Riding a motorcycle can be thrilling, but it also can be dangerous. Motorcycles are less visible and less stable than four-wheeled vehicles, and driving a motorcycle requires balance, coordination, and judgment. When four-wheeled vehicles and motorcycles crash, the consequences are much more likely to be injurious or fatal to the motorcyclist. This is because motorcyclists have less protection than vehicle passengers in the event of a crash.
Helmet use further complicated the risks that motorcyclists take. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only 71 % of motorcyclists comply with helmet regulations.
All drivers, regardless of vehicle type, must share the roadway and follow the same traffic laws. Vehicle drivers should be especially alert for motorcycles because of their smaller size and vulnerability in a crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, a Joliet motorcycle accident lawyer may be able to help. For more information, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444.
Illinois Rules of the Road
Motorcyclists have the same rights and duties of responsibility as other roadway users. The following traffic rules can help protect motorcyclists and vehicle drivers from a collision:
- Intersections: Motorcycle crashes can happen at intersections, usually when a vehicle makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle. Automobiles should watch for motorcycles while turning and yield the right of way.
- Stoplights: If a red light fails to turn green after 120 seconds, a motorcyclist may proceed through an intersection after yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic.
- Lane sharing: Vehicle drivers should not share the same traffic lane as motorcyclists. Although there may be room in the lane for both vehicles, motorcyclists need the space to safely maneuver. Motorcycle drivers are entitled to the entire lane.
- Passing: Vehicle drivers should maintain their lane position and speed when being passed by a motorcycle.
- Following and stopping distance: Motorcycles have a shorter stopping distance than passenger vehicles. Vehicle drivers should allow four seconds of stopping distance and dim their headlights when following behind a motorcycle.
- Road conditions: Motorcycles may react differently than passenger cars to certain road conditions. Wet or icy roads may make stopping more difficult, and wind gusts or drafts from other vehicles can push a motorcycle across the roadway. Potholes, spills, or road debris may require a motorcyclist to change lanes, and motorcyclists may need to decrease speeds on gravel roads.
Illinois is unique in that it is one of only three states that does not require motorcycle drivers to wear helmets. The other two states with no helmet laws are Iowa and New Hampshire. Though helmets are not mandated, the state does recognize they can save lives.
Motorcyclists must pass a separate driver’s exam to obtain a motorcycle classification (Class M) on their driver’s license. Just like drivers, Illinois’ mandatory insurance law requires all motorcyclists to carry liability insurance.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to seek damages. A Joliet motorcycle accident lawyer can help you negotiate with the other driver’s auto insurance provider or represent you through a civil lawsuit.
You may be awarded a settlement for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to seek compensation on their behalf, as well as damages for your suffering and loss of support.
A lawyer can help you prove your accident was caused by another driver’s negligence. An attorney can help you obtain medical records, official reports from law enforcement, eyewitness testimony, and expert testimony. A lawyer also can ensure you are seeking the various types of awards to which you may be owed.
Even if your accident was partially your fault, you still may be able to seek compensation. Illinois Compiled Statute (735 ILCS 5/2-1116) puts the threshold of fault at 51 percent. This means that as long as you are less than 50 percent at fault, you may qualify for a settlement. For example, if you are awarded a $10,000 settlement, and a court finds the accident is 40 percent your fault, your settlement amount will be adjusted accordingly. You would receive the settlement amount minus 40 percent, or $60,000.
If you believe you may want to file a civil lawsuit, be sure to speak to a lawyer before the statutes of limitations that apply to your case expire. Illinois allows two years from the time of injury or death to sue for personal injury or wrongful death.
For a free legal consultation with a motorcycle accidents lawyer serving Joliet, call (800) 794-0444
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Wants To Help
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm handles motorcycle accidents. We believe that if someone else is responsible for your accident, they should help pay for your recovery.
Let us help you with your case so that you can focus on healing. We provide risk-free consultations, and should you choose to hire our team, you pay nothing out of pocket and nothing upfront. We only get paid if we achieve a settlement in your favor.
To learn more about how a Joliet motorcycle accident lawyer may be able to help you, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444.