Motorcycles are by far the most dangerous vehicles to operate on our streets and highways in Illinois. Motorcycles are harder to see than other vehicles, which increases the risk of a motorcycle crash. When a crash does occur, a motorcycle operator is at a significantly increased risk of long-term, permanent or fatal injuries.
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Chicago and throughout Illinois is another motorist’s failure to yield. When another driver fails to yield, and this action causes a collision, the motorcyclist may be able to bring a negligence per se claim against the responsible driver as a failure to yield is not only irresponsible and unsafe, but also a violation of traffic law.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our motorcycle accident lawyers understand how devastating these accidents can be. If you have been injured or lost a family member in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s failure to yield, we want to help. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation through our offices in Chicago or Waukegan.
How Failure-to-Yield Motorcycle Collisions Occur
Failure-to-yield motorcycle accidents typically happen when a car, truck or other driver simply is not paying attention. Consider the following causes of motorcycle accidents that involve failure to yield:
- Failure to see the motorcyclist – In some cases, a motorist goes through an intersection or makes a turn without seeing an oncoming motorcyclist. This may be a result of the motorist’s failure to look or other factors such as poor visibility, lack of lights on the motorcycle, or poor driver vision. Sometimes, the motorcycle is blocked from sight by another vehicle that proceeds through the intersection directly before the motorcyclist, giving the failure-to-yield driver the impression that the coast is clear to proceed. Because motorcycles are so much smaller than regular vehicles, they can be harder to see and easier to miss.
- Driver distraction – It is not uncommon for the driver’s failure to yield to be based on his or her distraction. Using a cell phone to text or compose an e-mail, changing the music, attending to small children, or pets within the vehicle or “rubbernecking” at something going on out outside the vehicle are all examples of driver distraction that can be fatal for a motorcyclist.
- Driver impairment – Sometimes, the reason that a driver fails to yield at an intersection or in another situation is based on the fact that the driver lacks full control of his or her faculties due to impairment. The impairment may be a result of alcohol use, illegal drug use, prescription drug use, or even driver fatigue (which has been shown to be as dangerous as driving while drunk). When a driver’s impairment causes a failure-to-yield accident, the driver should be held fully accountable for any harm which the driver causes a motorcyclist to suffer.
- Aggressive driver behaviors – Various types of behaviors can amount to aggressive driving, include intentionally running a red light or speeding up as the light changes, assuming the right of way and driving at excessive speeds.
Types of Damages in Failure-to-Yield Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle accidents caused by a driver’s failure to yield can result in serious losses for the motorcyclist and his or her family members. These accidents can happen when a motorcyclist is proceeding down a roadway and another driver is entering the roadway from a parking lot/driveway, when a motorcyclist and driver are both proceeding through an intersection, or when a motorcyclist and driver are heading through a four-way stop.
Regardless of where the right-of-way violation occurs, the motorcyclist is typically hit from the side. The impact can throw a motorcyclist from the bike or crush the motorcyclist against another object. Because motorcyclists have few protections – indeed, many of them ride without a helmet or proper safety gear – the damages can be catastrophic. Types of damages in a failure-to-yield motorcycle crash that a motorcyclist may suffer and seek compensation for in a lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses – Medical bills typically are high when a motorcyclist is injured in a crash due to the severe nature of the motorcyclist’s injuries. Motorcyclists may suffer internal injuries, traumatic brain injury, injuries to extremities, amputations, spinal cord injury, bone fractures, burns, and more. An injured motorcyclist may need emergency care such as surgery, extended hospitalization, medication, assistive devices, or ongoing rehabilitation.
- Lost wages – Serious injuries will likely prohibit a driver from being able to work, resulting in lost income. In some cases, a motorcyclist may be permanently unable to work or able to return to the same type of work that he or she did before the accident.
- Pain and suffering – Serious injuries lead to physical pain and suffering, as well as emotional anguish, diminished quality of life, and various other non-economic losses. A motorcyclist deserves to be compensated for the full extent of his or her non-economic harm.
Our Illinois Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help You
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we can promptly and thoroughly investigate a motorcycle crash in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois that left you with injuries or caused the loss of a family member. Through our investigation, we can determine whether a driver’s failure to yield caused your crash. If so, we will work diligently to hold that driver fully accountable for the physical, emotional and financial harm that you have suffered.
In many motorcycle accidents, insurance companies try to shift blame to the injured motorcyclist. For instance, an insurance company may claim that the motorcyclists – not its insured driver – violated the right of way or otherwise failed to yield. Our attorneys will aggressively challenge any attempts to place undue blame on you or your loved one, and we will fight for all compensation that you are entitled to.
Since we founded our law firm, Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. has recovered more than $1.5 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, including more than 260 multi-million dollar settlements. We can put that experience to work for you today. Call or reach us online now to schedule a free consultation.