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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bicyclist Killed in Collision in West Suburban Roselle



Multiple news outlets are reporting that a bicyclist has tragically died after a collision with a utility van in west suburban Roselle earlier this morning. The fatal bicycle accident occurred near the intersection of Rosemont Avenue and Roselle Road. Roselle Road is a main street in Roselle with four lanes that travel north-south with two lanes traveling in each direction. Rosemont Avenue is an east-west street that terminates at Rosemont Avenue. There is a "T" Intersection where Rosemont Avenue comes to an end at a park along Roselle Road.
 

According to reports the accident occurred just after 6:09 a.m.when the driver of the 2004 Mercedes-Benz van attempted to make a left-hand turn from eastbound Rosemont Avenue onto northbound Roselle Road at the "T" Intersection. The collision between the the motor vehicle and the bicyclist occurred at the "T" Intersection.
 

Section 901.01 of the Illinois Vehicle Code requires vehicles approaching or entering a "T" Intersection to yield-the-right of way to vehicles, including bicycles, to vehicles on the "non-terminating" roadway. In this instance, it means that vehicles turning off of eastbound Rosemont Avenue are required to yield the right-of-way to vehicles traveling along Roselle Road. The Illinois Vehicle Code provides as follows:
Sec. 11-901.01. Vehicles approaching or entering a "T" intersection. The driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection of a highway from a highway which terminates at the intersection, not otherwise regulated by this Act or controlled by traffic control signs or signals, shall stop, yield, and grant the privilege of immediate use of the intersection to another vehicle which has entered the intersection from the non-terminating highway or is approaching the intersection on the non-terminating highway in such proximity as to constitute a hazard and after stopping may proceed when the driver may safely enter the intersection without interference or collision with the traffic using the non-terminating highway. (Source: P.A. 81-860.)
The bicyclist was taken by ambulance to Alexian Brothers Hospital in Elk Grove Village where he was pronounced dead. The Roselle Police Department is conducting an accident reconstruction and the bicycle accident remains under investigation. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the bicyclist. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Claim for Bicyclist Injured in Bike Crash in Wicker Park Settled


Illinois Bicycle Lawyers Michael S. Keating and Joseph T. Vietri recently settled a claim on behalf of a bicyclist who was injured after she struck by the driver of car at the intersection of Hermitage Avenue and Wabansia Avenue in Chicago last October. The bicycle crash occurred in the afternoon on October 13, 2013, when the car driver failed to stop at the designated stop sign on Hermitage Avenue before entering the intersection of Hermitage and Wabansia. 

The bicyclist, however, had come to a complete stop at the intersection before continuing west on Wabansia. The bicyclist was then struck by the car in the intersection. The impact from the bicycle crash caused her to be thrown from her bike and crash into the pavement.

Due to the collision, the biker experienced serious pain and limited mobility in her legs and shoulder for more than a month after the accident, even after undergoing physical therapy. Her injuries made it impossible for her to continue her normal, active lifestyle for weeks following the crash, and made it difficult for her to even participate in routine tasks around the house.

The law in Illinois is very clear on a motorist’s responsibility to come to a complete stop before entering an intersection with a stop sign. Section 11-904(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code states:
"Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic-control signal, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then at the point nearest the intersection roadway where the driver has a view approaching traffic on the intersection roadway before entering the intersection. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another roadway or which is approaching so closely on the roadway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection, but said driver having so yielded may proceed at such time as a safe interval occurs."

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers filed a claim with the driver’s insurance carrier to compensate the injured bicyclist for her injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and for the damage to her bike. After weeks of negotiation, the settlement secured by the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers amounted to more than three times (300%) the medical bills incurred by the injured rider.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers take pride in successfully resolving cases without delay. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at (312) 208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls will be promptly returned, and all initial consultations are confidential and free.




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Case Settled for Bicyclist Attacked by Charging Dog

Any time a bicyclist is knocked of their bicycle, there is a high risk for an injury. And not all bicycle accidents involve a motor vehicle. This was the case for a bicyclist in western Illinois who sustained a hip fracture after a dog left its owners property and charged the bicyclist as he was riding down a rural road on his way home from work. 

On March 23, 2012, the bicyclist was riding along his regular route when he noticed a large dog running directly at him. Despite the bicyclist's best efforts to avoid a collision, the dog ran directly into the bike. The impact between the dog and the bicycle caused the bicyclist to be thrown from his bicycle to the pavement.
 
As a result of the bicycle collision, the bicyclist sustained a displaced left hip fracture requiring a stay in a local hospital followed by a rigorous rehabilitation regimen. It was more than seven  weeks after the bicycle collision before the bicyclist was able to ambulate without a wheelchair or cane.

 
Illinois has a strict liability statute (known as the "Illinois Animal Control Act") regarding injuries caused by animals, including dogs. A "strict liability" statute imposes liability without fault--that is, an injured person does not have to necessarily prove that the dog owner did anything wrong in order to recover for their injuries and medical bills. Specifically, the Illinois Animal Control Act provides:

"If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby."
In this case the bicyclist was lawfully riding his bicycle on a local street and did not provoke the dog. Thus, the owners of this dog were "strictly liable" for the injuries and damages sustained by the bicyclist - meaning the dog owners were legally responsible for the damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.) sustained by the bicyclist whether or not the dog owners  themselves did anything wrong. (510 ILCS 5/16). The purpose of this statute is to motivate animal owners to take whatever steps are necessary to keep their animal from injuring a person. A second purpose is to ensure that an injured person has a way to be "made whole" for their injuries since you obviously can't have a case against an animal.
Following the collision, the bicyclist initially attempted to negotiate the claim directly with the insurance company without an attorney. The insurance company then made a typical "lowball" settlement offer of that barely exceeded the bicyclist's medical bills. The bicyclist then retained the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices. The ultimate settlement of $150,000.00 reached by the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers exceeded the original offer by more than $100,000.00.

 
The resolution is yet another example of the importance and value of retaining an attorney when you or a family member sustains a personal injury. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers work on a completely contingent basis - meaning we NEVER charge attorney's fees unless we settle or win your case. All consultations are confidential and free with absolutely no obligation.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rogue Motorist Causes Mayhem in Evanston - Bicyclist Among Those Injured


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ABC7 is reporting that a 63-year old Wilmette woman was arrested after she allegedly caused several collisions in Evanston on Sunday morning. The first collision occurred around 10:00 a.m. when the woman first was involved in a crash at the intersection of Ridge and Davis. Ridge Avenue is a roadway that transects several North Shore communities and is commonly used by motorists as a thoroughfare to Chicago.

The motorist then fled the scene of this first collision and proceeded southeast where she then struck a person riding a scooter on Chicago Avenue and then caused a third crash when she struck a bicyclist at Main Street. Both the person riding the scooter and the bicyclist were treated at the hospital. According to reports from a post on theChainlink, the bicyclist was transported via ambulance to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.

Attorney Mike Keating is an Evanston resident and regularly rides in this area of Evanston. Attorney Keating said,
"This is an extremely scary situation. Many bicyclists regularly use Chicago Avenue to ride north-to-south through Evanston's central business district and to ride to and from Evanston's lakefront and to ride into Chicago. I've ridden and run through this very intersection numerous times. The utter disregard for safety by this motorist is nothing short of alarming. My thoughts and prayers are obviously with everyone affected by this incident.
According to the ABC7 report, several witnesses saw the Wilmette motorist running other cars and pedestrians off of the road as she swerved in and out of traffic. The motorist was chased by police as she traveled west towards Skokie where she was finally stopped in front of a school. The woman reportedly refused to leave her vehicle and had to be physically removed by officers who placed her under arrest. She was taken to a hospital for treatment. No further details have been reported.

From a legal standpoint, the woman will certainly face charges for violating multiple traffic regulations. More significantly, she will most likely face charges for, at a minimum, reckless driving and possibly many more severe felony charges.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Chicago Bicyclist Critically Injured in Left-Hook Collision on Northwest Side


News outlets are reporting that a Chicago bicyclist was critically injured in a "left hook" collision at the intersection of West Addison Street and North Milwaukee Avenue on Chicago's Northwest Side. The collision occurred late Sunday night when the bicyclist was struck by an SUV as the vehicle made a left turn from the northbound lane of Milwaukee.

According to reports, the driver of the SUV was cited for failure to yield the right-of-way. Both Addison and Milwaukee are dedicated bike routes at this location. While there are not painted lines designating a bike lane, signage at the location clearly marks the area as a place where bicycles are regularly a part of traffic patterns.

The Illinois Vehicle Code and the Chicago Municipal Code both require vehicle to yield the right of way when making a left-hand turn across oncoming traffic. While not motorized, under the law a bicycle is a vehicle and is considered oncoming traffic that a vehicle is required to yield to when making a left-hand turn.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Claim Settled for Divvy Rider Doored By Pizza Delivery Driver

Illinois Bicycle Lawyers Michael S. Keating and Joseph T. Vietri have reached a settlement on behalf of a Divvy bicyclist who was injured when she was doored by a pizza delivery driver.

The dooring happened on September 11, 2013 as the bicyclist was riding southbound on Clinton Street in the marked bike lane. The driver was returning to a nearby pizza restaurant after making a delivery run and had parked along the curb at 310 South Clinton Street.

As the Divvy bicyclist approached the parked vehicle the driver suddenly opened the driver's door directly into the bicyclist's hand on the right handle bar of the Divvy bike. The impact crushed the bicyclist's right hand between the vehicle door and the handle bar. The impact then caused the Divvy bicyclist to be thrown from the Divvy bike to the pavement. The Divvy bike then landed on top of the bicyclist. The bicyclist immediately sought medical treatment for injuries to her right hand and left shoulder.

