injury lawyer from Duncan Law Group, we can help you recover damages for:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future loss of income
  • Pain and suffering / emotional distress
  • Motorcycle repair or replacement

In order to seek full compensation from the negligent driver, you must be able to prove that they were at fault for causing the accident. Unfortunately, this can be particularly difficult as a motorcyclist.

Many people assume that motorcyclists engage, which is a point that the insurance company may attempt to make when negotiating a settlement. However, that does not mean that you should be bullied into settling your claim for less than what you deserve. Where negligence or wrongdoing has occurred, motorcyclists have a right to pursue justice and maximum compensation.

Establishing Fault in a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Case

Motorcyclists, like pedestrians, have a huge risk of serious personal injury or wrongful death when struck by another vehicle. They may be thrown, hit the pavement or other objects, or become trapped beneath their bike. Broken bones, ruptured discs, dislocations, neck injuries, road scrapes and burns, head trauma, loss of limbs, and damage to the brain or spinal cord may be the result.

Motorcycles can be hard to see and their distances are often miscalculated by other drivers. In some personal injury claims, intentionally hostile drivers can be at fault. With the help of a motorcycle accident attorney in Chicago, you can gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case against the other driver.

In order to do so, we may need to take the following steps on your behalf:

  • Work with an accident reconstructionist
  • Call on witnesses to testify on your behalf
  • Use the police report to establish fault
  • Present pictures of the scene / vehicle damage
  • Submit your medical records as evidence

How Long Do I Have to File an Illinois Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important to act quickly. According to a rule known as the statute of limitations, you have a certain amount of time to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Illinois civil court. If you do not file your claim by the appropriate deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case—preventing you from recovering the compensation that you deserve.

Under Illinois law, you have two years from the date of your accident to file your motorcycle accident lawsuit. If you are filing a claim against a city or county government agency, you have one year to file your lawsuit. If you plan on filing a lawsuit against the state government, the two-year deadline still applies, but you will need to file a formal claim to initiate your case within one year of the accident.

This rule may seem limiting, but the statute of limitations serves several important purposes. On one hand, it protects defendants from a looming threat of litigation. On the other hand, this rule ensures that injured accident victims file their claims when evidence is available and witness testimonies are still reliable.

In certain situations, you may be able to extend the statute of limitations. For example, if you were under the age of 18 or legally disabled at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations will not start until you turn 18 or recover from your disability. If the at-fault party leaves Illinois for a period of time after the accident, the clock will stop during his or her absence and resume once he or she returns to the state.

While there are exceptions to your statute of limitations, they are not always common in motorcycle accident claims. For these reasons, it is important to pursue an accident claim as quickly as possible. If you are unsure of your filing deadline, speak to a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer at Duncan Law Group. Your attorney can evaluate your case, investigate your accident, and take the first steps you need to file your lawsuit and preserve your right to compensation.

What are Common Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcyclists can sustain very serious injuries in a collision with a motor vehicle. This is because motorcycles have significantly less protection than a car or truck; during a collision, the body of the motor vehicle can absorb and reduce some of the impact. Motorcyclists, on the other hand, do not have these benefits and only have equipment such as helmets to protect them.

There are two categories of physical injuries that can occur in a motorcycle accident: catastrophic and non-catastrophic. Catastrophic injuries refer to any personal injury that prevents you from engaging in gainful work, leading to significant hardship and life disruption.

Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries in Illinois motorcycle accidents include the following.

  • Loss of limbs: Motorcycle crashes can result in a severed limb or damage to a limb that is so severe that a doctor must amputate it.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: During a motorcycle accident, an object can penetrate your skull, or you can sustain significant force to the head, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Any damage to your brain can affect mobility and cognitive function.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis, or the loss of movement based on where the injury occurs. Paraplegia leads to the loss of movement in the legs, while tetraplegia impacts movement in the legs, arms, and torso.
  • Severe burn injuries: Motorcycle accident victims can experience road rash. This injury develops due to friction between your skin and the road if you fall off the motorcycle during the collision. Burn injuries vary in severity, and if the road rash is severe enough to burn through your skin and muscle down to the bone, you can experience permanent nerve damage.

Catastrophic injuries can have a significant impact on your life. You will need to seek medical attention immediately and, depending on the extent of the damage, you may need long-term care. You may also require physical therapy, medication, and disability accommodation equipment. These injuries prevent you from returning to work and the activities you once enjoyed, impacting your financial, physical and emotional health. Filing a lawsuit or insurance claim against the driver responsible for your motorcycle injuries with the help of a motorcycle injury lawyer can help you recover from these hardships.

Non-catastrophic Injuries

Non-catastrophic injuries do not impact your ability to find gainful employment. These injuries encompass a wide range of painful conditions that require medical attention, including the following.

  • Broken bones: You can fall from your motorcycle and sustain a broken bone. These injuries are painful and can take months to heal, depending on the severity of the break.
  • Lacerations and abrasions: It is common to suffer cuts, bruises, and scrapes after a motorcycle accident, even if you wear protective equipment. Without prompt treatment, bacteria can enter these wounds and cause infections.
  • Soft tissue injuries: The force from a motorcycle accident can damage your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Also known as soft tissue injuries, these strains and sprains can be difficult to identify and may not appear for a few days after the accident. Soft tissue injuries lead to significant pain and discomfort.

A non-catastrophic injury can still be very severe. Any type of harm can impact your ability to go to work, even temporarily, Non-catastrophic injuries can result in undue pain and suffering, and you will still need to pay for medical bills and expenses, property damage, and other financial losses you incurred due to the accident.

It is crucial to seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident, even if your injuries are not catastrophic or you do not feel hurt. You may have underlying injuries you are not aware of, and any type of injury due to another driver’s negligence can be grounds for an injury claim. Your medical records will become foundational evidence for your case. As soon as you seek treatment for your injuries, contact the Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys at Duncan Law Group to discuss your legal options.

Illinois Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Helmets are a motorcyclist’s main line of defense against severe injuries in an accident. Motorcycle riders who wear helmets have a lower risk of severe injuries and are more likely to survive their Chicago motorcycle accidents than motorcyclists who do not use them. For example, after Florida eliminated its helmet law for motorcyclists aged 21 and older, the motorcycle accident fatality rate increased by over 45%.

Illinois does not require adult motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. While it is your right to choose when or when not to wear a helmet, it is important to remember that Illinois is a fault state when it comes to vehicle accidents. This means that the person responsible for an accident must pay for the damages of the victims.

In many motorcycle accident cases, the court or insurance company will investigate whether or not you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Although Illinois does not have a mandated motorcycle helmet law, the insurance companies may use this information as justification to deny your claim. If you or a loved one are filing a lawsuit, the court may assign some of the liability to you and use Illinois’s comparative fault laws to either decrease or deny your award.

What Are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcyclists face unfair scrutiny and bias when filing an insurance claim against a negligent driver. Insurance adjusters may believe you are automatically at fault for the accident due to negative assumptions about motorcyclists’ driving behaviors.

However, this is far from the truth—there are many negligent motorist behaviors that can contribute to a collision, including the following:

  • Unsafe lane changes: Drivers who do not check to see if a lane is clear before merging can collide into an oncoming motorcyclist.
  • Failure to yield: Right of way rules apply to motorcycles just like drivers. Motorists who run a red light or stop sign, or fail to allow a motorcycle pass when it has the right of way, can collide with the motorcyclist.
  • Driving under the influence: Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is very dangerous, impacting cognitive ability, motor skills, concentration, and judgement. These substances heighten the risk of an accident.
  • Driving while distracted: Texting and driving, talking on the phone or with others in the car, eating, drinking, or even fiddling with the radio takes a driver away from the road. If he or she is not paying attention, the driver can collide with a motorcyclist.
  • Speeding: Drivers must follow the speed limit to allow for proper reaction time and to keep others safe. If a driver is speeding, he or she can collide into an unexpected motorcyclist.

Chicago Motorcycle Accident Statistics

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) compiles data on accidents that occur throughout the state each year. According to the IDOT 2019 Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics report, a total of 2,758 motorcycle accidents occurred in the state during 2019.

Although motorcycle accidents accounted for less than 1% of total crashes in Illinois during 2019, these accidents accounted to 14.6% of fatal Illinois collisions. In fact, 137 of these accidents resulted in fatalities and 2,645 resulted in an injury.

Out of these statewide accidents, 138 motorcyclists died, 2,098 suffered injuries, and 767 experienced incapacitating injuries. IDOT considers incapacitating injuries to be any injury that prevents a person from talking, driving, or performing his or her normal daily tasks.

In addition to state-level data, IDOT records accident statistics at the city and county level. During 2019, 515 motorcycle accidents occurred in Chicago alone. Out of these collisions, 12 people died and 281 people suffered injuries. Out of the people who survived a motorcycle accident, 78 sustained incapacitating injuries.

Contact Our Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today

When you hire a Chicago motorcycle crash lawyer from Duncan Law Group, you can trust that your case is in the right hands. Our law firm has recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of past clients, and we are prepared to do the same for you. Not only has our lead accident attorney in Chicago been named to the Super Lawyers® list for four years running, but he has even been named to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40.

When you call on our Chicago law firm to handle your motorcycle accident claim or wrongful death claim, you will also benefit from a decade of legal experience. Let a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer help you. Get started today by calling (312) 202-3283 and taking advantage of our free case evaluation!