Motorcycle use in Waukegan, IL, has experienced steady growth in recent years, reflecting the city’s vibrant culture and diverse landscape. Situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, Waukegan’s scenic routes and winding roads have become a haven for motorcycle enthusiasts. The city’s pleasant weather, especially during summer, encourages riders to hit the streets, creating a strong motorcycle community.
Waukegan’s strategic location also makes it a popular starting point for adventurous bikers exploring the scenic beauty of northern Illinois and neighboring Wisconsin. Local motorcycle clubs regularly organize rides and events, fostering a sense of camaraderie among riders and contributing to the city’s social fabric.
However, with increased motorcycle use comes the need for enhanced safety measures. The Waukegan authorities have been proactive in promoting motorcycle safety awareness campaigns, urging riders to wear helmets, follow traffic rules, and undertake proper training. However, Waukegan motorcycle accidents have been on the rise. In fact, 2021 saw the highest rate of fatal motorcycle accidents since 1975.
Motorcycles offer an exhilarating and liberating mode of transportation, but they also come with inherent risks. Of course, motorcyclists must take all necessary precautions when riding, but there is only so much you can do to avoid an accident that’s caused by another driver’s negligence. At the Waukegan motorcycle accident law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our dedicated personal injury attorneys have represented accident victims for over 35 years. Over this time, we’ve recovered compensation on behalf of countless clients and their families, helping them overcome the challenges they face that follow in the wake of a serious motorcycle accident.
To learn more about how we can help connect you with the compensation you deserve for what you’ve been through, give Briskman Briskman & Greenberg a call today at 877-595-4878.
Common Causes of Waukegan Motorcycle Accidents
While these collisions can occur for many different reasons, the most common causes of Waukegan motorcycle accidents are:
Drivers Don’t See Motorcyclists
One of the leading factors contributing to motorcycle accidents is a lack of visibility. Motorcycles are smaller and more compact than other vehicles on the road, making them less noticeable to drivers. Drivers may often fail to see motorcycles when changing lanes, making turns, or merging into traffic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a staggering 36% of motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles violating the motorcyclist’s right of way due to this lack of visibility.
Distracted driving has emerged as a major concern for road safety in recent years. The use of mobile devices, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving, diverts drivers’ attention from the road and increases the risk of accidents. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable as they lack the protection of the steel frame provided by cars, trucks and SUVs. NHTSA reports indicate that distracted drivers contribute to 12% of fatal motorcycle crashes.
Excessive speed is another significant factor in motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles inherently offer higher maneuverability and acceleration than larger vehicles, leading some riders to engage in speeding and aggressive driving behaviors. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), speeding contributed to 32% of fatal motorcycle accidents.
Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs a driver’s ability to make quick decisions and react to potential hazards on the road. Drug and alcohol intoxication is a major cause of all motorcycle accidents, including those where the motorcyclist was determined to be at fault. In fact, a recent report by the NHTSA found that 27 percent of all motorcycle accident fatalities involved alcohol.
Some drivers mistakenly believe that motorcycles can maneuver out of dangerous situations more easily, or they underestimate the motorcycle’s speed. Such assumptions can lead to risky behaviors like cutting off motorcyclists. Even when accidental, these mistakes put motorcyclists at a much higher chance of suffering serious or fatal injuries.
In urban areas, drivers sometimes open their car doors without checking for oncoming traffic, leading to a motorcyclist crashing into the door. Drivers and passenger should always check their side mirrors to ensure that a motorcyclist is not approaching before opening a car door.
Following too closely behind a motorcycle can be perilous. If the motorcyclist needs to brake suddenly, a tailgating car may not have enough time to stop, causing a rear-end collision. However, drivers frequently tailgate motorcyclists based on the driver’s mistaken assumption a motorcyclist will continue traveling at a high rate of speed.
Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars. A common cause of accidents is when a driver fails to check their blind spots before changing lanes, merging, or turning. This oversight can result in a collision if a motorcyclist is in the spot the driver failed to check.
Lane splitting, where motorcyclists ride between two lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic, is legal in some states but not in others. In Illinois, lane splitting is not permitted. Improper lane splitting can lead to serious accidents, especially if drivers are not expecting motorcycles to pass them in tight spaces.
While motorcycle accidents occur far less frequently than car accidents, they are responsible for a disproportionate number of serious injuries and deaths. For example, in 2021, 5,932 motorcyclists were killed due to preventable accidents. This represents 14 percent of all traffic fatalities; however, at the same time, motorcycles make up only four percent of the vehicles on the road.