The responding Chicago Police Officer issued the driver a traffic citation for violating Section 11-1407 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. Section 11-1407 states in part, "No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic." (625 ILCS 5/11-1407). As evidenced by the collision and resulting injuries, it was clearly unsafe for the driver to open his vehicle door into the bike lane without first looking for oncoming bicycle traffic.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers filed a claim with the driver's insurance carrier to compensate the injured Divvy bicyclist for her injuries, medical bills, loss of a normal life and pain and suffering. After weeks of negotiation, the settlement secured by the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers amounted to four times (400%) of the medical bills incurred by the injured Divvy bicyclist.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lawsuit on Behalf of 70-Year Old Schaumburg Bicyclist Settled After Insurance Company Initially Denies Claim

Illinois Bicycle Lawyers Michael S. Keating and Joseph T. Vietri recently secured a personal injury settlement for a Schaumburg, Illinois bicyclist who was injured in a bicycle versus motor vehicle collision. The bicyclist's claim was originally denied by the driver's insurance company. A denial of liability is a position by an insurance company that, while there may have been an incident resulting in an injury, their insured driver was not responsible and therefore the insurance company does not have to provide insurance coverage. However, the attorneys at Keating Law Offices refused to accept this denial and filed a lawsuit on behalf of the injured bicyclist. The law firm ultimately secured the injured bicyclist a substantial settlement through litigation.

The incident occurred on June 15, 2012 as the 70 year-old bicyclist was traveling westbound on Grove Avenue at its intersection with Mercury Drive in Schaumburg. The bicyclist had traveled the same route around his neighborhood every morning for 8 years prior to the collision. Based on the layout of the roadways, the bicyclist had the right of way as he was riding through the T-intersection of Mercury Drive and Grove Avenue. 


At the same time the motorist was attempting to make a left-hand turn from eastbound Grove Avenue onto northbound Mercury Drive. The driver failed to see the bicyclist and proceeded to make his left turn in the direct path of the bicyclist. Just before striking the bicyclist the driver slammed on the breaks. Fearing imminent impact, the bicyclist jumped from his bicycle to the street. As a result of this incident, the bicyclist was knocked unconscious and sustained a fractured finger as well as a gash above his right eye that required stitches.
 

The driver told the investigating police officer that he never initiated the left turn and that the bicyclist lost consciousness and fell from his bike for reasons unknown. To his credit, the responding police officer didn't buy the driver's story and issued him a traffic ticket. 

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the driver’s insurance company chose to believe the driver’s improbable story and denied the bicyclist's claim. In denying the claim, the insurance company alleged that the bicyclist “fainted or otherwise lost consciousness for reasons unrelated to any conduct” the driver’s conduct. Further, the insurance company alleged that the driver was not liable for the bicyclist’s injuries because there was no contact between the vehicle and the bicyclist.

Upon notice of the denial of liability, Keating Law Offices filed a lawsuit against the driver in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The firm immediately began preparing the case for trial. Throughout the case, the attorneys at Keating Law Offices were able to discover and present evidence that showed that the bicyclist’s fall and resulting injuries were caused solely by the defendant driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist.
 

The investigating police officer testified in his deposition (a transcribed statement under oath) that his investigation led him to conclude that the driver’s story was false and that that defendant driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist was the cause of the incident. Significantly, under oath at his deposition, the defendant driver recounted his original story to the police officer and admitted that he did not see the bicyclist approaching from the opposite direction and thus proceeded to make his left turn. The defendant further admitted that he slammed his breaks just before striking the bicyclist, thus causing the bicyclist to fall from his bike.

Despite the assertion of the defendant’s insurance company, whether or not there was actual contact between the defendant’s vehicle and the bicyclist was inconsequential. Section 11-703 of the of the Illinois Vehicle Code strictly prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist. Thus, the fact that there was no contact between the vehicle and the bicyclist was legally irrelevant.
 

Ultimately, the insurance company and its attorneys were forced to conclude that their initial position was wrong and that the injured bicyclist had a valid and meritorious claim. With their backs to the wall, the defendant’s insurance company offered to pay the bicyclist’s medical bills. The offer failed to account for the pain and suffering and loss of a normal life incurred by the bicyclist. Thus, the offer was rejected and the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers continued to prepare the case for trial. The defendant driver’s insurance company ultimately agreed at a mediation to pay several multiples of the bicyclist’s medical bills in order to settle the lawsuit.
 

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices are the top law firm in Chicago, Illinois representing victims of bicycles accidents and crashes. The firm has successfully represented numerous victims of bicycle accidents and collisions in Chicago, the suburbs, and throughout the rest of Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Bicycle Path Grant Program Provides New Bridge for Lake Bluff

The Office of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced that the State of Illinois will invest $87,000.00 in a new civic works project that will construct a new bicycle path in the village of Lake Bluff and to build a brand new bridge over West Scranton Avenue. This infrastructure project will replace the existing bridge which runs along the Robert McClory Bike Path. 

This project is the latest of Governor Quinn’s $1 million investment in improving the quantity and quality of bicycle trails in Illinois.  “This investment will provide more opportunities for people to get out, get healthy and enjoy what Lake Bluff has to offer,” Governor Quinn said. “Bicycling is an ideal activity for young and old, and this path will make biking safer and more convenient.” In addition to a healthy lifestyle, bike trails such as this one offer a great way to experience the scenery of Illinois. 

