Why Driver Negligence Is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents

Web Admin - Friday, May 17, 2019
Arlington Heights motorcycle accident lawyerAs the weather warms up during the spring, more and more people will begin to travel using motorcycles. Unfortunately, the increased number of motorcycles on Illinois’ roads means that more motorcycle accidents are likely to occur. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and during this time, drivers are encouraged to share the road safely with motorcycles.

Unfortunately, many drivers fail to protect the safety of motorcyclists. Negligence by drivers of cars or trucks can be incredibly dangerous for cyclists, and collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles are likely to lead to serious or fatal injuries. While motorcyclists can take steps to protect their own safety by wearing a helmet and driving as safely as possible, they are often injured through no fault of their own. Some common forms of driver negligence that can result in severe motorcycle accident injuries include:

- Failure to notice motorcycles - Due to the small size of motorcycles, drivers often do not see them, and this can lead them to collide with a motorcycle when changing lanes or making turns. Drivers should always check their mirrors and blind spots and keep a close eye on all vehicles around them, and failure to do so is considered negligence.

- Failure to respect right of way - A significant percentage of motorcycle accidents take place at intersections, and they often occur because drivers do not follow the traffic laws regarding right of way. In some cases, drivers may not realize the speed at which a motorcycle is traveling, or their view of a motorcycle may be obstructed by obstacles or other vehicles. Regardless of the reason, dangerous collisions can occur when a driver illegally pulls out or turns in front of a motorcycle.

- Distracted driving - When a driver takes their eyes off the road, their hands off the steering wheel, or their attention away from driving, they greatly increase the chances of an accident. Some common distractions include using a cell phone to make calls or send texts, adjusting the radio or environmental controls, attending to children in the car, and eating or drinking. These activities can be especially dangerous when driving around motorcycles, since a momentary lapse in attention can cause a driver to be completely unaware of a nearby motorcycle.

- Drunk driving - When a driver is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, their vision, coordination, judgment, and reflexes are all negatively affected. This can cause them to be unable to react in time to avoid colliding with a motorcycle.

Contact a Buffalo Grove Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in a motorcycle collision, it is likely that a negligent driver was at fault. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our Inverness motorcycle accident attorneys can help you pursue compensation from those who were responsible for your injuries, and we will fight to ensure that you receive the financial resources you need. To arrange a free consultation, contact us today by calling 847-934-6000.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Safety Tips to Reduce the Chances of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Web Admin - Monday, June 04, 2018
Rolling Meadows motorcycle accident lawyerAs summer approaches in Illinois, more and more motorcyclists are enjoying the warm weather and spending time on the road. However, the increased number of motorcycles on the road means that motorcycle accidents are more likely. 

Motorcycle drivers and their passengers are much more likely to be injured in a collision than those who are driving or riding in vehicles. In fact, the National Safety Council has reported that while only 3% of registered vehicles in the United States are motorcycles, motorcyclists make up 13% of all traffic fatalities. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that motorcyclist fatalities occur 27 times more often than fatalities in other motor vehicles.

Since motorcyclists do not have the safety features and protections provided by a car or truck, they should take extra care to protect themselves and take precautions to avoid accidents. Here are some safety tips that all cyclists should follow:

- Wear a helmet - Helmets are not required for adult motorcyclists in Illinois, but wearing one is strongly recommended, since it can greatly reduce the chances of head injuries. In fact, cyclists who wear helmets are three times more likely to survive head injuries experienced in a collision. Helmets should be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and they should be securely fastened while riding.

- Use proper eye protection - Goggles can protect cyclists’ eyes while riding, but a full face shield offers more protection from insects, dirt, rain, or other elements that can cause pain and distraction. Goggles or face shields should be shatter-resistant and free of scratches while providing a clear field of vision, and they should be fastened securely so they do not come off while riding.

- Wear proper clothing - Cyclists should wear clothes that fully cover their arms and legs. This provides protection from weather and the moving parts of a motorcycle, and it can also provide protection in a crash. Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing can help ensure that a cyclist will be seen by other drivers on the road.

- Drive defensively - Many motorcycle accidents occur because drivers do not see motorcycles around their vehicles. Cyclists should take extra care to ensure that they do not drive in other cars’ blind spots or follow vehicles too closely, and they should always follow the rules of the road.

- Never drink and drive - Alcohol impairment makes it unsafe for a driver to operate any vehicle, but the loss of coordination and reaction time can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists. Even if a cyclist is not above the legal blood alcohol limit of .08%, it is best to avoid operating a motorcycle after drinking any amount of alcohol or using drugs that can impair one’s driving ability.

Contact a Palatine Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcyclists are much more likely to be injured in a collision than other drivers, and when an accident is caused by a person’s negligence, a cyclist may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can work with you to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact a Schaumburg personal injury lawyer today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Illinois Motorcycle Accidents: Unique Laws Differ from Car Crashes

Web Admin - Thursday, May 08, 2014

illinois motorcycle accident attorneySome of the most dangerous traffic accidents that occur in Illinois involve motorcycles. These crashes can often cause more severe injuries due to the lack of some safety features that are common in cars. In fact, while motorcycle crashes account for only 1.5 percent of total crashes, they are responsible for 16.7 percent of fatal crashes, according to a report released by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Motorcycle accidents are an unusual case of traffic accident. While the law surrounding them is similar to the law surrounding ordinary car crashes, there are technical differences between cars and motorcycles that can make motorcycle accidents unique.

Motorcycle Accident Law

The law surrounding motorcycle accidents is much like the law surrounding other traffic accidents. The most common person from whom the victim attempts to receive compensation is the other driver involved in the accident. However, some cases may also involve lawsuits against the manufacturer of the motorcycle or against the municipality in which the accident occurred.

In a case against another driver, the most common legal theory will be one known as negligence. To prove that the other driver was negligent, the victim will need to show four things:

  • 1. The other driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care not to harm the other driver (this is almost always true of people sharing the road);
  • 2. The other driver acted in some way that breached that duty (speeding, talking on the phone, etc.);
  • 3. That breach caused the accident; and
  • 4. The accident caused harm to the plaintiff.

If a person is pursuing a case against the manufacturer, then their lawyer will be arguing that the product, in this case the motorcycle, was flawed in some way. This could be from issues like substandard manufacturing or poor overall design. Finally, in rare cases, a victim may be able to sue the city in which the accident occurred, if poor upkeep of infrastructure caused the accident.

Unique Concerns for Motorcycles

While the law that applies to motorcycle accidents looks very similar to the law that applies to traffic accidents, there are some unique considerations for bikers. One of the most common issues is that of “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence is a doctrine that tells injuries to reduce the damages that a victim can recover if the victim’s negligence also led to the accident in some way. While this doctrine applies to standard car accidents as well as motorcycles, riding a motorcycle requires extra skill and may involve more danger, so there are more chances to apply the doctrine. Similarly, suing the manufacturer after the motorcycle accident can also present unique challenges because of the differences in engineering and technology for motorcycles as opposed to automobiles.

If you have recently been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer today. Our skilled attorneys handle cases from across the northwest suburbs, including towns like Deer Park, Barrington, and Des Plaines.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

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