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Chicago Bike Accident Attorneys

Riding a bike is one of life’s pleasures, particularly in a city like Chicago. But enjoying an exhilarating ride for pleasure or exercise can end abruptly a negligent motorist hits you.

If you’ve been seriously injured in a bike-car accident, or if it’s happened to someone you love, you know how serious and potentially life altering the situation can be. Injuries can be severe, not to mention the potential for lost wages and other expenses. If you’ve experienced an accident, it’s imperative that you contact an attorney immediately.

The Lamber Goodnow injury law team is experienced in handling bicycle cases. We can seek to prove liability and negligence, research and investigate the accident, and help you recover money for your injuries. Through our process, our team, including the Chicago lawyers at our partner firms, can help you obtain the maximum possible compensation. 

Cycling Injury Experts

The Lamber Goodnow team is more than just personal injury lawyers – we’re also cyclists ourselves. James Goodnow, one of our attorneys, is a former national-level cyclist and was a podium finisher in the United States Cycling Federation (USA Cycling) Junior National Road Championships. James knows the potential dangers of riding on the road – and what it’s like when another driver fails to share the road responsibly.

“I didn’t see them” is never an excuse from a motorist. It’s a driver’s obligation to be aware of their surroundings, and keep everyone safe – including cyclists.

Because we’re experts, and cyclists ourselves, we know what to look for when investigating a car-bicycle accident in Chicago. We and our partner firms will be thorough, and also keep your best interests in mind.

Cyclist Accidents in Illinois

Unfortunately, cycling accidents are far too common in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The urban setting of the city, combined with so many inattentive drivers, can make riding a bike a dangerous prospect some days. According to the CDC, 59 cyclists were killed in accidents in Cook County since 2000 – and that’s not even taking into account the countless broken bones, back injuries, lacerations and more. Car-bicycle accidents are serious, and can have devastating consequences.

Your Case

Cycling cases can be complicated, particularly when multiple vehicles or individuals are involved. We’re prepared to handle all types of cycling accident cases, including these scenarios:

  • Tailgating
  • Sudden lane changes
  • Sudden stops
  • Hit-and-run collisions
  • Running red lights or signs
  • Failing to stop for red lights or signs
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Violating bike lanes
  • Dangerous roads
  • Wrongful death
  • Manufacturer defects of bicycles and equipment 

Contact our law firm today at (312) 757-777. Speak with a lawyer right away — before speaking with any auto insurance provider if possible. Other steps you can take now!

You Have Cycling Accident Questions – Lamber Goodnow Has The Answers: 

If I am partially at fault (riding on wrong side of the street, not wearing a helmet) in my bicycle accident, may I still recover compensation for my injuries?

Yes.  You may be found negligent in your bicycle accident and still recover damages under Illinois law.  Illinois uses the doctrine of modified comparative negligence, which means that you will be able to recover damages, if you were less than 50% at fault for your injuries. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-1116(c). However, the damages a cyclist receives will be reduced by the percentage of their fault.  An example of this is if the cyclist is 30% to blame they will only be able to recover 70% of their damages.  A jury or a trier of fact usually determines the percentage of fault in a lawsuit. 

Is there such thing as a bicycle expert?

Yes. There are engineers, physicists, and other specialists who devote their life’s work to reconstructing bicycle accident cases, designing bicycles, and determining whether or not a bicycle was improperly repaired, manufactured, or maintained. These experts may testify to design aspects that could have caused the accident or other safety features of the bicycle.

What if I was in a bicycle accident and the person who caused the accident does not have insurance; or it was a hit and run accident?

You may partially still recover if the at-fault driver does not have insurance or you were involved in a hit and run accident.

If you were involved in a hit and run accident, you should file a report with the police immediately. Illinois law requires that all accidents involving a motor vehicle that result in personal injury or death be reported to the police. 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-401(a)-(b). The police may have tools at their disposal to track down the hit and run driver.  If the police are unable to find the hit and run driver, they are typically considered uninsured and may be covered under your own insurance policy.

What if I think more than one driver is liable for my bicycle injuries?

Many bicycle accidents are caused when one motorist hits a cyclist that was trying to avoid the actions of a second motorist. A very common example of this is when a motorist opens their door into a bike lane and causes the cyclist to swerve to avoid the door, consequently being hit by another vehicle.  In Illinois, it is unlawful to open the door of a vehicle on the side of moving traffic (this includes bicycles) unless it is reasonably safe to do so. 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1407.

If you are involved in a situation where more than one motorist is involved each one could be liable for their percentage of fault.  Because Illinois law employs the doctrine of modified comparative fault, the fault of the cyclist will be compared to other parties in the accident, and if the cyclist’s fault is less than 50% they may recover damages (in proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the plaintiff) from the at-fault defendants. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-1116(c).  The defendants that are liable will be jointly and severally liable. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-1117.  This means that the cyclist may collect from any one, several, or all parties that are found at fault.

My insurance company wants to ask me questions regarding my bicycle accident; do I have to answer them?

