Friday, February 13, 2015

Claim for Bicyclist Doored by Cab Driver Settled - Even After Insurance Company Goes Out of Business

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have obtained a settlement for a Chicago bicyclist who was doored by a taxi cab driver in October of 2010. The bicycle accident occurred on Halsted Street near its intersection with Division in Chicago. 

Halsted Street has a bike lane on either side. The incident occurred as the bicyclist was traveling southbound in the bike lane on Halsted. The taxi cab initially passed the bicyclist on southbound Halsted and then pulled into a parallel parking spot in front of a cab stand. 

In spite of the fact the taxi cab just passed the bicyclist, the cab driver threw open the cab door just as the bicyclist went past. The bike accident occurred when the bicyclist had zero opportunity to stop or avoid the door and a collision occurred. Interestingly, the responding police officer did not write a report for a traffic crash, but instead wrote the incident up as an "assault" given the truly irresponsible behavior on the part of the cab driver.

As a result of this "dooring," the bicyclist was thrown over her handlebars and landed face first on the street. This severe impact caused the bicyclist to suffer "road rash" to her face and knock a tooth loose. The tooth was ultimately replaced by an orthodontist.

The attorneys at Keating Law Offices filed suit against the cab company and served them with the lawsuit. After their attorneys entered into the case, the insurance company for the taxicab company, Ulico Insurance, went out of business because the state determined that the insurance company did not have enough money to keep operating. This is what is known as "receivership." 

Since this bike accident happened in Illinois, the Illinois Guaranty Fund became involved. the Illinois Guaranty Fund is a state-run program that essentially provides "insurance for insurance." It exists so that when there are situations like this where there was an absence of insurance because of some issue with the insurance company, that there is still some opportunity for recourse. 

The bicycle attorneys at Keating Law Offices stayed with the case and pursued it for four years. Attorney Mike Keating said, "This was a very frustrating situation. Not only was the bicyclist severely injured by the inexcusable actions of the cab driver, but the insurance company for the cab company that should have been there to compensate her for her personal injuries essentially disappeared. Yet, in the end by fighting for our client we were able to obtain compensation for her." 

This situation also reflects why it is important to seek legal advice when dealing with a personal injury case. The issues surrounding insurance companies are often very complicated and far from simple.  The attorneys at Keating Law Offices have the trial experience to handle practically any case related to a bicycle crash or accident.  All initial consultations are confidential and free and there are absolutely no legal fees unless we make a financial recovery for you. 

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 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly.