Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Claim Settled for Bicyclist Struck While Crossing Busy Street in Crosswalk

Illinois Bicycle Lawyer Michael S. Keating secured a substantial settlement for a bicyclist who was struck by a motorist at the intersection of Janes Avenue and 83rd Street in suburban Woodridge last August. The bicyclist, who was riding northbound along the sidewalk parallel to Janes Avenue, was crossing the intersection in the crosswalk pursuant to a green light and pedestrian “walk signal.” The motorist, who was subject to a red light, attempted to make a left turn off of eastbound 83rd Street onto southbound Janes Avenue. As the driver proceeded into the turn, she entered the marked crosswalk and struck the bicyclist.

While adult bicyclists most often ride their bicycle in the street, this is not always the case due to the design of a roadway or intersection or when the roadway is an extremely busy and dangerous throughfare. Pursuant to Section 11-1512(c) of the Illinois Vehicle Code, when a bicyclist is using a crosswalk to cross a roadway, the rider is treated as a "pedestrian" under the law. And Illinois law is very clear on the responsibility of an Illinois motorist to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk at an intersection. Section 11-1002 of the Illinois Vehicle Code states that “the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.” This responsibility is made even more clear when the pedestrian is both in a crosswalk and with a green light and walk signal.

The bicyclist in this case sustained severe injuries as a result of this collision. The brunt of the impact was sustained by the bicyclist’s left leg, which was crushed between his bicycle and the driver’s car. The bicyclist was immediately taken to the emergency room with excruciating left leg pain and was required to undergo medical treatments for the next two months following the crash.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers made a claim with the driver’s insurance carrier for the bicyclist's "elements of damages." Elements of damages are the different categories of a claim that make up a claim. In this case, claims were made for the bicyclist's personal injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of a normal life. As we have mentioned in previous blog posts, “loss of a normal life” is a compensable damage in Illinois. It is defined as “the temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life,” and “includes a person’s inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life.” Under Illinois law, anyone injured in a bicycle crash caused by someone else is eligible for compensation for their loss of a normal life, since “loss of a normal life” varies from person to person and case to case.

Here, the bicyclist sustained a temporary inability to ride his bike or engage in the daily activities to which he was generally accustomed. Before the crash, the bicyclist was extremely active—he worked out at the gym and ran or rode his bike every single day. For six weeks after the crash however, he could not engage in any of his normal physical activities due to his injuries.

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. All initial consultations are confidential and free.