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Winnebago County motorcycle accident lawyerSummer is just around the corner and throughout the greater Chicago area, motorcycle enthusiasts are excited to get on the road. Riding a motorcycle can be an efficient and enjoyable means of transportation, but it is not without its risks. Motorcyclist deaths happen 28 times more often than fatal traffic accidents involving other vehicles. As with many personal injury claims, some motorcycle accidents are completely the fault of another driver, and other times, the blame must be shared. Fortunately, Illinois liability laws allow an individual to seek compensation for damages caused by an accident even if he or she was partially responsible.

Contributory Negligence Laws

The term “contributory negligence” refers to a situation in which a claimant (person bringing the negligence or personal injury claim) in some way contributes to the injury-causing accident. The exact definition of contributory negligence depends on state law.

In Illinois, a claimant can still pursue compensation for damages if he or she was less than 50% percent responsible for the incident. If the claimant’s contributory negligence is 51% or more, he or she is not entitled to compensation. When the blame assigned to a claimant is decided to be more than zero but less than 50%, the compensation he or she is eligible for will be reduced in proportion to the blame assigned to them.

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysSpring is slowing arriving in Northern Illinois, and many motorcyclists cannot wait to jump on their bikes and ride. But, what happens if you are injured in a motorcycle accident or your loved one was killed while riding a motorcycle? Not only is a motorcycle accident a terrifying ordeal to experience, it also can result in unexpected medical bills, lost wages from missed work, and ongoing expenses like physical therapy and rehabilitation. Fortunately, you may be able to receive financial compensation for your motorcycle injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.

Assigning Liability in a Motorcycle Crash

In most motorcycle accident cases, it is important to determine who was liable for the accident. In some cases, it is easy to tell who is to blame. For example, if you were riding your motorcycle and you were hit by a motorist who was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she will most likely be held liable for the accident. The question of liability usually comes down to whether or not a party was negligent. An individual is negligent when he or she acts in a careless or dangerous manner and causes damage to another person. In personal injury suits, the burden of proof is on the claimant to prove that the defendant acted negligently and caused the injury.

Damages in a Traffic Accident involving a Motorcycle

The word “damages” is used to describe the harm, both economic and noneconomic, that an accident causes an injured party. Generally, the more substantial the injury, the higher the amount of compensable injury damages there are. Damages in a motorcycle injury case often include the claimant’s:

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Rockford motorcycle crash lawyersAs spring turns into summer over the next few weeks, more and more motorcycles will be out on Illinois roadways. Helmet laws have long been a topic of intense debate for motorcycle riders across the country, as each state has the freedom to make its own laws—or not—regarding helmet use. In Illinois, there are no helmet laws for motorcycle riders, which means that each rider must decide for himself or herself whether or not to wear one.

Advocates of mandatory helmet laws believe that wearing a helmet decreases the likelihood of serious injury in a crash—an outcome that serves the public interest. Those who oppose helmet laws maintain that because it is the rider who is at risk, the rider should have the freedom to go helmetless. Some riders even go so far as to suggest that while helmets may protect the head from impacts, they can actually cause neck injuries.

Added Weight

The basis for the claim is that a helmet adds weight to the riders head and neck. When the motorcycle is moving, the head and helmet combination is moving at the same speed. If the motorcycle stops quickly—such as during a crash—the head and helmet will continue moving forward. The theory holds that in many cases, the inertia of the head and helmet is too much for the rider’s neck, which can cause broken vertebrae or even a severed spinal cord.

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