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How Do Helmets Influence Personal Injury Lawsuits Involving a Motorcycle Accident?For motorcycle enthusiasts, nothing compares to the feeling of the first motorcycle ride of spring. Illinois winters can be especially dreary, so many motorcyclists are eager to get back on the road as soon as warmer weather arrives. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are not uncommon, and many result in serious injuries or death. Experts estimate that motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than motorists driving a car. A person who is hurt in a motorcycle accident may be left with substantial expenses that are not covered by health insurance. If another party’s negligence led to the accident, it is very possible that the injured person will be entitled to compensation. If negligence led to a motorcyclist’s death, his or her surviving family may also be entitled to compensation.

What If I Was Not Wearing a Helmet?

Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is similar to wearing a seatbelt in a car. Everyone knows that these precautions help prevent injuries in the event of an accident, but they may not always remember to take these precautions. Motorcyclists hurt in an accident often wonder if they can still collect compensation for an accident even if they were not wearing a helmet. While helmets are not required by Illinois law, failure to wear a helmet can impact Illinois personal injury claims involving motorcycle accidents.

It is important for motorcyclists to know that they can pursue compensation via an injury claim even if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident. Illinois personal injury claims are subject to “modified comparative negligence.” This means that an injured party can still bring an injury lawsuit even if he or she partially contributed to his or her own injuries. As long as the injured party is not found to be more than 50 percent responsible for his or her injuries and property damage, he or she may still be eligible for partial compensation. If the injured party is found to be partially responsible for his or her injuries, the compensation he or she receives may be reduced according to his or her percentage of fault. For example, if a motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet when he or she was struck by a drunk driver, it could be argued that his or her head injuries would have been reduced if he or she was wearing a helmet. However, the drunk driver still holds the majority of fault for the accident. If the motorcyclist was found to be 25 percent at-fault for his or her injuries, the compensation he or she receives is reduced by 25 percent.

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Motorcycle Accidents Considered a National Public Health IssueWhen it comes to any kind of car or motorcycle accident, we often tend to view the collision as an event that affects only the victim and other parties involved in the crash. While victims undoubtedly experience the greatest impact in a crash, research illuminates the fact that auto collisions have the power to affect the victim’s loved ones, passerby witnesses, and even the national public as a whole. This is especially true when it comes to motorcycle accidents, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says are actually a national public health issue. 

Everyone is Impacted by Motorcycle Accidents

Why does the CDC claim that motorcycle accident injury and death is everyone’s problem? Here are some startling facts:

  • The number of motorcycle deaths continues to increase each year. Studies show an astounding 82 percent increase in deaths between 2000 and 2016. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle fatalities occurred 28 times more frequently in traffic crashes than car passenger fatalities, and a recent report revealed that nearly 90,000 motorcyclists were injured on an annual basis.
  • Riding accidents are not only life-changing for victims. They are also expensive, and everyone technically pays the price. The CDC reports that the annual economic burden on the public due to motorcycle-related injuries and deaths totals a staggering $12 billion. How is this coming out of the public’s pockets? Studies show that a huge portion of these costs is paid by the U.S. public because these expenses actually reflect higher insurance premiums and taxes, not to mention lost tax revenue. Studies show that medical bills due to motorcyclists’ injuries are often paid for by public funds, as these injuries typically require hospitalization and rehabilitation services. Most of these charges come from Medicaid.
  • Motorcycle crashes are often linked to other public health issues, such as drunk driving. Reports from the NHTSA in 2016 showed that motorcycle riders in crashes held a higher percentage of alcohol impairment compared to all other types of motor vehicle drivers. This is merely one example of the many instances where substance abuse, intoxicated driving, and motorcycle collision intertwine and create devastating statistics. 

Contact an Orland Park, Illinois, Personal Injury Attorney

From injury, death, and emotional trauma to healthcare and prevention costs, research continues to show how motorcycle accidents really do affect everyone in the U.S. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident right here in Illinois, it is imperative that you speak with an informed, dedicated Cook County personal injury lawyer about the rights you are entitled to in a court of law. Your case may show that you are eligible for some sort of compensation for your injuries. Let our skilled attorneys protect your best interests while you focus on recovering from the collision. Call Schwartz Injury Law today at 708-226-9000 and schedule a free consultation.

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Joliet Motor Vehicle Accident AttorneyMotorcycle accidents generally result in more severe injuries than car accidents. If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be facing a significant loss of income and expenses not covered by health insurance. Your ability to obtain compensation for those losses will depend on who was at fault for the accident. If you can point to another driver on the road whose careless, reckless, or negligent behavior led to your crash and injuries, you could file a claim for compensation against that driver and their insurance company. If a member of your immediate family was killed in a tragic crash, you could obtain compensation for your loss by filing a wrongful death claim.

Impact of Helmet Wearing on Motorcycle Accident Claims

Illinois does not have a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. However, it is common knowledge that wearing a helmet reduces your risk of head injuries. Therefore, if you are not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident, this can be held against you in a lawsuit for damages.

Illinois law follows the principle of modified comparative negligence, meaning that if you are at least 50 percent at fault for an accident, you cannot recover any damages. If you are found to be partially at fault (up to 49 percent at fault), you can recover damages, but the total amount of damages to which you would otherwise be entitled will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

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Orland Park personal injury lawyersFor motorcyclists, riding a motorcycle on a winding road on a warm sunny day is one of the most enjoyable activities of summer. Unfortunately, motorcycles can be a more dangerous way to travel than other vehicles because of the limited protection the vehicles offer. For years, laws regarding helmets laws have been a source of controversy among the motorcycle community. In the United States, each state can decide whether or not to enact laws that address the use of helmets.

In Illinois, there is no law that requires anyone using a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motor-driven cycle to wear a helmet. While many safety advocates believe that the lack of a helmet law is reckless not in the interest of public safety, many riders maintain that helmets can actually present additional dangers. Critics of mandatory helmet laws have claimed that motorcycle helmets cause an increase in the risk of a neck break, but a recent study has dispelled this myth.

Does the Added Weight of a Helmet Increase the Risk of Injury?

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Orland Park motorcycle crash attorneyAs the warmer weather has finally come to Illinois, more and more motorcyclists are enjoying the freedom of the open road. Unfortunately, every year thousands of individuals are killed and injured while riding a motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2015, approximately 88,000 people were injured and nearly 5,000 people lost their lives in motorcycle crashes. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, read on to learn how you can recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

When Negligence Causes a Motorcycle Accident

There are many reasons that motorcycle accidents occur. If a motorcyclist is killed or injured because another motorist was not acting with reasonable care, that victim or their family may be able to recover compensation. A motorist who is not acting with reasonable care does not fulfill his or her duty to drive safely. More specifically, a negligent driver may:

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Orland Park personal injury lawyer, motorcycle accidentApproximately 4,500 people are killed each year in motorcycle accidents, according to federal safety statistics. Even a non-fatal motorcycle accident can leave a driver with serious injuries and cost thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost income. Therefore, when an accident is the result of another party’s negligence, it is important to hold him or her accountable.

Lying in Road Not an “Overt Action”

Sometimes a motorcycle accident may not be directly caused by another person, but there is still a question as to how a person’s actions may have led to the victim’s injuries. An Illinois appeals court recently addressed such a case. The central question was whether two dog owners’ alleged carelessness led to a motorcycle accident.

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