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IL injury lawyerFor many Illinois residents, riding a motorcycle is one of the highlights of summer. Although a motorcycle can be an enjoyable mode of transportation, it is also one of the riskiest ways to travel. Statistics show that just under half of all motorcycle accidents result in serious injury. Motorcyclists are also 29 times more likely to die in an auto accident than drivers in passenger cars. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other life-changing injuries are commonly caused by motorcycle accidents. In many cases, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of serious injury. If you or a loved one were hurt in a motorcycle crash in Illinois, you may have questions about how helmets influence personal injury claims involving motorcyclists.

Illinois Law Regarding Motorcycle Helmets

Illinois is one of a handful of U.S. states that do not have a mandatory motorcycle helmet law. Helmets are strongly encouraged, but a motorcyclist cannot receive a citation for not wearing a helmet. However, the law does require motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear eye protection. Glasses or sunglasses made of shatter-resistant material, goggles, or a transparent shield are all acceptable forms of eye protection. Although not required by law, research shows that helmet use significantly reduces the likelihood of serious injury to the face, head, and neck during a motorcycle accident. If an injured motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet or eye protection at the time of his or her accident, it is very possible that this fact will influence his or her personal injury claim.

Pursuing Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle collisions can cause horrific injuries that result in massive medical expenses. An injured motorcyclist may also be unable to work for months or even years after his or her accident. Fortunately, it may still be possible for an injured motorcyclist to receive compensation for these and other expenses even if he or she was not wearing a helmet or other protective gear at the time of his or her accident. Personal injury claims in Illinois are subject to a legal doctrine called “modified comparative negligence.” If an injured party is found to be less than 51 percent responsible for an injury-causing accident, he or she may still pursue compensation through an injury claim. However, the amount of compensation that he or she is entitled to is reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

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Waukegan wrongful death lawyersIllinois is known for its icy, windy, and often snow-covered winters. When spring finally arrives, many people are eager to get back to the warm-weather activities they love. For motorcycle enthusiasts, little compares to the excitement of the first ride of the season. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle can be a risky mode of transportation. Because the vehicle offers virtually no protection to the rider in the event of an accident, many motorcycle accidents result in catastrophic injuries or death. Just under 5,000 riders lost their lives in fatal motorcycle accidents in 2018 alone. If your loved one passed away in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent party, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

When is a Motorcyclist’s Death Considered a “Wrongful Death?”

There are two criteria in Illinois law regarding wrongful deaths. A death is considered wrongful when:

  • The death was caused by “wrongful act, neglect or default” and
  • If the deceased person would have survived his or her injuries, he or she would have been entitled to bring an action to recover damages

Wrongful deaths are often caused by the negligent actions of another party. A motorcycle accident may be caused by negligent motorist who is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting and driving, driving in a dangerous or reckless manner, or violating traffic laws. It is also possible that fault for the accident lies with a company such as the company that manufactured the motorcycle or constituent motorcycle parts. Because so many different factors can contribute to the severity of a traffic accident, determining fault for a fatal motorcycle accident can be a highly complex process. Therefore, legal guidance from a wrongful death attorney experienced in motorcycle accident cases is essential.  

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Waukegan personal injury attorneysIf you drive on any major road on a regular basis, you have almost certainly encountered motorcycles. Some riders ride alone while others like to travel in groups of two or more. Unfortunately, there are certain riders who insist on riding recklessly, exceeding the speed limit, and weaving in and out of traffic. Such riders may be confident about what they are doing, but the reality is that this reckless driving of a motorcycle can and does lead to serious accidents causing injuries or death.  

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of accidents involving motorcycles has been going up even as those involving all other motor vehicles have been going down. The CDC says the economic burden from motorcycle crash injuries and deaths in one year alone totaled more than $12 billion. Given the rise in the number of people using motorcycles, the CDC has sounded an alarm, calling this increase in motorcycle accidents a major public health concern, besides the associated economic loss.

Vulnerabilities of Motorcycles

The Illinois Division of Traffic Safety says of all motorized vehicles on the road, motorcycles are the most vulnerable because of their small size and weight compared to other motorized vehicles. Their small size also makes them vulnerable to being hit or run over by large trucks who do not see them as they ride in the truck’s blind spot.

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Waukegan Fatal Car Accident Lawyer

Warm, dry weather almost guarantees an influx of motorcycle riders to Lake County roads, creating an increased risk of motorcycle accidents. To avoid being found negligent in a motor vehicle crash involving a motorcycle--and therefore liable for injuries and damages to a motorcycle driver and their passenger--all drivers need to be on the lookout not only for motorcycles themselves but also for conditions that could cause a motorcycle to wipe out.

Conditions Ripe for Motorcycle Crashes

Here are a few things to watch out for when sharing the road with motorcycles or riding one yourself:

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Lake County motorcycle accident lawyer

On April 13, a motorcyclist was fatally injured after being struck by a motor vehicle in the Westlawn area of Chicago’s Southwest side. The motorcyclist was rushed to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn but ultimately died due to multiple injuries. For motorcyclists in the greater Chicago area, the accident was a startling reminder of the increased risks that motorcyclists face. 

Here in the state of Illinois, 154 motorcyclists suffered fatal accident injuries in 2016, while hundreds more were injured or hospitalized. To secure maximum financial compensation after you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, it is critical to seek skilled legal assistance immediately.

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