Bicycle Accidents & Injuries
Bicycle traffic in Chicago is on a rapid growth track due to the price of gas, the green movement and more healthful living habits. The types and models of bicycles has ballooned and so has the incidence of bicycle accidents
Unfortunately, hundreds of Americans die and thousands more are injured in bicycle accidents each year. In 2009, 630 bicyclists were killed and 51,000 were injured in collisions with motor vehicles.
There are many similarities in representing clients who are injured in bicycle accidents and clients who are injured in motor vehicle accidents. There are common types of collisions, defenses to refute and juror biases. However there are key differences. For example, some roadway defects that pose hazards to bicycles are of little or no consequence to the motorist.
Potholes, improper trenching, loose debris and poor pavement transitions are some examples. Overgrown foliage or trees can cast a significant shadow on the roadway, obscuring the bicyclist from the view of oncoming traffic and contribute to collision if they impair the bicyclist’s vision.
Counsel should prepare for his/her case by researching these defects to determine if a single or combination of defects were responsible for the hazard. Counsel must establish the parties responsible for the creation of the defect, its length of existence and if there is a history of collisions at the site of the defect. Collision records may be requested from the city or county through a public records act request or through the highway patrol. A civil engineer familiar with roadway design and modification may be needed as an expert witness in cases where roadway design is to blame.
Several potential defendants may exist. Identify who was responsible for maintaining the roadway at issue. It may be a city or county, but private entities such as general contractors, project manager, and premises owners may also be responsible.
Grazian and Volpe has represented many victims of bicycle accidents in and around Chicago and South Chicago. Successful representation necessitates knowing the nuance particular to these types of accidents. In addition, counsel must understand basic bicycle mechanics and the bicycling laws in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred.
These are guidelines for representing the injured bicycle rider. Grazian and Volpe recommends first and foremost that riders wear helmets, have proper reflectors and lights on their bikes, ride defensively and observe bicycle traffic laws.
Remember, it is better to stay safe, but if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicagoland Injury Attorneys for over 30 years.
Now that outdoor weather is upon us, the Chicago and South Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe wish to re-visit the safety of bikers, motorized or pedal driven. We have advocated on the behalf of hundreds of victims of motor vehicle accidents for over 25 years. It is an obvious fact that motorcyclists and bicyclists suffer worse injuries. Perhaps the scariest and most consistent feature of these accidents are the brain injuries and memory loss suffered by the bike rider. Often, the cyclist suffers a loss of memory rendering them unable to recount the reasons and events of the accident.
As Chicago and South Chicago Accident Lawyers, we often have the unsavory task of reconstructing much of the accident through patterns of damage on the helmet, gear or the break and wound pathology of the victim. Hopefully, photos were taken of the motor vehicles and tire skid patterns. Often the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the accident has an advantage in recounting the details of the accident and not surprisingly-in the light most favorable to themselves meaning the very real possibility that a biker does not receive the settlement to which they may be entitled.
ENTER THE GPS! Recent litigation in the area of motorcycle and bicycle accidents have utilized the information provided by GPS systems employed by bikers to re-construct the true course of the accident. While the GPS systems may be utilized by all sides in a motor vehicle/bike accident, the use of these systems is certainly altering the way both car and bike accidents claims are settled. The Chicago Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe know that the advocacy of claims require the collection and analysis of GPS data, whether from motor vehicle driver or the cyclist. This data is crucial in reconstructing the accident as well as jogging the cyclist’s memory and facilitating their ability to piece together the details of the accident. Data recorded may provide the speed, direction, stop pattern, road obstructions and time of impact. It can serve to corroborate, refute or clarify the driver’s account of the accident.
It is an unfortunated fact that motorcyclists and bicyclists suffer the worst in any accident involving a motor vehicle. Obtaining maximum settlement for these victims is often hampered by the memory loss often suffered by them due to their greater propensity to head injury.
As experienced Chicago Accident Attorneys we now recommend that our cyclist clients consider traveling with a GPS system as another safety tool. While helmets, lights and proper safety practices may protect a client, a GPS may assure that they obtain maximum compensation for their injuries.
Please follow Grazian and Volpe the first Tuesday and Thursday of every month on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning where John Grazian discusses issues of public safety and advocacy in a series of engaging formats. These shows are broadcast on You Tube and on our website at myaccidentlaw.com.