State Senator Julie Morrison, added, “The Robert McClory Bike Path gives cyclists an opportunity to see Lake County from top to bottom. It’s a great local attraction, and I’m glad to see the state chipping in to keep it in good repair.”
The efforts to improve the bicycle paths in the state of Illinois began in 1989 by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This plan, known as the “Bicycle Path Grant Program”, funded by a percentage of motor vehicle title fees, provides up to 50% of the costs associated with these projects. Since 1990, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has created approximately 982 miles of government bicycle trails in the state of Illinois.
The attorneys of Keating Law Offices are ardent supporters of bicycling and public works initiatives like these that increase the usability of the state's existing infrastructure by bicyclists. The use of this grant is especially appealing because it takes the already existing trail and maximizing its usability. This will "pull" bicyclists to the path where they are free to ride without the risk of collisions with motor vehicles.

Keating Law Offices has handled numerous cases in Lake County. If you or anyone you know is a victim of someone else’s negligence while riding a bicycle, please contact the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers of Keating Law Offices immediately. Attorney Michael S. Keating, founder and owner of Keating Law Offices, can be reached during office hours by phone at (312) 239-6787 and during non-office hours at (312) 208-7702, or by e-mail at mkeating@keatinglegal.com.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kankakee Considering Adding Dedicated Bike Routes

The Daily Journal is reporting that Kankakee County, Illinois has plans to change the way bicyclists get around town. The Kankakee City Council and the League of Illinois Bicyclists have agreed on a $10,090.00 contract that will develop a bikeway network in Kankakee. Ed Barsotti, League of Illinois Bicyclist's executive director, said that the plan should be adopted by the fall of 2014.

These trails will act as a way for serious bicyclists to enjoy a leisurely ride, but especially as an alternative way to commute to and from work. Ed Barsotti said, "This is about establishing a 'bikeway' network. This is about getting from 'any-point A' to 'any-point B.'" Bicyclists will be able to navigate through the city on their own turf without having to worry about the complications of major public roads. 

"I say if you give this a chance it can catch on. We need to make it so people are not tied to their cars," he said. "I know there will be those who say this a waste of money, but many people said the same thing about the Metro Bus. They're ready to break the million-ride mark,” Steve Linneman, Kankakee alderman and owner of the Bradley Bike Shop, said.

Choosing to commute via bicycle greatly benefits a person’s financial and physical health. According to the Huffington Post, the average American spends over $2,000 a year on gas for their car. Much of this money is wasted on the hours spent sitting in traffic each morning on their way to work.  By choosing to utilize the new bike trails being created, residents of Kankakee County could leave more money in their bank accounts and reach their destination in a shorter period of time, all while receiving the health benefits of riding.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers of Keating Law Offices highly encourage the residents of Kankakee County to utilize this new development. Not only are there the health benefits or exercise, but traffic planning that includes dedicated bike routes lead to safer bicycling as fewer bicycle accidents occur when there is a clearly delineated division between bicyclists and motorists. Dedicated Bicycling = Safe Bicycling.

Case On Behalf of Young Bicyclist Injured in a Hit-and-Run Settled for Insurance Policy Limits


This week the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices settled a difficult case for a young bicyclist injured in a hit-and-run for the policy limits of the applicable insurance policy. As the bicyclist approached an intersection on his way home from school to his home a motorist struck the bicyclist in a head on collision.  

The case presented two unique challenges:  One, because the bicyclist could not remember the crash due to a head injury. Two, the only eye witness was a young child. This very young eyewitness reported to the police that the bicyclist was at fault.

However, all of the physical evidence and circumstantial evidence showed that the most probable cause of the collision was the motorist's failure to yield to the bicyclist and keep a proper lookout. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices successfully argued that based on the damage to the car and bicycle the motorist must have been at fault for causing the bicycle crash. Most significantly, the motorist fled the scene but the car was later located by the local police department. The owner of the vehicle denied being the driver involved in the collision. Ironically, this denial led credence to our version of events and put the credibility of the motorist in great doubt.
 

As a result of the crash the bicyclist suffered a fractured pelvis and femur. His injuries resulted in a hospitalization and several weeks of missed school. Keating Law Offices obtained a substantial insurance policy limit settlement on behalf of the injured cyclist by arguing the insurance company had a legal duty to pay valid claims. Specific terms of the settlement and facts of the case are confidential pursuant to the settlement agreement. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers take pride in resolving cases for maximum value as efficiently as possible. The final settlement in this matter was reached within three months of the injured bicyclist retaining the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers. 

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Divvy Rider Doored on Clinton Street


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The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have been retained to represent a suburban woman who was doored last September while riding a Divvy bike.  The dooring occurred near Union Station as the Divvy bicyclist was riding southbound in the designated bike lane on Clinton Street. As the bicyclist approached 310 South Clinton Street the driver of a vehicle parked along the curb suddenly opened the driver’s door of his vehicle into the bike lane without looking for oncoming bicycle traffic. The vehicle door struck the bicyclist as well as the Divvy bike.

The brunt of the impact was sustained by the Divvy bicyclist’s right hand which was crushed between the vehicle door and the handle bar of the Divvy bike. As a result of the impact the Divvy bicyclist was thrown from the Divvy bike to the pavement. The Divvy bike, which is significantly heavier than an average bicycle for durability purposes, then fell on top of the bicyclist.

The bicyclist immediately sought medical treatment for injuries to her right hand and left shoulder. Upon discharge from the emergency room the Divvy bicyclist’s right hand was placed in a splint. The bicyclist experienced a decreased range of motion in her right hand and fingers for several weeks following the dooring.

Opening a vehicle door in the path of a bicyclist is strictly prohibited by the Illinois Vehicle Code as well as the Municipal Code of Chicago. In this case, the responding Chicago Police Officer issued the dooring culprit a traffic citation for violating Section 11-1407 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. Section 11-1407, the ‘dooring statute,’ states in part:

“No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic.” (625 ILCS 5/11-1407).
The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers are pursuing a claim with the dooring culprit’s insurance carrier to compensate the injured Divvy bicyclist for her injuries, medical bills, loss of a normal life and pain and suffering.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Victory in Lawsuit for Bicyclist Injured in "Right Cross" Crash


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The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Office won a strongly contested lawsuit for an injured Chicago bicycle commuter who was struck by a motorist on northbound Central Street near its intersection with Elston. The bike crash occurred when the bicyclist was traveling along with traffic on northbound Central Avenue near its intersection with Elston on the Northwest Side of Chicago.

As the bicyclist approached the intersection of Central and Elston he passed the defendant’s Mercedes on the car's passenger side. This position put the bicyclist appropriately between the parked cars along the curb and the northbound lane of traffic. Illinois law requires bicyclists to ride "as near as is practicable" to the curb. However, as traffic moved forward along Central and the Mercedes approached the intersection with Elston, the defendant driver pulled to his right and hit the cyclist. This is known as a "right cross" collision.
 

As a result of the crash the bicyclist suffered a head injury and back injury. Upon obtaining the case, the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices attempted to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company for the driver of the Mercedes. Our position was simple: this was a "right cross" collision that was 100% the fault of the motorist. But the insurance company did what insurance companies often do: they blamed the bicyclist and refused to compensate the bicyclist with a single penny.

Our response was strong and immediate. We filed a lawsuit on behalf of the bicyclist in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The bicyclist luckily escaped this collision with "relatively minor" injuries to his head and back. But these injuries required a period of recuperation, lost time from work, extensive medical treatment including physical therapy, and lost time from work. To the bicyclist the phrase "relatively minor" was mere semantics. He deserved justice.
 

Even after filing the lawsuit and taking the depositions (sworn statements under oath) of the Mercedes driver and his passenger, they stuck to their story that the car was traveling straight and the bicyclist caused the bicycle accident. The judge handling the case ordered the parties to participate in a Mandatory Arbitration. An arbitration is a form of "alternative dispute resolution," meaning that the parties present their cases to three arbitrators and those arbitrators issue a ruling. The ruling is non-binding, either party can continue to trial if they wish. But the goal is that by participating in a non-biased arbitration that the parties will be able to sort out the case prior to the trial.

The bicyclist in this case won the arbitration with a unanimous ruling by all three arbitrators. Our team won at arbitration by getting the defendant driver to agree on cross examination to a few separate points that when put together proved the motorist was undeniably at fault:

  1. Agreed that immediately before the crash his lane became wider due to the end of the parking zone. 
  2.  Agreed that it was always safest to travel in the center of his lane.
  3. Agreed that he always steers to the center of his lane as soon as the lane gets wider.
  4. Agreed he had a clear and unobstructed view of the right side of his vehicle immediately prior to the impact.
Contrary to the motorist and his insurance company's assertions, the motorist actually broke several laws in causing this collision:
  • Section 11-1003.1 of the Illinois Rules of the Road requires that drivers of vehicles exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person operating a bicycle. 
  •  Section 11-703 of the Illinois Rules of the Road which prohibit motorists from "buzzing" bicyclists as the motorists pass a bicycle and requires "3-Feet" between the motor vehicle and bicycle.
  • Chicago Municipal Code 9-16-020 also prohibits motorists from turning right in front of a bicyclist.
Once faced with a favorable arbitration ruling, the insurance company was put in a position where its only reasonable option was to settle the case. Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices said the following about the result in this case:
"I like to think that this case is a great example of our commitment to doing what we can for any bicyclist injured anywhere in Illinois at any time. Many firms, including others claiming to be "bike lawyers," probably would have not taken on this case because of the hard line set by the insurance company. But that isn't what we do at Keating Law Offices. What we do is put forth every effort we can to get results for our clients. At the end of the day it's all about the results you get for victims of bicycle crashes. Actions always speak louder than words."

