Every accident is unique and bicycle accidents are no different. However, where bike crashes do stand out is in their potential to vary significantly, both in legal and factual issues. The ability of your attorney to competently identify, evaluate, address, and resolve each and every matter relevant to your case, can greatly impact the amount of financial recovery that a victim ultimately obtains. With nearly 25 years of practice experience, the Chicago attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have identified SIX areas that play a critical role in most bicycle collision claims:(1) Causation; (2) Legal Multiplicity; (3) Insurance; (4) Fault; (5) Evidence; and (6) Valuation, each of which are discussed below. While some areas may interrelated, or dependent on one another, the key inquiry to keep in mind, is, can your attorney do all of the following?
Causation. Bike accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, just a few are: motorist negligence; bicyclist negligence; defective or faulty bicycle components; improper maintenance of private or public property; and more recently, we have even seen accidents along bike trails, caused by the negligence of another pathway user. Pinpointing potential causes of an accident is an essential component to determining potential sources of compensation. If numerous potential causes have identified, there might be more than one source of recovery that needs to be further explored. A competent attorney can identify and assess potential causes, as well as compensation sources, and explain the legal implications associated with each.
Legal Multiplicity. Along with each potential cause and source of compensation, can come a variation in the corresponding laws, rules, procedures, and processes associated with each. For example, an accident involving a bike-component can involve a products liability claim https://www.zneimerlaw.com/illinois-product-liability-attorney.html against a manufacturer or distributer, or a negligence claim against a bike-sharing company, and sometimes even a bicyclist. Likewise, claims against the government due to failure to remedy a known unsafe condition, such as a dangerous roadway condition-or-premises liability claims against a business establishment or private property owner for similar breaches in duty of care. Further, if a fatality occurs, provisions under both Illinois Wrongful Death Act, as well as Probate Law can apply. An attorney with prior experience in a diverse range of legal matters involving injury and death, is best equipped to provide effective legal representation.
Insurance. Seeking compensation from an insurance provider will either involve a claim against your own insurance, or the policy held by another individual or entity. Understanding applicability and entitlement under a particular insurance policy requires an ability to interpret contractual provisions contained within the policy, as well as a full understanding of Illinois Insurance Code. A proficient attorney can evaluate your rights to coverage under a particular policy, as well as discuss potential limitations.
Fault. In bicycle accident cases, the Defendant will often attempt to negate liability by alleging that the Plaintiff contributed to the cause of the accident. The ability to successfully overcome defense tactics employed by opposing counsel can be critical to a victim’s recovery. Illinois adheres to principles of contributory fault, the effect of which can bar recover for damages if a Plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault, and diminish recovery in cases where the fault assigned to the Plaintiff is 50% or less. Due to the impact that assignment of fault can have on a case, it is important to select a bicycle accident attorney that has significant trial experience.
Valuation. While it would be in conflict, with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, for an attorney to provide a client with a definitive answer regarding the outcome of a case, or the precise dollar amount that the claimant will receive, an attorney can speculate as to the potential value of your case. Placing a value on a case requires an assessment of similar cases, as well as the laws of a jurisdiction. In some cases, your attorney may consult with an expert that has specialized knowledge on a particular damage issue. Case valuation is best performed by an attorney that has extensive experience in appraising injury and death cases involving bicycle collisions.
Evidence. Identifying, obtaining, and preserving any and all relevant evidence is a vital component to bike accident cases. Forms of evidence that often play a key role in bike crash claims include: cell phone records; recorded statements from a witness or party; and photographs or video recordings. In some cases, such as where a bicyclist is injured or killed in a trucking collision, evidence can come from log books, gps-monitoring and computerized devices installed in the truck, and other records associated with the truck driver or trucking company, to name a few. While gathering evidence is certainly essential, your attorney must also have the ability to present such evidence in a meaningful way, particularly if the matter goes to trial, which often requires the use of an expert witness.
It is important to know that the discussion contained herein, addresses only some of the issues, areas, and matters, which are common to most bicycle accident cases. Claims for damages, whether involving injury or death, can be highly complex. Having the peace of mind in knowing that your attorney is adequately equipped and thoroughly prepared to conquer any and all potential hurdles, provides the time necessary for victims to recuperate from injuries or grieve over a loss.
If you or a loved one suffered injury or death in an accident that occurred while riding a bicycle, the Chicago law firm of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. want to help in obtaining the financial compensation that you deserve. Contact us at 773-516-4100, or by using the form provided on the side of this page.