Summer has officially arrived in Illinois and that means that many of the state’s roads and highways will be dotted with motorcycles. Many people who love to ride are also aware of how vulnerable they are to motorcycle accidents.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 5,000 people die every year in motorcycle crashes. If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, practice these five safety tips to actively avoid motorcycle accidents in Illinois.
When you are riding, always practice defensive driving. Always expect the drivers around you to do things that could put you in harm’s way, such as making a turn without putting their turn signal on. Also, be aware that other drivers may not see you. They are could be either distracted and not focused on the road or you may be in their vehicle’s blind spot.
Proper Maintenance of Your Vehicle
Make sure that your bike is in good working order, including changing the oil on a regular basis. Always make sure that headlights, brake lights, horn, and turn signals are working. Tire tread and pressure are critical to being able to safely handle your vehicle, especially if you need to stop suddenly.
Watch the road around you for any hazards, such as sand, potholes, and debris or trash left by other vehicles. Oil slicks on the road can also be dangerous for motorcyclists. If you see puddles that look like rainbows, that is an indication of oil on the road.
Drinking and Driving
If you have been drinking, never get on your motorcycle. Alcohol seriously affects a person’s ability to react, as well as maneuver a motorcycle. According to national statistics, almost 60 percent of single motorcycle accidents are alcohol-related.
Safe Driving Course
Whether you are a new driver or an experienced one, there are multiple locations throughout the state which offer free motorcycle safety programs. These programs are sponsored by the state of Illinois and usually take place at area colleges. These courses help riders increase their skills and decrease risks of crashes, and in some circumstances, may even lower the cost of motorcycle insurance.
Although every auto accident is different, there are some commonalities that accidents do have. One of those is the types of injuries that victims sustain in the crashes. A seasoned Chicago accident attorney has successfully represented many clients who have suffered the most common types of accident injuries in Illinois and is available to discuss the circumstances of your case.
If you have been in a car crash, it is important to realize that signs you have been injured may not show up right away. This is why people in crashes should always seek out medical treatment right away to ensure that if they have been injured, they will receive proper medical care. Delaying a visit to the doctor can result in very dangerous medical conditions and can even be fatal. The most common types of injuries include:
Concussions or Other Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can be very dangerous if not treated. Concussions are one of the most common brain injuries people suffer in a collision. A concussion happens when a person’s brain is severely shaken, usually caused by the victim’s head slamming into the steering wheel or window upon crash impact.
A person suffering a concussion needs to get lots of rest in order for the brain to heal from the bruise is suffered. When a person has been diagnosed with a concussion, it is also critical to watch for any symptoms which could indicate a more serious trauma has occurred. These symptoms include disorientation, headaches, severe nausea, and vomiting. More serious brain injuries could call for surgery in order to relieve pressure or bleeding in the brain.
Fractured or broken bones is usually an obvious injury in a crash and victims typically end up at the emergency room following the accident. This is particularly true in situations of compound fractures, where the bones are mangled in such a way the come right through the victim’s skin. Compound fractures can really be dangerous to victims because of the high risk of infection if not treated right away. Treatment for other fractures can include casting or surgery for the placement of metal plates and screws to hold the bone together so it will heal.
One of the most common car accident injuries is whiplash. Whiplash – or other neck injuries – occurs because the impact of one vehicle smashing into another often causes a person’s head to violently shake forward to back, or from side to side. These jerking movements can cause strain on neck ligaments, resulting in painful whiplash.
Treatment of whiplash usually involves icing to reduce swelling for a few days and then switching to heat application. A neck collar or brace is also helpful. In most cases, whiplash will heal, however, some victims may also suffer from back disc herniation which can require physical therapy and/or surgery.
Another common – and difficult to treat – injury that people suffer in auto accidents is an injury to the back or spine. Back injuries can range from mild, such as dislocation or a disc or back strain, all the way to more serious injury, which can result in paralysis and loss of mobility.
Treatment for back injuries depends on the extent of the injury and what you physician feels is best for you. Common treatment choices include rest, physical therapy, or surgery.
Knee and Leg Injuries
When you consider where our legs are while we are driving, it is not really surprising that injuries to the knee and other areas of the leg are included in the list of most common car accident injuries. Victims can suffer from bruises, cuts, or fractures. Knees are especially vulnerable and often become dislocated or tear in a crash. Other vulnerable areas are the ankles and toes.
Many people who have been involved in car accidents know that even a minor accident can be a somewhat traumatic experience. The initial shock of the crash, arrival of police, witnesses watching, and seeing damage to your vehicle can feel surreal.
This feeling is often coupled with an adrenaline rush and it is not uncommon for someone who was just in a crash to not realize that they have sustained an injury until hours – sometimes even days – after the crash.