Is making the Magnificent Mile a "Car Free Zone" a Good Idea?

The Active Transportation Alliance has released a proposal recommending that portions of 20 Chicago Streets be turned into “car free” zones. Most notably, the proposal recommends turning the lower part of the famed "Magnificent Mile" along North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to the Chicago River into a “car-free” zone. Ron Burke, the executive director of Active Transportation Alliance, stated: 
“Car-free streets and zones can make communities more attractive places to live and shop, generate more biking and walking and thus improve mobility and health, and reduce traffic crashes.”
City Officials and the public have weighed in on the proposal over the last few days. Some critics have pointed to the unsuccessful State Street Pedestrian Mall which was initiated in 1979. From 1979 until 1996 the Loop portion of State Street was closed to the driving public. Ultimately, State Street was reopened to the driving public in 1996 under the watch of Mayor Richard Daley. 

However, Burke has said the State Street Pedestrian Mall is not a good example because the design was flawed. Burke acknowledged that the proposal is a mere starting point for conversation. “Our hope is to jump-start conversations that lead to further study and the creation of car-free spaces,” said Burke. “Let’s give Chicagoans more car-free zones to walk, bike, shop, socialize or just relax.”

The proposal has undoubtedly been successful as the web is buzzing with the opinions of supporters and critics. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers are strong supporters of the Active Transportation Alliance and their commitment to make Chicago a safer place for bicyclists. Off of the Lakefront, there is a dearth of park areas in Chicago and this is the kind of forward-leaning thinking that will help keep Chicago as a world class city to visit, work and live in year round. 


Most significantly, Chicago today is vastly different than it was in the 1980s or even the mid-1990s. The State Street proposal was an effort to fight the trend of businesses and residents leaving for the suburbs. However, today there are literally hundreds of thousands more residents who live in the Loop, River North, and Streeterville. In addition, Chicago has grown immensely as a tourist attraction. Anyone who has tried to walk down Michigan Avenue in the summer realizes there is drastically more "foot traffic" than vehicular traffic. 

Creating a car free zone on Michigan Avenue will make this area of Chicago even more attractive as a destination. A compromise may be to allow buses to continue along dedicated lanes on Michigan Avenue and move other motor vehicles onto other streets. In any event, we support the "Car Free Zone" along Michigan Avenue and agree that this is an important conversation. The goal is to keep Chicago great.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Claim for Competitive Bicyclist Injured in Crash While on Bike Commute Settled


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Illinois Bicycle Lawyers Michael S. Keating and Joseph T. Vietri have secured a settlement for a bicycle commuter who was struck by an SUV at the intersection of Kingsbury Street and the bike lane on Kinzie Street in Chicago. The intersection of Kinzie Street and Kingsbury Street is a T-intersection with stop signs at all three corners. There is a protected bike lane that runs along both sides of Kinzie Street. 

The collision occurred on November 20, 2013 when the SUV driver failed to stop at the designated stop sign on Kingsbury Street near the East Bank Club prior to entering Kinzie Street. The bicyclist was riding in the designated bike lane westbound on Kinzie Street through its Kingsbury Street just prior to the collision. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers of Keating Law Offices reached out to several witnesses of the collision, including fellow bicyclists, and confirmed that the vehicle illegally failed to stop before entering the intersection.

The law in Chicago is very clear on the responsibility of a motorist to yield to oncoming traffic. Ordinance 9-24-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago states that if there is a stop sign the driver must 1) come to a complete stop and 2) proceed cautiously only if there is no oncoming traffic. The language of the Ordinance as it applies to this bicycle accident is as follows:
After the operator of a vehicle has stopped in obedience to a stop sign, at an intersection where a stop sign is erected at one or more entrances thereto, such operator shall proceed cautiously yielding to vehicles not so obliged to stop which are within the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard.
The bicyclist sustained a right ankle injury as a result of the impact. The bicyclist’s right ankle injury was especially troublesome because the bicyclist races competitively and was training for an upcoming USA Cycling event. Notably, the bicyclist’s physician ordered her to modify her training workouts due to her ankle injury. Thus, the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers made a claim with the SUV driver’s insurance carrier for the bicyclist’s injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of a normal life. 

"Loss of a normal life" is compensable damage in Illinois that is defined as “the temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life. This includes a person's inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life.” Here, the bicyclist sustained a temporary diminished ability to ride her bike. This compromised the bicyclist’s ability to train and compete at the level she did prior to the collision. "Loss of a normal life" varies from person to person. In this case, the bicyclist's competitive background made her "normal life" different than the average person's "normal life." Nonetheless, under the law in Illinois anyone injured in a bicycle crash that was caused by someone else is eligible to be compensated for their "loss of a normal life."
 

As is often the case, the insurance company of the SUV driver initially took the position that it was a “minor collision” and offered to pay only the bicyclist’s medical bills. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers refuse to accept insurance companies' low ball settlement offers and vow to recover all compensable damages under Illinois law. The final settlement reached was more than three times the initial settlement offer made by the insurance company. The final settlement terms also provided additional compensation for the property damage to the bicycle. 

