When Can I Sue for Damages in a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle 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.
Wearing or not wearing a motorcycle helmet generally has no bearing on the cause of an accident. Rather, the question of who caused the accident will be answered based on driver actions, such as whether one driver was speeding, alcohol-impaired, or changing lanes improperly.
However, if your injuries would have been less severe if you had been wearing a helmet, your compensation for damages could be reduced accordingly.
Proving the Other Driver was Negligent
As noted above, you must be able to show that another driver was at fault for the accident. This may be done through witness testimony, accident reconstruction, and analysis of data retrieved from event data recorders (EDRs). EDRs are incorporated into most cars and motorcycles produced in the U.S. since 2013; they capture precrash data such as how fast the vehicle was going and when the driver hit the brakes.
Contact an Orland Park Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
You may be able to recover compensation for damages suffered in a motorcycle accident if you can show that another driver was primarily at fault for the accident. For a free consultation with one of our elite Cook County motorcycle accident attorneys, call Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 in Orland Park or 815-723-7300 in Joliet.