A lot more attention is being paid to bicycle safety in Chicago and other Illinois cities. The Illinois Department of Transportation devotes an entire section of its website to biking safely in the state. And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is spearheading the construction of dozens of bike lanes across the city in an effort to reduce the incidence of bicycle accidents. But it’s important to keep in mind that bicyclists are not only found in urban centers. This is especially true if you’re driving a passenger vehicle in a rural area.
Sadly, one motorist in a rural part of Lake County might not have been as careful around a bicyclist as he or she should have been. Last Thursday afternoon around 2:15pm, a 34-year old woman was celebrating her birthday by pedaling her bicycle southbound on Route 45 just east of Fourth Lake in unincorporated Lake Villa. Prior to reaching the intersection with Grand Avenue, a 2000 Toyota Camry also heading south struck the bicycle from behind. The woman was rushed to a Libertyville hospital, but was subsequently pronounced dead.
Though no criminal citations have been issued as of yet, it appears that the driver of the car will be held primarily or solely responsible for the death of the bicyclist. If that does turn out to be the case, the woman’s surviving family members could elect to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Lake County against the driver. This suit could allow the plaintiffs to collect reimbursement for ambulance charges, hospital expenses, and burial costs. A jury may also award monetary damages for pain and suffering and loss of care or companionship. And the grieving family might also be entitled to compensation for future wages the woman might have earned in her lifetime had the tragic accident never taken place.