Motorcycle Accidents

Strive to avoid motorcycle accidents this summer

Summer is finally here, but with it comes increased safety risks for many people here in the Chicago area. As the weather becomes nicer, there are more and more residents taking to the streets, or their bicycles or motorcycles. Motor vehicle drivers need to do their best to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians, cyclists and bikers in order to avoid tragic collisions. Of course, those on foot or bikes should also follow traffic laws to protect themselves and prevent serious accidents.

Pedestrians and bikers are, of course, at a great risk of suffering catastrophic injuries when collisions with cars do occur. Many residents have heard that late last week a man died after falling from his motorcycle and being struck by a taxi in the North Side Lakeview area.

CBS Chicago reported that the accident took place at about 3 p.m. Thursday, June 20, in the area of North Lake Shore Drive and West Grace Street.

The cab driver has stated that he did not have time to brake. He was not cited in relation to the fatal accident.

A number of dangerous motorcycle accidents occur in the spring and summer months when drivers neglect to see motorcycles because they are yet not used to sharing the roads. This often happens when drivers pull out onto a street or make a left-hand turn. Such accidents can lead to fatal injuries for motorcyclists, so it is important for drivers to always look both ways when turning or pulling onto a street. Additionally, it is crucial for drivers to avoid distractions – like cellphones – that can keep them from spotting a motorcycle or pedestrian.

When negligence does lead to a motorcycle accident or another type of motor vehicle accident, victims and their families may be wise to talk to a personal injury attorney about their rights and options.

Source: CBS Chicago, “Man Dies After Falling From Motorcycle, Getting Hit By Car In Lakeview,” June 20, 2013
Source: Albany Times Union, “It’s ‘left-turn’ accident season for motorcyclists,” Matthew Hamilton, June 6, 2013

Drinking on the Job Costs Employer $10 Million in Punitive Damages

Drunk driving accidents are always tragic and never really an accident but the result of the total disregard the intoxicated driver has for others who share the road. A recent verdict assessing punitive damages against the employer of a drunken employee is a landmark finding in the war against drunk driving.

Ten million in punitive damages was upheld by a the New Mexico Court of Appeals in favor of the family and estate of a man killed by a drunken driver in 2003.

The Court ruled that there was enough evidence to support the full amount of damages awarded against the parent company of a New Mexico convenience store. A store maintenance worker employed by convenience store, crashed into a motorcycle ridden by the decedent who was stopped at an intersection. Decedent died from the injuries sustained in the crash.

The Court found that the convenience store owner and employees knew the employee drank on the job and had bought alcohol at the store on the day of the accident and that these actions “demonstrated a reckless disregard for the health and safety of others.”

This verdict drives home the responsibility that we all need to exercise in the prevention of drunk driving. If someone you know or see is intoxicated and about to drive an auto, truck, motorcycle or bicycle, please do your best to prevent that person from doing so. The life you save could be your own or that of someone you love.

It is always better to avoid or prevent an accident but if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicagoland’s Injury Lawyers for over 35 years.

In a Motorcycle Accident? Let Your Helmet Call for Help!

After a motorcyle accident or bicycle accident, your helmet can call for help through a sensor which will be available in 2013. When the ICEdot Crash sensor detects an accident, it will send a message complete with GPS coordinates to the user’s emergency contacts via a smartphone application.

The device is expected to cost around $200 and we consider that a pittance compared to the piece of mind it will give those who ride alone.

Grazian and Volpe is always happy to report innovations in roadway safety. Given the propensity of bikers to be knocked unconscious during accidents, we think this new sensor could be a life-saver.

Remember-it is always best to stay safe, but if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicagoland’s Injury Lawyers for over 30 years.

Why Older Riders Suffer More in Motorcycle Accidents

Your Chicago Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe want to help motorcycle riders stay safe and avoid motorcycle accidents. Our previous articles at myaccidentlaw.com (“Older Motorcycle Riders More Likely to Be Injured” and “Aging Road Warriors and Motorcycle Accidents”) described the added risk of serious personal injury faced by the increasing number of older riders. While older riders are more conservative in their biking habits they still are more likely to suffer more serious injuries including serious brain trauma than their younger counterparts.

But why?

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) blame age-related changes such as decreases in bone strngth and brain size, as pivotal in rendering older riders more susceptible to injury.

Impaired vision, delayed reaction time, and altered balance, all of which accompany the natural aging process, could contribute to motor vehicle crashes or mishaps among older motorcyclists. This is consistent with the researchers’ finding that older riders crashed more oftern as a result of loss of control than their younger counterparts.

Broken arms and legs were found to be the most common injuries, occurring in approximately 25 percent to 40 percent of the cases studied. The most common severe injuries were chest and head injuries, and all injuries were found in higher proportions among older riders compared with younger riders.

Grazian and Volpe caution the older riding public to take an extra measure of caution and practice safe riding habits, especially in the religious use of helmets to help protect against severe brain trauma. It is always better to avoid accidents but if you can’t stay safe-stay with Grazian and Volpe, your Chicagoland Accident Lawyers for over 30 years.

Aging Road Warriors and Motorcycle Accident Injuries

The Chicago and South Chicago accident lawyers at Grazian and Volpe have devoted many articles over the years to clients injured in motorcycle accidents and the challenges and nuances in litigating their claims. Last Thursday we addressed the growing number of riders 50 years-old and older and the increased incidence of serious motorcycle injuries in this age group. (myaccidentlaw.com, August 30, 2012 “Older Motorcycle Riders More Likely to Be Injured”).

According to the Motorcylce Industry Council, the average age of motorcycle ownership rose from 33 to 40 between the 1998 and 2003 and the average age continues to increase. Unfortunately for older riders a University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) study has found that riders over 40, personal injury severity, length of stay in the hospital or intensive care unit, and mortality were all higher compared with younger riders. Depending on the severity of the original injury, the risk of dying was also one-and-a-half to two times more likely in those over 40.

The older motorcyclists were also more likely to die from less severe personal injuries than younger riders, to spend at least 2 hours in the intensive care unit, and to have more pre-existing conditions and complications, such as heart attack or infection, that contribute to extended hospital stays.

The motor vehicle accident lawyers at Grazian and Volpe have advocated on behalf of riders for over 30 years. We hope that our series of articles at myaccidentlaw.com can help our clients and the general public to avoid motor vehicle accidents and serious personal injury. It is always better to stay safe – but if you can’t stay safe- stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicago and South Chicago’s Accident Lawyers for over 30 years.

Older Motorcycle Riders More Likely to Be Injured

The Chicago accident lawyers at Grazian and Volpe are strong advocates for motorcycle riders injured in motor vehicle accidents. We have written extensively on the challenges facing injured riders when litigating their. The most difficult challenge is dispelling the public perception of riders as risk takers and presumptively the cause of any motor vehicle accident in which they are involved.

Attorneys advocating for injured riders need to be aware that the largest growing segment of the motorcycle riding community is the +50 crowd who are seeking a cost effective way of seeing the country and enjoying retirement.

However, older riders themselves need to be aware that they are more likely to be injured or die as a result of a motorcycle accident compared with their younger counterparts. Findings in a recent study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) utilized data form the National Trauma Databank and reviewed the records of 61,689 motorcyclists aged 17 to 89 years who had been involved in a motorcycle crash.

The findings reveal the average age of motorcyclists involved in crashes increased by approximately 5 years, from 34 to 39. In addition, the proportion of injured riders above the age of 40 jumped from about 28 percent to close to 50 percent in the same time period. In fact crashes and injuries among the 50- to 59- year-olds showed the most rapid increase, while injuries in the 20- to 29-year-olds showed the most rapid decline.

The injury lawyers at Grazian and Volpe wish to inform their riding clients and the public in general as to the reasons for this accidents and methods wherein personal injury may be avoided. This blog will be dedicated to this subject matter of the course of the next two weeks. Please visit myaccidentlaw.com, subject matter motorcycle accidents to learn more on how you can stay safe and enjoy your time on the road.

“Operation Rogue Rider” Targets Motorcyclists

The accident lawyers at Grazian and Volpe have advocated for over 25 on behalf of motorcyclists and the victims of crashes due to dangerous riders. It is important that the public discern between the two classes. We have written extensively about the difficulties in representing motorcyclists due to the public’s perception of riders as a riskier and reckless set of motor vehicle operators. We have also been careful to advise on litigation techniques for dispelling this perception. Most importantly, juries and the public need be made aware that the vast number of riders are middle-aged pre-retirement and post-retirement men and women enjoying a cheaper and more enjoyable form of touring the country.

Today’s article in the Chicago Tribune detailed an announcement by state and local police of the implementation of “Operation Rogue Rider” which targets motorcyclists who ride dangerously on the Edens Expressway through Skokie and Lincolnwood.

Officials state that they are called nightly to respond to reports of rogue riders who speed, race, ride on shoulders or improperly change lanes. The Illinois State Police will be assisted by local police during this summer long operation, using roving saturation patrols mostly during the evening and late nights.

The article reports an 85 percent increase in fatalities and a 75 percent increase in personal injuries in the first 6 month of 2012 due to motorcycle-related crashes. This amounts to 13 fatalities and 7 personal injuries during the six month period from January through June.

Chicagoland’s Injury Attorneys at Grazian and Volpe applaud and and all efforts to keep our highways and roadways safer. However, the public needs to be reminded that distracted driving involving texting, calling or eating represents the largest threat to safety on our roads. Please remember, that most motorcyclists practice safe and conservate driving methods and should not be prejudiced by the few riders who do not.

Please refer to our articles on this website discussing “Distracted Driving” and “Motorcycle Accidents” and watch John Grazian on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning on the third Tuesday of each month where he discusses current legal and injury issues with members of the viewing public. If you miss a program, they are published on the myaccidentlaw.com and WCUI websites.

How to Make Sure Your Biker Client Gets a Fair Shake

The Chicago Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe have advocated on the behalf of the victims of motorcycle accidents for over 25 years. The challenge for any personal injury attorney practicing in this area is to deal with the misperceptions the non-riding public has of motorcycle riders.

Court surveys indicate that the jury verdicts in favor of the victims of motorcycle accidents come in 25% lower than those of a similar accident involving the drivers of motor vehicles. While many may argue the percentages, the bottom line is that juries treat those who ride motorcycles differently and motorcycle riders need to be cognizant of this when interviewing accident lawyers to handle their claims. Lawyers practicing in the area of motorcycle accidents need to be aware of and prepared to handle the inherent bias against riders.

Jury focus groups assembled to review motorcycle accidents reveal that the non-riding public perceives riders as motorists who range from risk takers to just plain reckless. While clearly not a true perception of the riding public, a personal injury attorney representing a rider must be prepared to dispel these perceptions.

It is important to differentiate the client from these perceptions and to identify him as a “regular Joe or Josephine.” Evidence of the client’s education, family, employment, worship habits and community involvement must be acquired and developed as a priority to counter the defense’s anticipated exploitation of the general negative public perception.

As Chicago and South Chicago Motor Vehicle Accident lawyers of over 25 years, we are continually surprised of the insistence of these negative perceptions in light of the growing number of people 50 and over who begin riding as a cost effective way of enjoying free time through economical travel.

Insurance companies are aware of the challenges faced by the defenders of these claims and often refuse just settlement based on a riders chances at trial.

We recently reached a large settlement with a not-so-good insurance company that refused to deal until we were able to establish that our client was a nurse, with two children in college and a long standing commitment to charity and community service.

As we wrote in our blog at myaccidentlaw.com on March 28th, a GPS system can be crucial where a client has suffered memory loss and/or a driver is insisting that the rider is at fault.  This coupled with positive evidence of responsible character may be the key factors in assuring that your client is not one of the riders who does not receive the settlement they deserve.

A GPS Can Help Even the Accident Odds Between Biker and Driver

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.

More Interesting Statistics on Trucks, Truck Drivers and Truck Accidents

The Chicago and South Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe are on a never-ending quest to promote highway safety and awareness. Accidents involving commercial vehicles can be tragic and often fatal. We hope the second in a series blog will help entertain and educate about the facts and hazards of sharing the road with commercial vehicles.

Of the 41,000 to 45,000 traffic deaths each year – 9% involve commercial vehicles. Remember this statistic is for deaths only – truck accidents involving serious personal injury are not included;

  • There are nearly 500,000 truck accidents each year
  • More than 4% of truck accident fatalities involve truck driver fatigue
  • Nearly 5000 people are killed each year in a truck accident. Nearly 98% of the time, the drivers of the other vehicle are killed.
  • 68% of truck accidents occur in rural accidents and 68% during the day time. 78% occur on the weekends.
  • Someone is killed in a truck accident every 16 minutes!

The Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe hope that all drivers remain rested, cautious and aware at all times. It is not just you but those with whom you share our roads and highways. Remember-it is always better to stay safe but if you can’t-stay with Grazian and Volpe, your Chicago Accident Lawyers for over 25 years!

A person is injured or killed in a truck accident every 16 minutes!