What Are Dooring Accidents and Who Is Liable When They Happen?

By  //  April 1, 2021

Early in his journalism career, Kerry L. Tucker had a revelation: there were not enough experts reporting on law issues. Legal matters are part of daily life.

Yet, there seems to be a general aversion towards them. One of the main reasons for this is that the convoluted legal language is difficult for many people to follow.

Therefore, he decided to change how the law is perceived by the public. Throughout his career, he met with many people who shared their personal stories with him.

Some of these hit him harder. One of the cases that stayed with him and influenced his future career development was a car accident case involving a child. From then on, he decided to zero in on car accident lawsuits.

What Are Dooring Accidents and Who Is Liable When They Happen? 

While bicycling is a popular workout and means of commuting, it can be somewhat dangerous. The introduction of bike lanes, lower speed limits, and safety awareness campaigns have made bicycling safer within city limits, but cyclists still suffer from injuries every year.

One of cyclists’ biggest concerns is “dooring,” an accident in which a driver suddenly opens a door in front of them, throwing them from their bike. These types of collisions are most common in densely packed urban areas where cars are parallel parked close to the paths cyclists typically use.

How Dangerous is Dooring? 

Even if the cyclist is riding at a low speed, a dooring accident may cause serious injuries. When a driver or passenger suddenly opens a door, the cyclist often does not have enough time to stop, and he is thrown over the door and the handlebars of his bike. Some cyclists will swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid a door, risking a catastrophic impact with other vehicles.

Dooring can cause serious head and bodily injuries and even death. Some of the most common dooring injuries include:

■ Traumatic brain injury

■ Organ damage

■ Spinal injury

■ Nerve damage

■ Broken bones

Dooring accidents are so devastating that many states have enacted statutes that will hold drivers and passengers liable for carelessly opening doors and creating these accidents.

Many vehicle codes now prohibit opening car doors on the street side unless it is “reasonably safe” to do so. This means that when a cyclist is hurt in a dooring accident, the driver can be held liable for all their injuries.

Bringing Injury Claims in Dooring Accidents 

Cyclists who have been hurt in dooring accidents can bring claims against the drivers who recklessly opened a door and caused their injury. If the cyclist can demonstrate that the driver or passenger did not check before opening their car door, they may be eligible to file a personal injury claim.

Damages from Dooring Accidents 

■ Many cyclists are awarded damages in dooring accidents for the following losses:

■ Medical bills as a result of the accident

■ Lost wages while recovering from injury

■ Damage to the bike

■ Permanent disfigurement or disability

■ Pain and suffering

■ Burial costs in the event of a death.

Defenses to Dooring Injury Lawsuits 

The defendant will likely aggressively defend themselves in a lawsuit, and they may argue “comparative negligence.” This means that they will find a way to place some of the blame for the accident on the cyclist. The driver may claim that the cyclist was not paying attention, was riding too fast, or riding in the path of oncoming cars.

Final Thoughts 

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you may be suffering from multiple injuries, loss of income, and psychological trauma. You may be unable to ride your bike, enjoy your normal exercise routine or commute to work. Don’t fight against the insurance companies alone.

They will do everything in their power to not pay, and you need a strong defense to prove that the driver or passenger was at fault for your injuries.

That is why, if you live in a crowded urban area like New York and are injured in a dooring accident, a New York bicycle accident attorney can help you build a strong case against the at-fault driver and dismantle all their defenses. Don’t shoulder the cost of an accident spurred by somebody else’s negligence or recklessness on your own. Seek the compensation you are due today!