Types of Injuries from Waukegan Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can have devastating consequences, often resulting in severe injuries that leave victims and their families grappling with physical, emotional, and financial burdens. As experienced Waukegan personal injury lawyers, we have witnessed the harrowing aftermath of countless motorcycle collisions and understand the importance of advocating for those who have suffered such injuries. Some of the most common injuries we’ve seen following a Waukegan motorcycle accident include the following:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries due to the lack of protective barriers around them. Even when wearing helmets, the impact of a collision can lead to concussions, contusions, or more severe brain damage. TBIs can result in long-term cognitive impairments, memory loss, and emotional disturbances, altering the victim’s life forever.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
The force of impact during a motorcycle accident can cause severe damage to the spinal cord, leading to paralysis or partial loss of motor functions. These life-changing injuries can require ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, and specialized equipment to enable the victim to adapt to a new way of life.
Fractured Bones and Broken Bones
Fractures and broken bones are common in motorcycle accidents, primarily due to the lack of protection for the rider. Collisions often result in broken legs, arms, ribs, and collarbones, leading to lengthy recovery periods and potential long-term complications.
When a motorcyclist is thrown off their bike during an accident, their unprotected skin can suffer from abrasions and road rash as it scrapes against the pavement. These injuries can lead to infection and may require skin grafts, causing pain and disfigurement.
The force of an impact following a collision can cause a rider’s internal organs to be damaged or punctured. Internal injuries may not be immediately apparent, and their symptoms may surface later, requiring emergency medical attention.
What Happens in Waukegan Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
As personal injury lawyers, our primary goal is to help motorcycle accident victims seek justice and compensation for their injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, victims may be entitled to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Proving negligence on the part of another driver, a faulty vehicle part, or hazardous road conditions can be critical in pursuing a successful personal injury claim.
Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Case
In an Illinois motorcycle accident lawsuit, proving negligence is essential for the injured party to establish the liability of the at-fault party. Proving negligence involves demonstrating that the defendant breached their duty of care, and this breach directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries and resulting damages. To establish negligence, the following elements must typically be shown:
Duty of Care
The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed them a duty of care. In the context of a motorcycle accident, this means showing that the defendant had a legal obligation to operate their vehicle responsibly and reasonably to avoid causing harm to others on the road.
Breach of Duty
The plaintiff must provide evidence that the defendant breached their duty of care. This involves showing that the defendant’s actions or failure to act fell below the standard of care expected of a reasonable and prudent driver in similar circumstances. For instance, if the defendant was speeding, distracted, or violated traffic laws, it could be considered a breach of duty.
The plaintiff must establish a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the injuries sustained in the motorcycle accident. It needs to be shown that the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in causing the accident and the resulting harm to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff must provide evidence of actual damages resulting from the accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other measurable losses.
How Can Motorcyclists Prove Another Driver Was Negligent?
To prove negligence, a motorcycle accident lawyer may rely on any of the following types of evidence:
Police Reports: Official police reports generated at the scene of the accident can provide critical details about the crash, including statements from witnesses and initial findings about fault.
Witness Testimony: Eyewitness accounts can help establish how the accident occurred and who was at fault. Gathering contact information from witnesses at the scene is vital for later testimony or statements.
Accident Reconstruction: In complex cases, accident reconstruction experts may be employed to analyze the scene, vehicle damage, and other evidence to recreate the sequence of events and determine fault.
Surveillance Footage: If available, any surveillance or traffic camera footage can provide objective evidence of the accident.
Medical Records: Medical documentation detailing the plaintiff’s injuries, treatments, and ongoing medical needs can help link the injuries to the accident.
Expert Testimony: Expert witnesses, such as medical professionals, engineers, or accident reconstruction experts, can provide professional opinions regarding the cause of the accident and the defendant’s negligence.
Phone Records: In some cases, an experienced Waukegan motorcycle accident lawyer can use the other driver’s cell phone records to establish that they were on the phone or texting at the time of the accident—and, therefore, distracted.
Have You Been Injured in a Waukegan Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a motorcycle collision, it is important you understand your rights and what you need to do to pursue a claim for financial compensation. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we understand what you and your family are going through during this difficult time. For nearly 40 years, we’ve been supporting accident victims through similar situations, helping to connect them with the meaningful compensation they need to start the process of moving on with their lives after an accident. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients and never bill you for our services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. To learn more, and to speak with a Waukegan motorcycle accident attorney today, call 877-595-4878. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.