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How does the court determine liability in a bicycle accident?

It is not uncommon for accidents involving bicycles and automobiles to result in severe injuries or even fatalities. This is mainly due to cyclists having no protection other than a helmet — which often may not be worn. Knowing the potential risks, cyclists, and also drivers, have a responsibility to be observant of all the rules related to road safety. Both cyclists and the drivers of vehicles are obliged to obey Illinois traffic laws and take reasonable care for their own safety and also the safety of other road users. A bicycle accident commonly results in substantial claims for recovery of damages; however, liability usually depends on whether negligence was involved.

In a lawsuit filed after an accident between a bicycle and automobile, the court will mainly consider the level of negligence of each party. It will question whether the driver of the car was negligent or reckless, and also whether the cyclist rode his or her bicycle in a negligent manner. If negligence is found on the part of either party, the court will have to determine whether the recklessness or negligence contributed to the accident that brought about the injuries.

If the driver of an automobile is cited for traffic violations, such as speeding, when an accident occurs, the violations are regarded as negligence, and he or she could be held liable. When a bicycle rider disregards a stop sign or red light, turns abruptly into traffic or drives in the wrong direction on the roadway, the cyclist could be considered negligent. If the court determines that a cyclist’s negligence contributed to the injuries resulting from the accident — even if only partially — he or she may not be able to receive compensation in recovery of damages or medical expenses.

Illinois cyclists who have suffered any of the severe injuries that are often associated with a bicycle accident may benefit from consulting a legal consultant who could assess the available information and suggest the most appropriate way to pursue recovery of damages. If negligence on the part of the vehicle driver is evident, a personal injury claim in a civil court may result in a monetary judgment. The judgment may cover current and future medical expenses, along with additional damages as allowed by state laws.

Source: FindLaw, "Bicycle Accidents", , Aug. 24, 2014

Source: FindLaw, "Bicycle Accidents", , Aug. 24, 2014

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