Riding a bicycle in San Diego and Southern California can be good exercise and cheap transportation. However, riders also face the danger of being injured in a bicycle accident.
One dangerous type of bike collision is a dooring accident where a driver or passenger opens a door right in the path of a bike rider. If you or a family member suffered injuries in a dooring crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. These cases can be complicated, and you should retain an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to fight for your rights.
California’s Law on Opening Motor Vehicle Doors
California’s traffic laws protect bicycle and motorcycle riders from dooring accidents. This rule provides that no one shall open a vehicle door on the side of moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so, and it can be done without interfering with ongoing traffic. It would be a traffic violation for a driver or passenger of a vehicle to violate this law and strong proof of negligence if they received a traffic ticket for violation of this law.
Common Causes of Open Door Bicycle Accidents
Driver and passenger negligence is why most bicycle dooring crashes occur. Top ways motorists and passengers cause these collisions include:
- Not looking. The majority of open door crashes occur because a driver or passenger fails to check for oncoming traffic before opening their vehicle door. Their failure to look would be considered negligence and a violation of California’s traffic law.
- Parking illegally. If a truck or passenger vehicle driver parks illegally, they will be in a hurry to get in or out of their vehicle. They are much less likely to look for a nearby cyclist or could open their door when it is unsafe, with a dooring collision being the likely consequence.
- Being distracted. Being distracted by talking on a cellphone, texting, or eating and drinking when opening a vehicle door is as dangerous as distracted driving and causes many dooring bike accidents.
Injuries a Bicycle Rider Can Suffer in a Bike Dooring Collision
Bicyclists can suffer devastating injuries in an open door bike collision even if they are traveling at a slow speed because they can be thrown into ongoing traffic. In addition, they only have a bicycle helmet and their clothes to protect them from being injured. Common injuries that victims suffer include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck, back, and spinal injuries
- Road rash
- Facial injuries
- Nerve damage
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
Liable Parties in a Bike Dooring Collision
Unlike a car accident case where only the driver of one or both autos is usually the negligent party, this is not the case in an open door bicycle crash. The driver or the passenger could have opened the vehicle door and caused the bicycle collision.
In addition, a motorist in another vehicle that struck the bike rider could face liability if their negligence contributed to the accident. Common ways they may have been partially to blame include speeding, engaging in distracted driving, driving while intoxicated, or making unsafe lane changes.
Determining all the at-fault parties is essential if you want to obtain the full value of your claim. You need a skilled bike crash lawyer who will thoroughly investigate the cause of your collision and collect the evidence you need to prove your case.
A lawyer can go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve. This can be more complicated if there is more than one liable party and the insurance companies point fingers at each other. A knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney will have strategies to defeat the insurance adjusters’ claims to deny your claim or try to pay you fewer damages than you are entitled to under California law. They can also litigate your case if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement.