Among all vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents are particularly scary. There are no seat belts or air bags to protect a motorcycle rider’s body from injury, and some states, like Illinois, have no helmet law at all.
Without these protections, when a motorcycle driver is involved in an accident, the injuries are often serious and even life-threatening. No matter how slowly a motorcycle is moving, if a rider is hit and his head hits the ground, there is the possibility of permanent damage to the rider’s brain. The same is true if a motorcycle rider is thrown into the air without a seat belt to keep him grounded.
Like all other drivers, motorcycle riders can be injured in any number of ways. With only two wheels to grip the road, bad weather and slippery streets can easily cause a motorcycle to lose traction and crash. In addition, given their size, it is easier for other drivers to lose a motorcycle in their “blind spot” while changing lanes or merging onto a busy highway.
On the flip side, motorcycle riders, like all other drivers on the road, can cause accidents by driving carelessly, driving drunk, or speeding. One dangerous maneuver that some motorcycle riders employ is called “line-splitting,” which occurs when a motorcycle quickly passes between cars that are moving slowly in heavy traffic. In Illinois, this practice is illegal.
When a motorcycle rider is injured in an accident, the same questions that are asked in a regular automobile accident are asked. If another vehicle is involved in the accident, the injured motorcycle rider must prove that the other driver failed to take reasonable care while operating the vehicle and that this failure caused his or her injuries. A failure to take reasonable care on the road is called negligence.
Recovering Damages after an Illinois Motorcycle Accident
In Illinois, an injured driver, including a motorcycle rider, can collect damages in a negligence lawsuit even if the injured driver contributed to the accident, as long as he or she was less than 50% at fault for the accident. However, the amount of the damages will be reduced by the percentage for which a judge or jury finds the motorcyclist to be responsible. This is called modified comparative negligence.
Other injured parties who may be eligible for compensation due to a driver’s negligence include pedestrians, bicycle riders, and passengers in any cars. Even if the passenger is a good friend or relative of the driver, if the driver’s failure to take reasonable care caused the friend’s or loved one’s injuries, he or she may be eligible for compensation, at a minimum, from the driver’s insurance company.
There is one other possible angle a motorcycle rider can consider after an accident. If a part on the motorcycle is defective, or a piece of safety equipment that the driver is wearing fails to protect the driver as it should, the driver or passenger can sue the designer and manufacturer of the motorcycle or piece of safety equipment.
One such case recently occurred in Hawaii, after a motorcycle rider suffered permanent brain damage because of an accident involving another driver. The motorcycle rider sued the other driver and the manufacturer of his helmet, which he alleges failed to protect him in the accident. The suit against the helmet manufacturer is still pending, but the suit against the other driver was settled for $1.3 million, including $1 million from the insurance carrier.
Have You Been Injured While Driving a Motorcycle or Other Motor Vehicle?
Motorcycle accidents are not uncommon, and many people wrongly assume that if a motorcycle is involved in an accident, it is always the motorcycle rider’s fault. This is not the case. Injured motorcycle riders have the same recourse as other drivers injured on the road. If you were injured while riding a motorcycle, or were involved in an accident involving a motorcycle, the lawyers at Moll Law Group can help. Auto accident cases involve an extra layer of complexity that our lawyers are equipped to handle, especially if you believe that defective safety equipment may be to blame for some of your injuries. Our goal is to help you recover compensation for your injuries, including pain and suffering, and to improve the quality of safety equipment designed to prevent significant motor vehicle injuries. For a free consultation, call Moll Law Group at (312) 462-1700.
See More Posts:
Child Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice Claims, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 8, 2015.
Public Schools Enjoy Some Level of Immunity for Injuries to Students, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 16, 2015.
Emergency Room Errors May Amount to Medical Malpractice, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, December 7, 2015.