Friday, November 13, 2015

Denied Claim for Rockford Bicyclist Ultimately Results in $100,000.00 Settlement

Illinois Bicycle Law
In 2011 a Rockford bicyclist was out on a ride for exercise. A diagnosed diabetic, the bicyclist had used bicycling as a way to stay in shape and maintain his weight. Through proper diet and regular exercise from bicycling, the bicyclist's doctor said that his diabetes was "under control" and the bicyclist was a "model patient." However, his life took a drastic turn when he was struck by a car and suffered a nerve injury to his face. 

Failure to Stop At Stop Sign Leads to Collision

The crash occurred when the bicyclist approached the roadway from a bike path. There was a stop sign for bicycle traffic on the path and the bicyclist came to a complete stop. He rode into the intersection to continue onto the bike path and was struck by a car that made a quick lane change from across another lane in a last-second attempt to turn. The motorist later admitted he was late in realizing he wanted to make a turn and crashed into the bicyclist. 

Serious Injuries from Bicycle Crashes

The impact from the crash threw the bicyclist from his bike and he landed face first. The impact was so substantial that the bike helmet was completely destroyed. The impact of the helmet pushed into the bicyclist's upper face and caused a nerve injury to what is known as the trigeminal nerve. This nerve helps control function in the bottom, middle, and top of a person's face. It is a slow-healing injury that has an unknown recovery. 

The offending motorist, although accountable for his actions, was nonetheless responsible for violating numerous Rules of the Road. The responding police office cited the motorist for failing to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist in the intersection. In addition, the motorist
violated Section 11-1003.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code in causing the collision. Section 1003.1 requires that drivers of vehicles exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person operating a bicycle. (625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1).

Bicycle Accident Case

What seems like a "clear cut" case became complicated when the insurance adjuster handling the claim for the motorist's insurance company denied the claim. Her reason for denying the claim? She thought it was not possible that a bike helmet forced into a person's face could cause nerve damage. Her personal opinion (keep in mind the claims adjuster is not a doctor) was that the diabetes most likely caused the nerve injury even though there was nothing in the medical records to substantiate this "diagnosis." 

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices were forced to file a lawsuit in Winnebago County to protect the interests of the bicyclist. After two years of litigation the case finally settled after the bicyclist's doctor and the expert neurologist hired by our firm testified that the nerve injury was from the bike crash. The expert neurologist was even able to demonstrate how the point of injury was exactly aligned with where the helmet impacted the bicyclist's face in the crash. 

The case ultimately settled for $100,000.00 which represents the full amount of the motorist's insurance policy. This was also the very same amount that the injured bicyclist agreed to accept - before the insurance company forced him to file a lawsuit against their own insured. 

The case is another example of how when a crash happens and you are injured, even if it is not your fault, that does not mean the insurance company will look out for your best interest. The people handling your claim are claims adjusters, not claims payers. Their job is to do what they can to try and convince you to take less than you are owed. The insurance company will always do what it can to protect its own interest. But Keating Law Offices will always do what we can to make sure that every opportunity is given to injured bicyclists. We will do what we can to assist any bicyclist injured anywhere in Illinois at any time.

Illinois Bicycle Attorneys at Keating Law Offices

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends). Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.