You are not legally obligated to speak with your insurance company. Although they are your insurance company, they are usually not looking out for your best interests.  Insurance companies will try to obtain as many facts, or omissions, possible in order to offer you the lowest claim settlement.

However, at some point, either you or your attorney will need to speak to your insurance company about the facts regarding your bicycle accident.  It is in your best interest to contact a bike accident attorney who will be able to advise you as to how much information is necessary to disclose to your insurance company.

If the driver of an automobile was working at the time he hit me, is the driver or the driver’s employer liable for my injuries?

In most cases the employer will be liable under a theory called respondeat superior.[1]  Respondeat superior is a theory under which an employer will be liable for the negligence of an employee if the negligent actions happen within the scope of employment.[2] Additionally, the employer must have owned the automobile, and the employee must have been doing business on behalf of the employer when they caused the injuries.[3]

The doctrine of respondeat superior is important because personal insurance policies, like ones carried by an employee, may have inadequate coverage.  While the employer’s insurance policy may have higher coverage amounts, therefore, likely covering your damages.

If I am involved in a bicycle accident in Illinois, how long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit?

A plaintiff has two years from the time of the bicycle accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury in Illinois. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat.  5/13-202.  If the plaintiff does not file their lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations, they will be barred from doing so.

The statute of limitations is different for a minor; they have two years from the time that they turn 18 in order to file a lawsuit for personal injury. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-211(a).

Lawsuits against a local entity or an employee must be filed within one year or they will be barred. 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/8-101(a). Additionally, in Illinois, a lawsuit for property damage must be filed within five years of the date of the accident or it will be barred. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-205.

What damages are recoverable in bicycle accident cases?

There are several types of damages, or money, that you may be able to recover in a bicycle accident. Compensatory damages may be recoverable to compensate you for any money that you have spent because of the accident.  This may include past and future medical expenses, property damages or past and future lost wages. Property damage may include your bike, helmet, glasses and clothing.[4]

Moreover, in some cases involving serious injury, a plaintiff may claim punitive damages.  Punitive damages are used to stop others from committing the same crime in the future, and to punish the person who committed the egregious crime.[5]

Do cyclists have any special rights in Illinois?

In Illinois, a person operating a bicycle has the same rights and duties applicable to drivers of a vehicle.  Therefore, all cyclists must abide by traffic laws, such as stopping at stop signs, yielding to pedestrians and having a heightened duty of care when pedestrians are in a crosswalk. 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1502.

What are the Illinois bicycle laws?

There are several Illinois laws specifically for cyclists.  The first is that all persons operating a bicycle must abide to the traffic laws applicable to the driver of a vehicle, 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1502 and can only ride two abreast, except on pathways that were designed for their exclusive use. 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1505.1.

Additionally, no bicycle shall carry more people than it was built, except if a parent is carrying a child in a sling or backpack. 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1503(b).  If a cyclist is going less than the normal speed of vehicle traffic, it shall ride as close as practicable to the right side of the road or curb. 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1505(a).

Furthermore, if you are riding a bicycle at night it must be equipped with a lampon the front that emits a white light that is visible from at least 500 feet away, and equipped with a red reflector on the rear, visible from 100-600 feet away. 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1507(a).

If you are going to park your bicycle, it must be on a sidewalk that is not prohibited or restricted, and it may not impede normal pedestrian traffic, automobile traffic, or a legally parked vehicle. 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1513(a)-(b).

Should I hire an attorney for my bicycle accident case?

If you have injuries resulting from a bicycle accident you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can assist with obtaining the police reports, speaking with witnesses, giving advice on signing release forms and many other relevant information necessary for your recovery.

It is important to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact an attorney from the Lamber Goodnow team so that they and/or attorneys at one of its partner firms will be able to analyze the information you have gathered from your bicycle accident and advise you if you have a viable personal injury claim.

Our Process

We and our partner firms look into every aspect of your accident, including evidence, police records, witness statements or interviews, legal documents and more. We’ll also look at the damage to your bike and the car/vehicle involved, and if necessary we’ll consult with experts who can further shed light on the accident.

We’ll aim to get compensation for you to cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, among other factors. Throughout all of this, you won’t pay us any fees unless and until we win on your behalf. It’s that simple.

To find out more about your rights, and get a recommendation for how your case should progress, call us at (312) 757-7777, 24/7. You’ll get connected with an attorney, and we’ll schedule a no-fee, no-obligation consultation with you.


[1]  Ritter v. Taucher (1978, 1st Dist.) 65 Ill App 3d 464, 22 Ill Dec 23, 382 NE2d 343.

[2]  Pyne v. Witmer, 135 Ill. Dec. 557, 561 (1989).

[3]  Id.

[4]  Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions (Civil) Nos. 30.13.

[5]  Slovinski v. Swanson Dev. Co. LLC, 2014, IL App (3d) 110784, 378 Ill. Dec. 889, 5 N.E.3d 279.

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