Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Waukegan, IL

March 10, 2024
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Waukegan, IL

Sharing the roads safely with others can be an enormous challenge. Even the most cautious motorcyclists can find themselves in a devastating accident in the blink of an eye.

At Lane Brown, LLC, we understand how frightening, frustrating, and disruptive a motorcycle accident can be to your life, especially when you are not at fault. Medical expenses, repairs to your bike, and lost income during your recovery period can create an overwhelming financial burden. However, with the support of an experienced Waukegan motorcycle accident attorney, legal obstacles are manageable.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident in Illinois, our experienced, dedicated, and empathetic attorneys are here for you. We offer complimentary case evaluations, allowing you to explore all your options in your time of need without financial obligations.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics 

Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that motorcyclists constitute approximately 14 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the United States. Due to the exposed nature of a motorcycle, even with the best protective gear, motorcyclists are four times more likely to sustain injuries in accidents.

Within the state of Illinois, motorcycle fatalities have risen by 3.9 percent. Alarmingly, 86.3 percent of these crashes occurred on dry roads, and nearly half were in the middle of the day. These statistics underscore the sobering reality that accidents can happen even in the best conditions.

What to Do After Your Waukegan, Illinois Motorcycle Accident

Chances are you’re here because you have already suffered a motorcycle accident and are unsure of what to do next. Below is an outline of the best practices you can implement following your accident. If you did not follow these steps to a T after your accident, chances are good you still have a case.

Seek Medical Attention

Before anything else, ensure that you undergo a thorough medical evaluation by a healthcare professional. Motorcycle accidents often result in more severe injuries than car accidents because they are more exposed.

If an ambulance is called to the scene, you will be assessed by an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). However, getting checked out by your general practitioner as soon as possible is best. 

File a Police Report of the Accident

In Illinois; you only have a 10-day window to file a police report for an auto or motorcycle accident. If the police don’t arrive on the scene, you don’t necessarily have to call them, but you should not leave without

  • Changing your driver’s license and insurance information.
  • Getting names and contact info from anyone who witnessed the accident.
  • Taking photos.

File a police report as soon as you can. If the damage from the accident was minor, you may choose to do this by calling the non-emergency police line at 3-1-1. If your accident had moderate to severe damages, it might be in your best interest to call the police to the scene or go to the station immediately afterward.

Document the Accident

It is wise to document the details of the accident while they are as fresh in your memory as possible. These details are crucial for your insurance company and any legal representation you may seek later. Factors like weather conditions (was there inclement weather, like rain or snow?) can be pivotal in determining fault when dealing with a negligent or reckless driver.

Be sure to maintain up-to-date notes, especially as you:

  • Incur medical expenses related to the accident
  • Experience loss of wages due to the accident
  • Receive ongoing medical treatment indefinitely and the associated bills, such as physical therapy or medication.
  • Find yourself suffering from depression, anxiety, or physical or emotional pain related to your motorcycle accident.

It is advisable to keep all receipts, invoices, insurance statements, and other relevant bills related to the accident. Even small expenses can quickly accumulate into big ones, so putting them in a spreadsheet with supporting documents is beneficial. A chronologically organized binder will go a long way.

Records to include in this binder could be

  • Explanation of benefits (EOB) from your medical insurance carrier
  • Repair invoices for your motorcycle or vehicle
  • Written communication from your insurance provider
  • Payment records for medications, therapies, imaging, and any other costs you may have incurred directly because of your motorcycle crash.

Common Ccomess of Motorcycle Crashes in Illinois

Records shows that the most common causes of motorcycle crashes in Illinois are

Collisions between motorcycles and cars making left-hand turns. The enormous size difference between a car and a motorcycle can make this especially dangerous.

Distracted, fatigued, or intoxicated driving. Because motorcycles are small and not as common as cars and trucks, they are not as easy to see in the mirror and can inadvertently hide in blind spots. Distracted drivers can miss them. It is common for accidents to occur when the driver attempts to switch lanes.

Weather. Inclement weather, such as rain, snow, sleet, and ice, can lead to slick and dangerous road conditions for everyone and poor visibility.

Road hazards. Construction rubble, potholes, gravel, unexpected bumps, and other road hazards increase the likelihood of a motorcycle crash.

Safety Tips for Sharing the Road with Motorcycles:

Always check your blind spots. Due to their smaller size, motorcycles can be particularly challenging to spot, especially when merging or changing lanes. Unlike larger vehicles, the profile of a motorcycle and its rider may blend into the background in the rear-view and side-view mirrors. 

Be extremely cautious when passing. Passing a motorcycle is legal, but it is crucial to consider the gust of wind your acceleration generates. This gust of wind can destabilize a motorcycle, potentially pushing the rider off the road. Signal your intentions and create a significant difference between you and the motorcycle before changing lanes.

Check the weather before you ride. Weather can impact motorcycle riders more significantly than automobile drivers, especially during adverse conditions like rain, snow, or sleet. Windy conditions can destabilize a motorcycle. Additionally, inclement weather can reduce the visibility of motorcycles even more.

Be extra cautious at night. The darkness reduces the visibility of motorcycles as well. To ensure their safety after dark, increase your following distance, switch off high beams whenever you sense someone approaching, and avoid passing unless it is strictly necessary.

Stay in your lane. Motorcycles have the same rights to occupy their lane as larger vehicles. Under no circumstances are drivers permitted to share the same lane with a motorcycle nearby. Regardless of the size of the motorcycle or the seemingly available space in the extra lane, riding alongside a motorcycle within the same lane can lead to accidents and is against the law.

Remember that intersections are dangerous. Car accidents involving motorcycles, cars, trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians occur at intersections. Unfortunately, many intersections also have limited visibility, further complicating the situation.

It is crucial to adhere to intersection safety procedures each time you approach one: come to a full stop, observe and obey traffic signs and turn signals, check both directions for oncoming traffic, adhere to the right of way, and proceed with motorcycles

Double check your left turns. Double-check for any approaching motorcycles before initiating a left turn across traffic lanes. Accidents where a left-turning car collides with an oncoming motorcycle can have severe consequences, often because the motorcycle strikes the car’s side while it turns left. 

It’s crucial to understand that motorcycle riders are not subject to minor accidents. They are completely exposed. In most cases, riders suffer serious or even fatal injuries. As an automobile driver, it’s your responsibility to exercise caution to help prevent motorcycle accidents.

Common Injuries in Waukegan Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycles are associated with speed, open air, and freedom. Unfortunately, this also makes motorcyclists much more vulnerable on the road, even when wearing protective gear.

Common injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents include but are not limited to

  • Broken bones
  • Whiplash
  • Road rash,
  • Respiratory issues,
  • Internal bleeding,
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries.

These injuries, among others, can have long-lasting repercussions, warranting legal action to receive the compensation you need and deserve for your suffering.

How Can a Waukegan Attorney Assist You?

Unfortunately, the American legal system is not made to be navigable without a degree and many years of experience. That’s where Lane Brown, LLC comes in.

Determining Fault

If you are deemed at fault for an accident, to any degree, it means that you are partially responsible for the accident. In such cases, the injured party can seek compensation by filing a claim with your insurance provider or bringing a lawsuit against you.

Actions that may lead to a motorcyclist or driver being at fault for an accident include:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while exhausted
  • Driving while distracted – for example, by being on your phone or changing the radio.
  • Disregarding traffic laws, like running a red light or exceeding the speed limit.
  • Making a turn into oncoming traffic
  • Changing lanes without checking all blind spots
  • Tailgating

Sometimes, the manufacturers of the involved vehicles may be liable if defective motorcycles or car parts contributed to the crash.

In some instances, the motorcyclist and the motor vehicle driver may share fault for an accident. In such cases, Illinois follows the modified comparative fault theory. This theory stipulates that the damages a plaintiff can recover are reduced proportionately based on the plaintiff’s degree of fault. However, if the plaintiff is found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, they will not be eligible to receive any compensation at all from the defendant.

Avoid Admitting Fault

Even if you suspect you may have played a role in the accident, it is unwise to admit fault. Admitting any level of responsibility for an accident could potentially weaken your claim.

Accidents often result from a combination of factors, which all come into play under Illinois’ comparative negligence laws. If you admit to fault by any degree, it could result in a severe reduction in your compensation.

In the event of a motorcycle accident, you are not obligated to provide statements to anyone, even if you believe you are not at fault. The more statements you provide to the other driver, your insurance company, or law enforcement, the more likely those statements may be used against you.

In interactions with law enforcement, it is advisable to be polite and cooperative and answer questions as concisely as possible. Any driver has the right to inform a police officer that they would prefer not to answer questions without legal representation present.