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers take pride in successfully resolving cases without delay. The final settlement in this matter was reached within two months of the injured bicyclist retaining the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Bike Swap 2014 This SATURDAY in West Loop 11am - 4pm

The 2014 Winter Bike Swap is this Saturday, February 15th at Jak's Tap in the West Loop. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices will be there and will have lots of FREE Chicago Bike Flag t-shirts, hats, stickers and patches for Chicago's brave bicyclists who have battled this long winter. 

The Winter Bike Swap is sponsored by the Chicagoland Bicycle Coalition, Chicago Bike Winter and Break the Gridlock.

You can find more information on the event at the Winter Bike Swap's Facebook Page or at the Event Page on theChainlink.

Admittance to the event will be $5 at the door, or $20 with a one-year membership to the Chicagoland Bicycle Coalition and a free Winter Bike Swap t-shirt, in advance or at the door. Join the Chicagoland Bicycle Coalition for one year with free entrance to the Winter Bike Swap 2014 and a free Winter Bike Swap t-shirt.



U of I to Receive State Grant to Fund Road Word That Includes Additional Bike Lanes in Champaign-Urbana


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Last week Governor Pat Quinn’s office announced that the University of Illinois will be undergoing substantial changes at the Urbana-Champaign campus that will include additional bike lanes on busy parts of the campus. The University will receive $748,000 in state capital funds which will be used to develop improved pavements on Sixth Street between Armory Avenue and Gregory Drive, and Stadium Drive at South Neil Street (pictured above), as well as installing new traffic signals in said areas.
The bicycle lanes on Sixth Street and Stadium Drive will be a much needed addition. “We are grateful for this assistance from the state in completing these projects to improve streets and bike lanes for our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said University Chancellor, Phyllis Wise. According to Wise, these new bicycle lanes will be placed in busy areas of the campus, so the impact will be great. Governor Pat Quinn said, “Our investment will make a key area of campus safer and easier for bicyclists and pedestrians to use”.
This will be the latest project in Governor Pat Quinn’s “commitment to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward”. On January 30, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn, along with Transportation Secretary, Ann Schneider, announced that about $50 million would soon be spent on improving the transportation system in the state of Illinois. Adding bicycle lanes to the streets was one way they planned to create safe, alternative transportation options to the people of Illinois.
The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers of Keating Law Offices are strong advocates of bicycling in Illinois and are pleased to hear of these latest additions to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. Keating Law Offices has represented bicyclists in Champaign and Urbana who have been seriously injured while riding on or near public streets. Many of these injuries from bicycle accidents could have been avoided had the bicyclist had the option of riding in a bicycle lane. Bike lanes, especially protected bike lanes, serve as traffic calming measures in that the bike lane provides the bicyclist with a clear, distinct path of travel and also serves as a warning and indicator to motorists that bicycles are present. These factors contribute to a less dangerous cycling environment for bicyclists.
 

As bicycling continues to grow in Illinois, it is a positive signal that the state's largest public institution of higher learning and the State of Illinois itself are working to include bicycles in public service projects.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chicago Bicyclist Injured in Hit-and-Run Crash on Goose Island

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have been retained to represent a Chicago bicyclist who was injured in a hit-and-run on the near west side of Chicago.  The bicyclist was travelling eastbound down Division Street when an unknown black sedan struck him from behind, causing him to crash onto the pavement. The operator of the motor vehicle never stopped and instead, proceeded to drive on. The police report from the Chicago Police Department accurately identifies the accident as a hit and run. According to the City of Chicago’s Bicycle Crash Analysis, 25% of all bicycle crashes in 2012 were classified as hit-and-runs.

The bicyclist sustained severe injuries in the collision and was immediately transported to the emergency room in an ambulance as he was experiencing significant pain in his right elbow, knee and had sustained a very deep laceration. At the hospital, the bicyclist was diagnosed with an elbow fracture and had to undergo surgery. He is now receiving extensive follow-up care.

Once again, this collision also signifies the important of having Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage like this rider did. Many injured bicyclists do not realize that if they are hurt as the result the negligent actions of another driver -- and that driver is uninsured, underinsured, or never identified (as is often the case in a hit-and-run collision) -- they may be able to obtain financial compensation for their injuries from their own insurance provider. Even though all drivers in Illinois must legally have car insurance, there are many people who are willing to break that law and forgo this requirement. Time and again, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage has proven to be a vital protection for injured bicyclists -- the true victims who lose when drivers risk being on the road with no or insufficient insurance.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please do not hesitate to contact Illinois Bicycle Lawyer Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Business Hours) or  312-208-7702 (24/7) or at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. Keating Law Offices offers free, no obligation consultations to injured bicyclists. There are never any attorneys' fees or expenses unless the firm is able to make a recovery on your behalf.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Press Release: Two Keating Law Offices Attorneys Named "Rising Stars" Among Top Attorneys in Illinois

Chicago, Illinois - Attorneys Michael S. Keating and Alexander Loftus of Keating Law Offices, P.C. in Chicago, Illinois have been named to SuperLawyers Magazine's annual list of "Rising Stars." Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor. The selection for this respected list is made by the research team at Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

The annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area. The list will be published in the annual edition of Illinois SuperLawyers Magazine and in the February 2014 edition of Chicago Magazine.
 

Keating Law Offices founder, Michael S. Keating, was named to the "Rising Stars" list for the fourth straight year after also earning recognition in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Keating Law Offices Attorney Alexander Loftus was including in the “Rising Stars” list for the first time last year.

The Keating Law Offices attorneys were nominated by fellow attorneys and that nomination was reviewed by an attorney-led research team that reviews the credentials of potential candidates and assigns points based on a set of defined evaluation criteria. The point totals from the general survey and research process are then added to arrive at a final tally. 


Attorney Michael S. Keating said the following regarding these awards:
"The "SuperLawyers" awards are always particularly rewarding because they are based in large part on the opinions of fellow lawyers. I am very proud of the fact that Alex Loftus, who joined the firm last year, was again included on this list. These awards reflect our continued efforts to provide our clients and the Illinois bicycle community with the absolute best possible legal representation and advocacy efforts."
Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury firm in Illinois that concentrates its practice on bicycle related litigation. The firm is a national leader in the emerging field of bicycle law. Attorney Michael S. Keating is the Chairman of the Bicycle Litigation Committee of the American Association for Justice. 
The firm also successfully represents clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases stemming from transportation negligence, nursing home negligence and abuse, medical malpractice, premises liability and product liability. 

Keating Law Offices, P.C. may be found on the internet at www.KeatingLegal.com. The firm is located at 79 West Monroe, Suite 1024 in Chicago, Illinois. Phone: 312-239-6787. Email: Info@KeatingLegal.com.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chicago Bicyclist Doored in West Town

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers have been retained to represent a bicyclist who was the victim of a dooring in the West Town neighborhood in Chicago. The dooring occurred as the bicyclist was riding northbound on Wood Street at the same time as a driver of a vehicle suddenly opened his car door directly into the path of the bicyclist. Unable to evade the door, the bicyclist collided with it, and the collision caused her to be thrown from her bicycle onto the street. The motorist then went inside the television production office where he worked. Police who came to the scene were able to track the motorist to the vehicle on the street.

The bicyclist was taken to Rush University Medical Center due to pain in her right shoulder and elbow.
At the hospital, the bicyclist was physically examined and underwent x-rays. Since the collision she has also received orthopedic treatment as she continues to recover from her injuries.

According to the City of Chicago’s 2012 Bicycle Crash Analysis, Chicago has implemented several efforts to reduce the number of doorings in Chicago, including public awareness marketing campaigns and expanded driver education. Doorings are perhaps the type of bicycle vs. motor vehicle collision that are the most easily reduced. As the name of the City's campaign states, a driver exiting a vehicle need only LOOK! in order to avoid a dooring collision. Effective education that leads to new habits could be the key to reducing doorings.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please do not hesitate to contact Illinois Bicycle Lawyer Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Business Hours) or  312-208-7702 (24/7) or at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. The firm is committed to assisting any bicyclist injured anywhere in Illinois at any time. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. Keating Law Offices offers free, no obligation consultations to injured bicyclists. There are never any attorneys' fees or expenses unless the firm is able to make a recovery on your behalf. Please call anytime if you have a personal injury case from a bicycle crash you would like to discuss.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Chicago Bicyclist Riding In Bike Lane Injured in Left Hook Crash

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers of Keating Law Offices have been retained to represent a Chicago bicyclist struck by a motorist on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.  The bicyclist was riding lawfully in the bike lane along Milwaukee when the driver of an oncoming SUV started to make a left turn in front of the bicyclist. Although the bicyclist attempted to alert the motorist by yelling and ringing her bike's bell, the driver of the SUV collided with the bicyclist in Milwaukee Avenue. This is known as a "left hook" collision due to the vehicle's path into the bicyclist. The driver initially attempted to drive away from the scene but was chased down by another bicyclist.  When the police arrived on the scene, the driver claimed he did not see the bicyclist and that he did not even realize he had struck her.

The bicyclist sustained an injury to her ankle and was evaluated at a nearby hospital. Since the collision, she has undergone x-rays, physical therapy and has had to utilize crutches to walk.

According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, approximately 55% of all Chicago bicycle crashes occur at intersections. Moreover, 40% of all Chicago bicycle crashes occur as a result of a motorists' failure to yield. Sadly, our newest case is evidence of the same, as the motorist in this collision failed to pay proper attention to the bike lane as he made a left hand turn.  Drivers must be diligent in keeping a proper lookout for bicyclists when they are operating a motor vehicle.  

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please do not hesitate to contact Illinois Bicycle Lawyer Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Business Hours) or  312-208-7702 (24/7) or at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. Keating Law Offices offers free, no obligation consultations to injured bicyclists. There are never any attorneys' fees or expenses unless the firm is able to make a recovery on your behalf.