When you ride a bicycle or a motorcycle on a street in the Bay area, one of the hazards you face is dooring, which is when someone opens a car door in your path. If someone suddenly opens their vehicle door while you are riding by, there’s a good chance that you won’t have time to react in order to prevent a dooring accident and getting hurt.
Even when you are traveling at a slow speed, getting doored can cause you to lose control of your bicycle or motorcycle. You may be thrown over the handlebars or suffer a number of other possible injuries.
Serious Injuries from Dooring
Dooring can lead to very serious injuries. Whether you collide with the door that was opened in your path or swerve to avoid the door and collide with another vehicle, there are many types of serious injuries that you may sustain from a person’s carelessness in opening a door without looking.
As a bike rider, you aren’t protected by the metal of a vehicle surrounding your body, or by airbags. Some of the injuries that may occur from dooring include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Damage to internal organs
California’s Dooring Statute
In the Bay area and throughout California, there is a dooring statute which clearly prohibits opening the door of a vehicle on the side of moving traffic. The exception would be if it’s safe to open a door without interfering with moving traffic, which includes bicycles or motorcycles.
This statute falls under California Vehicle Code 22517. It also prevents leaving a door open on the side of traffic for any longer than it takes for passengers to get in or out of a vehicle.
Who’s to Blame for a Dooring Accident?
A bicyclist or motorcyclist who has been hurt in a dooring accident in the Bay area can file a claim for personal injury against the person who opened a door in their path. Most of the time the person who opened the door can be found in violation of California’s Dooring Statute for not checking that the path was clear before opening the door.
Damages that a victim can collect if the other person is found to be negligent may include:
- Medical bills including those that may be incurred in the future
- Lost wages
- Compensation for disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Coverage for final services and burial in the event of a death caused by dooring
The person who opened the car door isn’t always automatically found to be responsible for a dooring accident. In order to avoid the high cost of financial responsibility, a person who opened a door in the way of a cyclist may try to prove that the victim was at least partially responsible for the accident.
If the victim was found to be partly responsible for the accident, this is known as comparative negligence. This would mean that the victim would collect damages minus the percent that they were found to be at fault.
Getting Legal Representation for a Dooring Accident
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in a dooring accident, it’s a good idea to consult with an expert in the field of personal injury law. At Kuvara Law Firm, we have more than 40 years of experience in this field. We offer a free consultation so that you can find out your rights and whether you should proceed with filing a lawsuit.
Get in touch with us by filling out the form on this page. Let’s talk about what happened and see if we can help.