Personal injury lawyers and their clients are all too painfully aware that where a bicycle is involved in a serious bicycle accident – the bicyclist is the driver who sustains the worst injuries (see myaccidentlaw.com/blog “bicycle accidents.”) Of course, motorcycle accidents share the same dynamic (same at “motorcycle accidents.”) A recent verdict reported notes the case of a plaintiff bicyclist struck in the pre-dawn hours of January. The young man who was a grocery clerk suffered traumatic brain injury with cognitive brain effect plus a pelvic fracture and aggravation of a hip condition. It was determined that the defendant, who was operating a car, failed to maintain a proper look-out and safe speed resulting in his inability to avoid striking the bicycle. Plaintiff, however, was ticketed for failure to have reflective equipment on his bike and for improper position on the roadway. We have to ponder-a cyclist on a winter’s morning, traveling the wrong side of the road without reflective gear?!?!?! A hard lesson to learn, the hard way.
The Chicago Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe value our avid cyclist clients and endeavor through our blogsite and TV appearances to provide tips on bicylcle safety and regulations. Please follow us on our website and on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning and help us help you stay safe!
We read a story of a Federal Judge involved in bicycle accident and we thought his misfortune might drive home our messages on bicycle and motorcycle safety. Please see our blogs “Cyclists Get a Garmin” and “Don’t Buy Your Helmet at the Flea Market” (myaccidentlaw.com/blog July 28, 2011 and October 3, 2011).
According to the ISBA E-Clips, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Reagan has been ruling from a wheel chair after being involved in a bicycle accident on October 3rd. He landed on his shoulder and then is quoted in E-Clips as stating, “Then my head bounced twice followed by the impact to my left hip”. Reagan was knocked unconscious and credited his bike helmet with sparing him serious brain injury.
Grazian and Volpe loves that a Federal Judge can drive home our messages regarding bicycle safety. We are always sharing any information we can find to help our motor and non- motor cyclist clients avoid serious personal injury when cycling. Judge Reagan still suffered serious fractures his shoulder and clavicle and we can only hazard at the traumatic brain injury he may have suffered without a helmet. This is of especial note because he suffered a collision with another bicycle. Imagine the injury if he had an an impact with a fast moving motor vehicle! Even at lower bicycle speeds, the Judge lost consciousness. We hearken back to our article “Cyclists Get a Garmin”- and wish to remind our readers that the nature of impacts while cycling often lead to loss of memory and brain injury. A GPS system can help a bicycle accident victim reconstruct the accident and help prove liability. Any avid cyclist and motorcycle rider should consider carrying one when on the road.
There are few joys greater than open road riding on a bicycle and motorcycle. Your Chicago Bicycle and Motor Cycle Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe want your experience to be safe and enjoyable. Please follow us on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning and at our blog on myaccidentlaw.com/blog where we strive to keep you safe from injury and apprise you of laws and regulations which help protect you and your family. Remember, stay safe first and foremost, but if you don’t stay safe-stay with Grazian and Volpe, Your Chicagoland Accident Lawyers for over 25 years.
For over 25 years Grazian and Volpe has represented the victims of motorcyle accidents and bicycle accidents. Perhaps the scariest and most consistent feature of these accidents is that the cyclist often suffers a loss of memory rendering them unable to recount the reasons and events of their accident. Unfortunately, the personal injuries suffered by cyclists are often serious and the mental anxieties experienced when a victim has suffered a memory loss often cause the most concern. Many of our clients are concerned that the passed out before the crash – indicating a heart condition – or suffered a brain injury not detected at the hospital (see Grazian and Volpe, myaccidentlaw.com/blog, Brain injuries, Concussion). As accident lawyers, we may be saddled with the unsavory task of reconstructing much of the accident through the patterns of damage on the helmet, gear or the break and wound pathology of the victim. Often the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the accident has an advantage in recounting the details of the accident – and usually in the light most favorable to themselves.
Enter the GPS! Recent litigation in the area of motorcycle accidents and bicycle accidents have utilized the information provided by GPS systems employed by the bikers and cyclists to re-construct the true course of the accident. While the GPS systems may be utilized by all sides of a motor vehicle accident, they are certainly altering the way both car and motorcycle and bicycle claims are settled. We predict a booming industry for a new breed of expert and know that it is now crucial that accident lawyers and insurance companies know how to obtain and analyze the data produced by GPS technology.