When this happens, many victims ask themselves, “What if my injuries from a car accident in Illinois don’t show up right away?”
It is the release of adrenaline, along with endorphins, that can cause the masking of pain from injuries. This often happens if your ligaments, muscles, or tendons have been injured.
When the soft tissue has been injured, there usually is no immediate outward sign, such as a cut or bruising. The symptoms tend to creep up gradually.
A victim may begin to suffer from pain, swelling, and decreased mobility. If left untreated, a soft tissue injury can become worse and more difficult to heal.
Other common – and dangerous – injuries which do not always show symptoms right away include internal injuries and brain injuries. The symptoms for these injuries are often silent and it is not until the situation becomes life-threatening that the victim seeks out medical treatment.
The possible delay of injury symptoms is an important reason why you should always seek out medical treatment immediately following a crash, even if you do not think you are hurt.
A doctor can examine you and determine if the accident has caused any injuries, especially any that could be fatal or result in permanent disability.
Seeking out medical treatment right after an accident also establishes a potential personal injury claim. If too much time elapses between the time of the accident and when you seek medical advice, the insurance company could deny your claim by accusing you of being injured after the accident.
Although your Chicago car accident attorney may be able to still obtain financial damages in this situation, it can be much more difficult to prove.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to collect damages for your injuries. The money normally does not come from the at-fault driver, but instead, is paid to you by his or her vehicle insurance carrier.
Although that driver may be 100 percent at fault for the accident, there are several mistakes that can ruin your car accident case in Illinois. The following is a brief overview of what those mistakes are. For more specific information, consider consulting with a Chicago personal injury attorney.
Failure to Contact Police
When you are in an accident, the first thing you should do is call 911, even if the other driver says it is not necessary. If no one involved in the accident requires an ambulance, you should still insist that a police officer be dispatched to the scene.
The officer’s accident report could be invaluable for your claim, providing specific information such as weather and traffic conditions, as well as the details of what caused the accident.
Failure to Seek Prompt Medical Attention
If is fairly common for symptoms of car accident injuries not to appear for several hours or sometimes even days. If you do not seek to obtain a medical diagnosis right away, the insurance company can try claiming you obtained the injury after the crash. Or they can say that you waited to go to the doctor because the injury is not as bad as you are claiming.
Failure to Contact with an Injury Attorney
Although you may think your case is cut and dry and your claim will be approved right away, insurance companies are notorious for looking for ways to reduce or deny claims that accident victims really do deserve. An injury attorney can protect you from the manipulations and tactics commonly used by adjusters.
Providing a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
One of those tactics used by insurance adjusters is to act as if they have your best interest in mind. The adjuster may act helpful and concerned to gain your trust. They are trained to manipulate conversations to get victims to say things that can sound as if they are admitting guilt, such as apologizing for the accident. Never agree to give a statement without first talking with your attorney.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a crash, contact a seasoned Chicago car accident attorney to discuss what financial damages you may be entitled to for your injuries.
There is an old saying, “Bad things happen to good people.” This often has a ring of truth to it, especially when we think about accident victims. Most people who are injured in accidents caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness are innocent victims who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One of the most common reflexes of accident victims is to immediately apologize after the accident even though they were not at fault.
Many victims also hesitate in pursuing damages for their injuries. If you have been injured in an accident, you may be asking yourself, “Should I feel guilty about pursuing a personal injury case in Illinois?”
These clients often share with their Chicago accident attorney that they feel guilty about receiving money, feeling as if they do not deserve it.
If you have sustained accident injuries, the money you may be awarded is money that you are entitled to because of the amount of medical expenses you have incurred from the injury.
Even if you have health insurance, it is rare for a person’s health insurance to cover 100 percent of medical expenses. Why should you have to cover out-of-pocket expenses for injuries caused by another person?
Financial compensation for the travel expense of going back and forth to all medical appointments may also be awarded. Again, why should you have to pay to cover for someone else’s negligence?
It is money you are entitled to because of the loss of your weekly paycheck from being unable to work while you recovered. Many victims who feel guilty about seeking personal injury damages may not feel they lost work time because they used sick, vacation, and personal time while they recovered.
Although you may have received a paycheck each week, you are still entitled to be reimbursed for the loss of those benefits.
In the majority of accident claims, the damages are paid through the at-fault party’s insurance company. It is typically not coming directly from his or her wallet. The purpose of personal injury claim is to “make the victim whole” again and victims should not feel guilty for doing something they have every right under the law to do.
For more questions about accident claims, contact a seasoned Chicago personal injury attorney to discuss what legal options may be available for your particular case.
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