Bicycle Accident Lawyers for Wheaton and Schaumburg Residents
Especially during warmer months, more and more people in Illinois choose to ride their bike as a way to exercise, to commute, and as a way to get around. For many, the fact that biking is a greener and cheaper option than using a car is also appealing. Despite the many benefits of riding a bicycle, the reality is that it can be dangerous. One of the biggest risks facing riders in big cities and urban environments is when a driver opens a car door without looking and ends up hitting a cyclist. If you were hurt in a dooring accident, you should know your rights. Our Wheaton and Schaumburg bicycle accident attorneys can examine the circumstances surrounding your accident and help you pursue the monetary compensation you may be entitled to.
Dooring Accident Statistics
“Dooring” refers to a situation in which a stopped or parked vehicle suddenly opens its door and hits a bicyclist. While dooring is a problem across Illinois and other states, incidents of dooring are not tracked effectively in most places. Statistics for dooring accidents in Chicago, however, reveal the seriousness of the problem. In 2011, the Illinois Department of Transportation began collecting dooring data for the first time. The information reveals that dooring caused one in five bicycle crashes in Chicago in 2011. More than 300 cases of bicyclists crashing into open doors on the roads of Chicago were reported in 2015, an almost 50 percent spike from the prior year. In 2011, there were 336 reported dooring crashes and, in 2012, there were 334 such crashes. In 2013, the number decreased to 270 and further declined to 203 in 2014.
Dooring Incidents and Bicycle Accident Claims in Illinois
Dooring crashes can cause serious injury and, in the most serious cases, death. No matter how vigilant a rider is, when a door swings open in front of a bicyclist, his or her only option is to collide with the door or veer out of the bike lane and into the road, risking being hit by oncoming traffic. This is a situation even the most careful rider cannot prepare for, which is why Illinois law requires every driver of a motor vehicle to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or bicyclist. In fact, it is illegal for motorists to open a door in the path of a bicyclist, and a motorist can be fined for this conduct even if no collision actually took place.
If you have been injured in a dooring accident, you may be able to recover compensation by suing the at-fault party for negligence. In the realm of personal injury, proving negligence requires the accident victim to prove the following four elements: duty, breach, harm and causation. You must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care (i.e., a operate your car safely and with care for cyclists on the road), that the defendant breached the duty of care, that you experienced harm (i.e., bodily injury or property damage), and this harm was a direct result of the defendant’s breach of the duty of care.
In some cases, it is enough for the plaintiff to show that the defendant violated a traffic law and that the violation resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. This legal standard is known as negligence per se. A dedicated injury lawyer can help you determine which theories of liability may apply in your case.
Damages Available in Bicycle Accident Cases
Once liability has been established in a dooring accident, the bicyclist can recover compensation to cover his or her injuries and losses. While every case is different, a plaintiff will typically be entitled to recover things like money for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.
Contact Our Schaumburg and Wheaton Attorneys After a Bicycle Accident
Dooring accidents can lead to serious and debilitating injuries, and even death. If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a dooring accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Therman Law Offices, our highly skilled Wheaton and Schaumburg lawyers understand the nuances of this area of law and can apply our acumen to your case. You should know that we serve clients from Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Elgin, Bartlett, Streamwood, Hanover Park, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Wood Dale, and Roselle. To discuss your case in more detail with a member of our team, please do not hesitate to call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.