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Can you recover damages from your motorcycle wreck?

The late Indian summer weather that made this year's World Series not just tolerable, but downright pleasant for jubilant Cubs fans has also lured many motorcyclists back out onto the highways for a few final fall runs before winter descends on Northern Illinois.

But inattentive drivers — never particularly cognizant of motorcyclists even at the height of the riding season — are often not expecting to see the two-wheeled cycles out in force so late in the season. Caught up in their own wool-gathering, they can cut off bikers' paths, causing them to be grievously injured and even killed.

Riders assume great risks when they head out on the highway, but that doesn't mean that if they get mowed down by a motorist that they don't have rights they can assert.Approximately 67 percent of wrecks involving motorcycles and at least one other vehicle, it's the fault of the other driver for cutting off or striking the motorcyclist.

In the years since 1999, while passenger and driver fatality rates of those riding in four-wheeled vehicles has continued to decline, the death rates of those on motorcycles has doubled, and then some.

Even if a motorcyclist is partially to blame for the accident that injures them, Illinois contributory negligence laws allow for partial recovery if a claim for damages or lawsuit is filed against the at-fault party. This is important, because medical bills for catastrophic injuries that are common in motorcycle-vehicle accidents mount up fast and can far outpace even the most generous health insurance policies.

If you wind up injured, even if you may have contributed to the accident, it's important to learn from a legal professional whether financial recovery may be possible.

Source: Findlaw, "Motorcycle Accidents: Overview," accessed Nov. 03, 2016

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