Fatal Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle can be a great source of enjoyment and exercise, but there are also risks associated with it. Bicycle accidents can result in life-altering injuries and, in the most serious cases, even death. If you have lost someone in your family in a fatal bicycle accident, the Wheaton and Schaumburg bicycle accident lawyers at Therman Law Offices can help you move toward the justice and compensation that you deserve. While no legal action or amount of compensation can undo the pain of losing a loved one, it can help deal with the financial losses that are often brought by such an unexpected loss.Pursuing a Claim Following a Fatal Bicycle Accident
The Centers for Disease Control found that over 900 bicyclists were killed in bicycle accidents in 2013. In that same year, there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that there were 818 fatalities and 45,000 injuries caused by bicycle accidents across the U.S. in 2015. When it comes to bicycle fatalities, Illinois ranks fifth in the nation among the states with the highest numbers of bicycle fatalities, and it may be on the rise.
In Illinois, bicycles are considered vehicles just like motor vehicles on the road. As a result, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of cars and trucks. Unfortunately, many bicycle accidents happen because drivers fail to look out for cyclists properly. Fatal bicycle accidents can happen in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Left turn accidents in which left-turning drivers fail to see bicyclists and end up hitting them;
- Open door accidents in which people open their car or truck doors without looking for cyclists, causing a cyclist to crash into the door;
- Unexpected reversal accidents in which drivers back out without checking properly and end up causing an accident with a cyclist;
- Merging and changing lane accidents in which drivers merge or change lanes without checking their rear-view mirrors or blind spots properly; or
- Intersection collisions in which drivers fail to look out for bicyclists properly or are engaging in other dangerous driving behaviors that lead to an accident.
If your loved one has been killed in a bicycle accident that was someone else’s fault, you can take legal action by filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. Under Illinois law, a wrongful death takes place when a person dies due to the wrongful act or neglect of another person. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act allows family members of these deceased victims the right to pursue damages through a civil claim.
In order to prevail on a wrongful death claim in Illinois, you must demonstrate that your loved one’s death was a direct consequence of the defendant’s negligence. Negligence is defined as a failure to exercise ordinary care for the safety of others. Ordinary care is defined as how a reasonably prudent person would act under the same or similar circumstances. For instance, if a motorist caused a fatal bicycle accident by striking and killing your loved one while carelessly changing lanes, that motorist would likely be liable for the bicyclist’s death.
Once a wrongful death is established, a plaintiff can recover a number of damages, including funeral and burial costs, loss of financial support, pain and suffering, loss of inheritance, loss of companionship, medical expenses prior to the death, and any other losses stemming from the death.Discuss Your Next Steps with a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Schaumburg or Wheaton
If you have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, you need to reach out to a skilled wrongful death attorney who can help. At Therman Law Offices, we understand the issues related to fatal bicycle accidents, which will allow us to effectively navigate your case and help you seek the compensation that you deserve. Our attorneys represent people in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, Elgin, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Bensenville, Wood Dale, Bloomingdale, and Roselle, among other cities. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.