When a bicycle crashes into an open car door, the motorist who opened the door, the bicyclist and third parties may be responsible for dooring bicycle accidents. These accidents can cause severe injuries, especially if a car hits the cyclist after he or she collides with the door and falls into oncoming traffic. Motorists often try to blame the bicyclist for the accident, while bicyclists blame the motorist. Determining who is at fault for these damages is complicated.
Let the attorneys at the Montero Law Center review the facts and find out who should be liable for your injuries. Call us today at 954-767-6500.
Who Is At Fault For My Accident?
If you are a cyclist who suffered injuries in a dooring accident, you may want to file a claim against the motorist who caused your injuries. To recover damages, our attorneys need to establish liability by proving that the motorist is at least partially at fault for the accident. In general, bikers carry less liability than a driver if there is a dooring accident. However, drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and even third parties, can be liable for any dooring accident-related injuries or damages.
The Person Who Opened the Door
According to Fla. Stat. 316.2005, drivers and passengers may not open a car door unless it is reasonably safe to do so or without interfering with traffic. Also, no one may leave a door open in the path of moving traffic for longer than needed for people to get in and out of the vehicle.
Motorists and passengers must observe their surroundings and check for oncoming traffic, bicyclists, and other potential hazards before opening their car doors. They should pay special attention to the “door-zone” or the space 2-4 feet adjacent to the stopped car. In most cases, the door opener will be liable for any injuries their actions cause.
In some cases, the door opener may argue that there was no traffic and that they checked their mirrors and surroundings before opening the door. Based on this, the bicyclist may be liable for the accident, their injuries, and any property damage to the vehicle.
Bicyclists must also be aware of their surroundings as they operate their bikes. If the bicyclist had the opportunity to avoid the accident and failed to do so, their actions may constitute negligence. Some examples of bicyclist negligence include:
- Failure to move to the left (if safe to do so)
- Failure to slow down or excessive speeding
- Failure to pay attention to surrounding hazards and oncoming traffic
Even if the bicyclist is partially at-fault for the accident, they may still recover damages under Florida’s comparative negligence laws. For example, a bicyclist who is 40 percent liable for their injuries may collect 60 percent of their total damages.
Door-openers and bicyclists are not the only parties that may be liable for damages in dooring bicycle accidents. The following third-parties may also be at-fault for the accident:
- Other drivers– If a bicyclist swerves to avoid a car door and ends up in the path of oncoming traffic, or hits a car door and falls into traffic, a second vehicle may strike the bicyclist. If the driver of this second vehicle was speeding, driving while distracted or engaging in other negligent behaviors behind the wheel, they might be partially at fault for the bicyclist’s injuries.
- Employers– If a motorist is operating a vehicle within the scope of their employment, the employer may be vicariously liable for dooring bicycle accidents the motorist caused under the theory of respondeat superior.
- Manufacturers– If a bicyclist was unable to stop due to faulty brakes, a bicycle manufacturer may be at fault for the accident.
How an Attorney Can Help You With Your Claim
If you suffered injuries in a bicycle dooring accident, our attorneys could help you file a claim with insurance companies or file a lawsuit against the parties at fault for your accident. The attorneys at the Montero Law Center can assist you by:
- Determining fault– We will evaluate your claim and determine who is at fault for your accident.
- Collecting evidence to support your claim– We will review police reports, contact witnesses and experts, review medical records and calculate your potential damages to present in court or to your insurer.
- Contacting the insurance companies – We will work with the adjuster on your claim and negotiate a fair settlement offer
- Filing a lawsuit against all parties responsible for your accident– If your injuries are serious and your settlement offer is too low, our attorneys may find that going to court is your best option. We will make sure you file your claim on time (within four years of the injury) and present your case in court.
- Valuing your claim– Our attorneys will calculate your damages to make sure you recover enough compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other accident-related costs
Talk to an Attorney About Your Dooring Accident Claim Today
To discuss your legal options, call the attorneys at the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500.