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What You Need to Understand About Bicycle Accidents

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bicycle accident, Joliet car accident lawyerWith warmer weather upon us, more and more individuals will turn to bicycles as a mode of transportation, exercise, or recreation. While cars and bicycles are supposed to share the road, every year thousands of bicyclists are injured by drivers who fail to follow safety guidelines. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident you need to understand what your rights are.

Who Is at Fault?

Illinois law gives you the right to recover damages when you are injured because of someone else's negligence. Deciding who is at fault for an accident, however, is not always straightforward.

According to the principles of comparative fault in Illinois, if both the driver and the cyclist share blame for the accident, the cyclist may still be able to recover damages, as long as the driver of the car was more at fault than the cyclist. However, those damages will be lowered by the percentage of fault the cyclist shares in the accident.

Other factors may also lead to a reduction in damages paid out by the driver. If the injuries the cyclist sustains are primarily because the cyclist failed to wear a helmet, for example, a court may allow for the damages paid to the injured cyclist to be reduced.

Uninsured Drivers or Hit and Run

Recovering the compensation to which you are legally entitled can also be complicated if the driver who hits you fails to stop, or the driver does not have insurance. While you may have a legal right to sue the uninsured driver, that driver is unlikely to have enough assets to pay your damages. If the driver did not stop, and you do not know who the driver is, you also will be unable to make a claim against him or her.

While it is possible to buy bicycle insurance, few riders have a bicycle insurance policy. But, if an uninsured driver hits you, or the driver fails to stop and exchange information, you may be able to recover under your car insurance's uninsured driver provision.

This would require you to make a claim for damages with your own insurance company. However, just because you pay premiums to your insurance company, it does not mean they are on your side when it comes time to make a claim. You will still need to have a thoroughly prepared case if you want to maximize your recovery.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, because of someone else's negligence, you need to talk with a skilled and experienced Will County personal injury attorney. Schedule your free consultation at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., today.

Sources:

http://insurance.illinois.gov/autoinsurance/comp_Negl.asp

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K2-1116

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