In Chicago, Grazian and Volpe has found that this data is crucial in reconstructing the accident as well has jogging the cyclist’s memory and facilitating their ability to piece together the details of the crash. The heart monitors tell us that the cyclist did not suffer a loss of consciousness (leading to the accident) and gives the cyclist piece of mind as to their health of their heart. Additional information taken from the GPS may be the location and direction of the cyclist, the existence of road obstructions, and time of accident.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that motorcyclist and bicyclists suffer the worse end of any motor vehicle crash and have the added insult of often suffering memory loss due to their higher incidence of head injury. We now recommend that all our cyclist clients travel with GPS and go even so far to recommend our motorcyle clients travel with the heart monitor. It is always better to prevent an accident but if you can’t stay safe-stay with your Chicago and South Chicago accident lawyers at Grazian and Volpe! Please follow John Grazian on WCIU, You and Me in the Mornings on the first Tuesday of every month where he fields your personal injury and workers’ injuries questions or feel free to call us directly where consultations are always free and just for your benefit!
Bicycle Injuries: Don’t Buy Your Helmet at the Flea Market. Summer is in full swing and yard sales and flea markets are running at full tilt. Summer is also biking season in Chicago and the bike lanes and lake front are running fast with cyclers out to take advantage of Chicago’s short bicycle season. It’s hard to avoid accidents with all the traffic, pedestrian, auto and other bikers and it is imperative that cyclers wear helmets to prevent serious personal injury caused by a bicycle accident.
Be wary of where you purchase your helmet. A recent article in the New York Times cautions cyclers to avoid taking advantage of sidewalk and flea market bargains on your bicycle safety helmet. “There are somethings things that should simply never be passed on,” said Donald Mays, senior director of product safety at Consumer Reports and bicycle safety helmets are one of these items.
Used bicycle helmets, for children and adults are useless once they have been involved in a bicycle accident or medium to strong impact and because helmets are frequently exposed to the elements including a wearer’s perspiration, they deteriorate over time. Ozone, sunlight and sweat simply degrade the plastic and the helmets ability to prevent personal injury caused by a bicycle accident.
Your Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys at Grazian and Volpe caution all cyclers to take advantage of all the inexpensive new helmet options offering excellent protection. Cyclers should check with the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute for standards and options. The South Chicago Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe have advocated and obtained large settlements for personal injuries suffered during bicycle accidents and even wrongful deaths due to impact. They know it is better to avoid a bicycle accident by employing road sense and following traffic laws. But if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe!
For more safety tips and information on how to advocate for your rights, visit myaccidentlaw.com or find us on YouTube, Facebook and LegalEagle John Grazian on WCUI, You and Me in the Morning on the first Tuesday of every month. John answers questions and offers comments on current legal issues. Remember consultations are always free.
Bicycle Accidents and Injuries: Joliet to appeal $2 million award to bicyclist hit by police car.
Poor Cedric Bacon, 57 was struck by a Joliet police car traveling more than 60 mph at an intersection in South Chicago. Bacon suffered severe trauma and several skull fractures. Bacon now lives with his son in Atlanta had to use a wheelchair for more than a year after the bicycle accident and injuries suffered. The jury awarded the money on July 15 after almost a week of trial and court records indicate that Bacon had almost $700,000 in medical bills. Of course, Bacon is also responsible for legal bills and court costs so the award is not exactly a windfall. However, Assistant City Attorney Greg Smith confirmed the city plans to appeal the verdict which means it will be quite awhile before Bacon sees a penny of his award.
Bicycle Accidents are cause for serious and debilitating personal injury. Bikers should obey all traffic regulations and wear a helmet. However, it’s difficult for the most seasoned cyclists to avoid a speeding patrol car in hot pursuit of a suspect so when you can’t stay safe stay with Grazian and Volpe! Your Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys at Grazian and Volpe want you to avoid all accidents but when you can’t they will advocate for all your interests and assure the best compensation for your personal injury, pain and suffering. Be sure to watch for John Grazian and his answers to legal questions the first Tuesday of every month on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning.