Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chicago Bicyclist Receives $295,000.00 Settlement for Personal Injury Claim After Right Hook by Taxicab Caught on Tape

CDOT Footage Showed Bicyclist Struck By Turning Taxi

A Chicago bicyclist suffered a broken collarbone and a fractured rib when he was "right hooked" by the driver of a taxicab in 2015. The bicycle crash occurred at the intersection of Kinzie Street and LaSalle Street in the River North neighborhood. At the time of the crash the bicyclist was riding westbound in the bike lane on Kinzie Street. At the same time, the cab driver was driving west on Kinzie and attempting to make a right-hand turn onto northbound LaSalle Street.

Bicycle Crash Captured on CDOT Surveillance Camera

The driver of the cab, despite the presence of the Kinzie bike lane, never checked for bicycle traffic and turned right immediately across the bicyclist. The bicyclist was thrown from his bicycle onto the roadway as a result of the impact. The attorneys at Keating Law Offices were able to obtain video footage from the City of Chicago by immediately requesting it. Nearby Chicago Department of Transportation cameras captured the incident and this photograph depicts the moment the bicyclist was thrown threw the air after he was ejected from his bicycle. 

Taxicab Driver Violated Chicago Bike Laws With "Right Hook" Turn

The operator of the taxicab violated state and local traffic laws in making this turn. In Chicago the Municipal Code addresses this scenario. Section 9-16-020 specifically prohibits right turns in front of bicycles. The infographic below details right-hook and left-hook bicycle crashes. The Chicago bicycle law states:
When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any highway, street, or road, the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking such bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at that intersection or at any alley or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle.” 
As a law firm that focuses on representing victims of bicycle crashes, right-hook collisions like this are common, especially in congested areas like River North. The reason that these types of crashes are so common is simple: the motorist does not see the bicyclist even though they have the opportunity to do so. The motorist typically makes the turn without ever checking for other traffic - including bicycles - when making the turn and the right-hook collision ensues.

The key words in Section 9-16-020 of the Chicago Municipal Code are "until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle." The weight of these words are that it is incumbent upon the taxi cab driver to be absolutely certain that the path is clear before initiating a right turn. A taxicab driver is also supposed to be a "professional driver" and operating their vehicle to to meet the highest standards. 

The injuries from this crash were very severe and required extensive treatment. The bicyclist's fractured collarbone had to be surgically repaired and the other injuries took a long time to heal. During this time the bicyclist was not able to work and lost wages that he otherwise would have earned. Fortunately, this financial settlement of $295,000.00 does more than compensate the bicyclist for his medical bills and lost wages from when he couldn't work. This settlement takes into account the severity of the injury and provides compensation for the pain and suffering and loss of a normal life he experienced as a result of his injuries. 

Keating Law Offices Has A History Of Prosecuting Taxicab and Rideshare Cases

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm has extensive experience handling cases again taxi cab companies and ride share companies like Uber and Lyft for bicycle accidents caused by their drivers. 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 Mike@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly.