In Illinois, the party at fault in an accident is responsible for paying damages. This should happen regardless of the vehicles involved—if you’re on a bicycle and are involved in an accident with a car, the party who caused the accident would be held accountable.
Bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians all owe one another a duty of care—meaning they should act in a way that is consistent with sound judgment and safe practices. Breaching this duty constitutes negligence. There are many ways in which one can be found negligent, and these are factors that may be examined when determining fault in a bicycle accident.
One factor that may come up is the maintenance of the vehicles involved. If the bike wasn’t well maintained, for instance, that may result in fault being assigned to the cyclist. If it was kept in good working order, on the other hand, then it won’t likely be a factor.
The same is true for motorists. If a car runs into a cyclist because it had faulty brakes, then the owner of the vehicle would likely be held liable.
Obedience to traffic laws is naturally important to the safe operation of any vehicle, and violation of those laws will increase the odds that one will be found at fault for an accident. A speeding or inattentive driver would be at fault for any injuries caused to a cyclist.
In Illinois, bicycles are obligated to follow the same traffic laws as motorists, so the same rules apply. If a cyclist breaks traffic laws and is later involved in an accident, that individual will likely be assigned at least partial fault.
Even in the event that no traffic laws are violated, reasonable conduct is still expected. While there are no laws against cyclists rushing at top speed downhill in the rain, they would still be guilty of reckless conduct and would be assigned fault for an accident. Drivers who fail to yield to cyclists, even while the driver would have the right of way, would likely be held responsible for an accident if they simply plowed straight through an intersection without stopping.
In some cases, a biking accident has nothing to do with the cyclist or those with whom they share the road. A bicycle’s frame or components may fail, and that failure may be the result of design flaws or manufacturer defects.
This has become more prevalent as carbon-fiber bike components have become more common in the market. Many manufacturers do not have sound quality control for these parts, and this may result in catastrophic failure of the component. The process of pursuing damages for this type of component failure is long and complex, so solid legal and forensic backing is needed in order to secure compensation.
Whether your bicycle accident was the result of a traffic incident or a manufacturing flaw, you need an attorney in order to reach a favorable settlement with those involved. Hart David Carson LLP can help you determine who is at fault for your injuries and recover requisite damages.