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Five Common Causes of Motorcycle CrashesMotorcycles riders are vulnerable in ways that other motorists are not. Even wearing all the recommended safety gear can only do so much to protect a rider during an accident. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to receive personal injury compensation if another party was at fault. However, proving fault may depend on what caused the accident. Here are five common causes of motorcycle accidents and the likelihood that someone else was at fault.

  1. Other Moving Vehicles: Common accidents between motorcycles and other vehicles involve left turns, lane changes, and rear-ending. Drivers of larger vehicles can be careless about watching for motorcycles, misjudge their speed or simply not see them in their blind spots. The driver of the other vehicle may be at fault for your accident if their actions put you in danger and you attempted to use defensive riding techniques to avoid the accident.
  2. Open Car Doors: People inside parked vehicles can cause motorcycle accidents when they suddenly open their doors. It can be difficult to see a motorcycle coming from behind, though some people fail to look when exiting the vehicle. Whether the person in the vehicle was at fault largely depends on whether you were traveling at a safe speed. Motorcycles should be extra cautious when riding down a narrow road with parked vehicles.
  3. Road Hazards: Riders are at risk of losing control of their motorcycles when they encounter surfaces that are wet or covered in debris. There is no liable party when the weather makes the road slick unless the negligent design of the road caused an unnatural accumulation of water or ice. A public road in disrepair may cause an accident, but local governments are immune from lawsuits unless you can prove willful and wanton negligence. Property owners may be liable for the unnatural debris they create on the road adjacent to their properties. For instance, lawn clippings can become slick when combined with rain and many municipalities have ordinances against blowing lawn clippings into the street.
  4. Speeding: Many motorcycle accidents can be avoided if the rider is able to slow down in time. Riders are at least partially at fault for an accident when they are traveling at unsafe speeds. The safe speed may be below the speed limit if the road conditions are poor or the rider is approaching a sharp curve in the road.
  5. Riding Under the Influence: Riding your motorcycle while intoxicated is an avoidable hazard. Other parties will not be liable if you were drunk at the time of your accident.

Contact a McHenry County Personal Injury Lawyer

Motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries to riders, if not death. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you receive the compensation you need to cover your medical costs and suffering. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Motorcyclist Actions Determine Personal Injury LiabilityCompared to drivers of other motor vehicles, motorcyclists can be more susceptible to and vulnerable during roadway accidents. A motorcycle's size makes it more difficult for drivers to see it and leaves the motorcyclist more exposed to injuries during a crash. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation's most recent statistics:

  • Motorcycles were involved in 1.1 percent of all vehicle crashes in 2015;
  • Motorcyclists killed during crashes accounted for 14.7 percent of all fatal crashes;
  • Sixty-nine percent of the motorcycle crashes involved injuries; and
  • Twenty-four percent of the motorcycle crashes resulted in debilitating injuries.

Depending on the cause of the accident and who was at fault, the motorcyclist may be able to sue for damages due to personal injury. IDOT categorized the 2015 motorcycle crashes by the type of maneuver the motorcyclist was performing. Here is a rank of the most common situations in which motorcyclists are involved in accidents and who may be at fault:

  1. Driving Straight Ahead – Moving forward is the most common action while driving a motorcycle, so it makes sense that this is when a majority of accidents occur. You often have the right-of-way when you are driving straight forward, which improves the chances that another party is at fault.
  2. Skidding/Losing Control – Skidding can occur because you are driving your motorcycle too fast or because of the road conditions. A party responsible for dangerous conditions on the road may be held liable, but you may also be responsible for reacting to avoid an accident. Suing a public entity is particularly difficult because you will need to prove willful negligence.
  3. Slowed/Stopped – Another vehicle may hit a motorcyclist who has stopped due to traffic, usually from behind. It is likely in these cases that the other driver is at fault and is liable for your injuries.
  4. Turning Left – Motorcyclists who were turning left during an accident are generally at fault because they do not have the right-of-way. The exception would be at intersections with a left-turn light when the vehicle going straight is disobeying a red light.
  5. Turning Right – There are more scenarios when a motorcycle turning right has the right-of-way, but turning vehicles often must yield to drivers who are moving straight forward.
  6. Passing Vehicles – A motorcyclist involved in an accident while overtaking another vehicle is likely at fault because he or she must yield to other vehicles when changing lanes.

Motorcycle Accident Liability

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Winter Motorcycle Safety Tips, car accident, driving saftey, personal injury, Crystal Lake motorcycle accident lawyersSome may consider motorcycling to be a warm-weather pursuit while other Illinois riders are committed to riding their motorcycles year-round. Motorcycling during any season carries certain risks and dangers, but these risks and dangers are even more pronounced during the winter months. While a motorcyclist may not be able to completely eliminate all the hazards associated with motorcycling during the winter, being proactive and taking precautionary measures can help reduce the chance of a serious motorcycle injury during this time of year:

  • Make sure your tires have sufficient tread and be aware of the tires' temperature. As a tire cools, it can also lose traction. Riding can increase the tire temperature, but slowing down can quickly cause this heat to dissipate. Consider accelerating swiftly but safely from a stop to help build up heat in your tires. Not only this but be mindful of the amount of tread remaining on your tires and replace your tires if needed. Do not attempt to ride when there is snow, water, or ice if you do not have enough tread.
  • Avoid ice and salt – and salt trucks. When snow and ice begin to accumulate on the road, riding a motorcycle can be extremely dangerous. Motorcyclists should, of course, exercise extreme caution when there is ice on the roadway (especially black ice, which can appear as a “sheen” on the street). However, the salt left by salt trucks can be just as slippery for motorcycles as ice. Not only this, but these salt trucks can also cause cracks and potholes to develop in roadways, which can also be dangerous for inattentive motorcyclists.
  • Be sure to increase your visibility and the amount of space between you and other motorists. While this advice applies to all motorists on the road during winter weather, it is especially applicable to motorcyclists as it is easy for others on the roadway to fail to see motorcyclists. Wearing outer layers that are of a highly-visible color and/or have reflective material sewn onto them. Furthermore, motorcyclists should allow for plenty of space between them and other vehicles and drive defensively.

These tips will not only help you avoid a motorcycle mishap this winter, but can also help you preserve your ability to obtain full and fair compensation in the event you are injured in a motorcycle crash caused by another driver this season. Your compensation award may be reduced if a judge or jury finds that your failure to take simple and common-sense precautionary measures played a role in your injury accident.

If you or a loved one are injured in a motorcycle crash, be certain to contact the passionate Crystal Lake motorcycle accident lawyers at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC as soon as possible after your crash. We can determine what legal rights to compensation you may have and will help you take action against negligent motorists who caused you harm. Contact our office today and let us help you begin the recovery process.

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Illinois motorcycle awareness month, Crystal Lake Personal Injury Attorneys,May has been declared Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month in Illinois, in order to bring needed attention to the dangers motorcyclists face on the roads. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 2015 saw an increase in motorcycle-related car accidents by about 24 percent. Overall, on average, motorcycle accidents account for about 15 percent of traffic accidents annually.

When sharing the road with motorcycles, drivers should take care to avoid serious or fatal traffic accidents with motorcyclists. Motorcycles can be difficult to see when drivers are distracted and not paying attention for them. However, there are tips and precautions that drivers can take in order to avoid accidents with motorcyclists. Drivers should remember that motorcycles may appear further away when viewed in vehicle mirrors because of the motorcycles' sizes. This may cause a driver who cannot gauge how closely a motorcycle is traveling to be involved in an accident. Drivers should find ways to better judge the distance between them and a motorcycle, for example by counting the time it takes the motorcycle to pass a standing object.

Drivers should also routinely check their blind spots before changing lanes or making other traffic maneuvers. This would also help avoid accidents with other cars in the blind spots. Relying solely on side mirrors to check the blind spots can cause a driver to fail to spot a hidden motorcyclist. If safe to do so, it is best for the driver to turn his head to check the blind spot.

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motorcycle accidents, Crystal Lake Personal Injury AttorneysMost motorcyclists are aware of the their vulnerability on the road with regard to two-ton vehicles and tractor-trailers—no matter how much protective gear is worn, the impact of crashing can overwhelm the gear and result in injuries far more severe than those sustained in vehicle accidents.

As motorcycles become more prevalent in Illinois, so do the number of serious accidents and even deaths involving motorcycles.

The Reason for Severe Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents

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