Dooring bicycle accidents occur when a parked motorist opens their car door and a cyclist crashes into it. Many of these accidents occur when a bicyclist actually strikes the door, but some may occur when bicyclists swerve to avoid the open door in their path. Dooring accidents, as well as other types of bicycle accidents, are responsible for thousands of bicyclist injuries every year.
If you suffered injuries in a dooring accident and believe another party is at fault, the attorneys at Max Meyers Law can evaluate your case and help you recover compensation for your damages. Call us today at 425-399-7000.
Who Is Liable for a Dooring Bike Accident?
Motorists and Passengers
According to Washington state traffic laws, motorists and passengers must not open their car doors until it is reasonably safe to do so. A motorist or passenger may be negligent and liable for a bicyclist’s dooring accident injuries for:
- Failing to be aware of their surroundings
- Failing to check for oncoming bicyclists (failing to check mirrors)
- Failing to wait until it was reasonably safe before opening their door
- Leaving car doors open for an unnecessary amount of time
- Operating their vehicles and opening their doors while distracted, drowsy or intoxicated
While motorists and passengers are responsible for looking for bicyclists in the door-zone before opening their doors, bicyclists also have a responsibility to pay attention to the road ahead and be aware of their surroundings and hazards that may pose a risk to their safety. Bicyclists also must avoid striking into a door when they have the opportunity to do so.
Even if you were partially liable for the accident, you may still be able to recover damages. However, your damages decrease in proportion to your liability. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages for your bike accident injuries, but you were 40 percent negligent, you will only recover $60,000 ($100,000 minus 40 percent).
Proving Liability in Dooring Accidents
Any insurance claims or lawsuits filed as a result of the dooring accident will depend on fault. So, it is vital to establish how the accident happened. To establish fault, we will consider the following evidence and use it to support your claim for damages.
- Police reports detailing how the accident occurred and whether the parties involved violated any traffic laws.
- Witness statements from those who saw the accident
- Expert statements to determine whether the bicyclist could have safely avoided the accident and whether the motorist or passenger could have seen the bicyclist
Our case must establish that the defendant was negligent (e.g., opening the car door without checking for oncoming bicyclists) and caused your accident. We must also prove the value of your damages, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To prove case value, we may rely on evidence like:
- Medical bills and records
- Medical expert testimony regarding future surgeries or treatment
- Vocational or occupational specialists
- Evidence of lost wages
How to Prevent Dooring Bike Accidents
- Bicyclists should ride in designated bike lanes, when available
- Bicyclists should ride in the center of the bike lane to avoid opening car doors as well as moving traffic
- Drivers should check for oncoming bicyclists before opening a car door.
- Drivers should be mindful not to block bike lanes when parking their vehicle.
What To Do After a Dooring Accident
If you are in a dooring accident, call the police to report the accident. If you require emergency medical care, call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance; if you do not require emergency care, go to the emergency room or make an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation shortly after your accident.
Also take these steps after your dooring accident:
- Ask all parties involved for contact information.
- Ask eyewitnesses for contact information.
- Take photographs of the scene, if you are able to do so.
- Request a copy of the accident report.
- Follow up with medical care.
- Document the time you take off from work to recover.
- Document all the ways your injuries affect your finances, health, and other aspects of your life.
The attorneys Max Meyers Law can help you file a claim for damages if you were hurt in a bicycle dooring accident. Call us today: 425-399-7000.