Understanding the Value of Your Damages

Compensation for motorcycle accidents typically fall into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages pertain to measurable losses resulting from the accident, which can be expressed in monetary terms. These expenses are illustrated by documentation such as receipts, invoices, or bills. In Waukegan motorcycle accident cases, typical economic damages may look like:

  • Medical expenses: any costs associated with medical treatment such as hospital bills, surgeries, medications, and both mental and physical therapy sessions. This can include projected future medical expenses.
  • Vehicle repairs: any costs related to repairing or replacing damaged parts or whole vehicles involved in the motorcycle accident
  • Lost wages: you can seek compensation for income that you have lost due to your inability to work during your recovery
  • Transportation costs: you may be reimbursed for the cost of any ride services or vehicle rentals if your car or motorcycle is out of commission while being repaired.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages encompass intangible losses that are more challenging to quantify in monetary terms. These losses often take into account the effects of physical, emotional, and psychological distress.

  • Pain and suffering: you may be compensated for the physical, emotional, and psychological distress you’ve experienced due to your motorcycle accident.
  • Permanent disability: compensation is available for permanent disabilities such as paralysis, or the need for mobility aids like a wheelchair due to your accident.
  • Permanent disfigurement: you can seek damages for permanent scarring, disfigurement, or loss of limb sustained due to the accident
  • Loss of consortium: the loss of companionship, care, or intimacy resulting from injuries sustained in the accident is known in legal terms as “loss of consortium.” A victim’s partner, minor children, or adult dependent children with disabilities may each file a claim for loss of consortium.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: if you find yourself suffering from a reduced ability to engage in and derive enjoyment from activities that you previously loved as a result of your accident, you may choose to seek damages.

It’s important to recognize that if you have experienced a loss due to your Waukegan, Illinois, motorcycle accident that doesn’t neatly fit into any category. Each case is unique, and the value of your claim is dependent on a wide variety of factors.

Seeking guidance from an attorney is essential for understanding the full extent of your losses and pursuing the best legal recourse. Your attorney can evaluate your case, determine the value of your claim, and advocate on your behalf to secure fair compensation for your losses.

Punitive Damages

If the negligent party’s actions were particularly egregious or reckless, punitive damages may be awarded to punish them and discourage similar behavior in the future. 

To be eligible for punitive damages, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant was personally involved in either:

  • Intentional Misconduct: the defendant knowingly engaged in wrongful actions, fully aware of the high probability of causing harm or damage. Despite this awareness, the defendant proceeded with the conduct, and damage ensued.
  • Gross negligence: the defendant’s behavior demonstrated a level of recklessness or lack of care so extreme that it exhibited a conscious disregard or indifference for other people’s well-being, safety, or rights.

Consult a Waukegan, Illinois Motorcycle Attorney Today

Facing the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate it by yourself. With a legal team from Lane Brown, LLC at your back, you can pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.

Schedule a free case consultation today by calling us at 312-818-2983 or filling out our contact form here. We have your back whenever you’re ready.

Waukegan, Illinois Motorcycle Accident FAQ:

How long must I file a claim?

Illinois’s statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents generally requires two years from the date of the motorcycle accident to file a suit. There are exceptions, but filing a claim as soon as possible is advisable. This way, you avoid getting your case dismissed for missing any deadlines.

Should I contact my insurance company after my motorcycle accident?

Having an attorney handle the communications with insurance companies is in your best interest. Sadly, insurance companies are for-profit entities. This means it is in their best interest not to give you the compensation you deserve. Your insurance agent’s ideal situation is to have you take a lowball offer and never contact them again.

A Waukegan accident attorney can put their experience to good use by handling all communications with any involved insurance companies. They can smoothly avoid pitfalls, such as inadvertent admissions of fault, and take some weight off of your shoulders so you can get the rest you need.

What if something on the road caused my motorcycle accident?

Motorcycles are often victims of road hazards that would barely phase a car or truck. These hazards include potholes, excessively sharp turns, and similar road conditions.

The Waukegan local government is responsible for maintaining road safety standards. If negligence in the road maintenance of Waukegan caused your motorcycle accident, you might have grounds for a lawsuit against the agency responsible.

What if I was the victim of a hit-and-run?

If your motorcycle accident resulted in substantial property damage or injury, the flight of the other driver could be considered a hit and run, which can be classified as a criminal offense.

However, you can still seek compensation for your damages. While finding the driver may present a challenge, you will have a solid claim if you can put together any personal information and track them down. Fleeing the scene is a strong indicator of guilt.

What if I was a passenger at the time of the accident?

If you sustained injuries while being a passenger on a motorcycle, several states, including Illinois, permit you to pursue damages. You may bring a case against multiple parties, including the motorcyclist, another driver involved, and insurance companies.

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

At Lane Brown, LLC, we don’t charge a penny unless we win your case. You can meet one of our attorneys for a free consultation before we get started, and if we win your case, all of our earnings come as a percentage of your settlement.

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