Did You Get Doored? Here’s Why It’s Not Your Fault!

A dooring accident happens when a motor vehicle operator or passenger opens their door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist. Because these riders have very limited protection, the force from the door may cause the cyclist to fall on the ground and suffer serious injuries immediately. It may also push the cyclist into an oncoming vehicle, resulting in permanent and sometimes deadly injuries.

If you sustained injuries in a recent dooring accident, consult a knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer in your jurisdiction as quickly as possible.

Your attorney can immediately investigate your accident circumstances by visiting the scene, reviewing the police report, and speaking with witnesses. Your attorney can then determine if you may be eligible to file a claim for monetary compensation.

In some situations, you may file a third-party claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company. If the third-party insurance company refuses to offer you favorable monetary compensation for your injuries, you can go to court.

Following any type of accident, including a bicycle accident, the insurance company is not on your side. However, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer will advocate for all of your legal rights and interests every step of the way.

Your attorney can handle all settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives and argue for a higher settlement offer. Your attorney may also file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system if necessary.

Finally, your attorney can address all of your legal concerns so that you stay well-informed about your case and its status at all times.

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What Is a Dooring Accident?

Did You Get Doored? Here's Why It's Not Your Fault!

A dooring accident scenario frequently catches bicyclists off guard. As a result, they may not prepare for the impact and may fall, suffering severe injuries.

The law that applies to a door accident scenario will depend upon the jurisdiction where your accident happens. For example, in Florida, the legislature has created a law that applies specifically to these types of collisions.

Under a Florida statute:

  • No person shall open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can happen without interfering with the movement of other traffic
  • Nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

In some cases, a passenger, rather than a driver, opens their door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. When that happens, more than one insurance policy may apply in a personal injury case.

A skilled bicycle accident lawyer in your area can determine if you are eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim against the responsible individual’s insurance company. If so, your lawyer can handle every step of the legal process for you, including submitting a claim to the insurance company and aggressively negotiating for the settlement compensation that you deserve.

Common Locations for a Dooring Accident

Dooring accidents can theoretically happen in any place where motor vehicles and bicycles are present in the same location. They are especially common in downtown areas where a bicyclist is traveling next to a row of cars that are parallel parked. They may also happen if a bicycle lane is next to a parking lane.

Dooring accidents also frequently occur in parking lots and parking garages when a bicycle is traveling near a parked car.

If you suffered injuries in a bicycle dooring accident in one of these locations, you are not alone. However, given that time is of the essence, you need to consult with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as quickly as possible.

Your attorney can go over your legal options with you so that you can make important decisions about how best to proceed forward with your case.

Injuries in a Dooring Accident

Unlike the occupants of an enclosed motor vehicle, like a car or truck, bicycle riders typically have very little protection surrounding them in a crash.

Although bicyclists should wear a sturdy bicycle helmet, that helmet may be unable to withstand the full blow of a crash, especially if they fall on the ground with a significant amount of force.

Common injuries that victims of bicycle dooring accidents may suffer include:

  • Open lacerations and road rash
  • Bruises
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Rib fractures
  • Bone fractures
  • Soft tissue neck and back contusions
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Permanent cognitive impairments
  • Facial injuries
  • Mouth and teeth injuries
  • Complete and incomplete paralysis injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Death

Upon suffering any one of these injuries in a recent bicycle accident, you need to take the necessary legal steps to recover the full monetary compensation you deserve. Specifically, follow through with any treatment recommendations that your medical provider prescribes for you.

Depending on the nature and extent of your accident-related injuries, you might need to consult with your primary care doctor or with a medical specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor or neurologist.

Additionally, you may need surgery to correct a broken bone. Following the procedure, your doctor may recommend attending physical therapy to regain your range of motion in the affected body part(s).

Follow through with your medical treatment regimen to increase your chances of making a full recovery from your injuries. Plus, it shows the insurance company adjuster handling your claim that your injuries deserve significant monetary compensation.

Upon completing your medical treatment or when you know your future prognosis, your bicycle accident lawyer can submit the necessary documentation, including medical treatment records and bills, to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. The adjuster may then begin settlement negotiations with your attorney.

Proving a Third-party Claim Arising from a Dooring Accident

Victims of bicycle dooring accidents can file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver or passenger’s motor vehicle insurance company. However, to recover monetary compensation as part of a claim, the accident victim must establish their legal burden of proof.

Proving a Third-party Claim in a Dooring Accident

First, they must demonstrate that the at-fault party owed them a legal duty of care. Motor vehicle drivers and passengers have a duty to carefully open their doors – especially in an area where a bicyclist is likely to be present.

The bicycle accident victim must also establish that the other individual violated their legal duty of care, such as by opening their door at an inappropriate time.

The bicyclist must then demonstrate that the other party’s negligence was both the direct and the foreseeable cause of the dooring accident that occurred.

Finally, the accident victim must establish that as a direct and proximate result of the dooring accident, certain physical injuries happened.

Insurance companies often deny dooring accident claims by arguing that the bicyclist was fully or partially responsible for the accident and resulting injuries. They might contend that the open vehicle door was an open and obvious danger and that the bicyclist should have taken action to avoid the collision.

However, your bicycle accident lawyer can challenge these allegations by submitting evidence to the contrary. Your lawyer can also retain a certified accident reconstructionist who can visit the accident scene, talk with witnesses, review police reports and camera footage, and draft a report regarding the true cause of the accident and who bears responsibility.

Your lawyer can also retain a medical expert, including a doctor who treated you, to relate your injuries to the accident and/or establish whether you suffered one or more permanent injuries in your accident.

Filing a Third-party Claim with the At-fault Party’s Insurer

Depending upon the jurisdiction where your dooring accident happened, you might file a third-party personal injury claim with the at-fault motor vehicle driver or passenger’s insurance company. Your attorney can then submit a settlement demand package, which includes a settlement demand letter, to the insurance company adjuster on your behalf.

The letter will demand settlement compensation that covers your losses within the available insurance policy limits.

The accompanying package may include copies of a police report, written statements from eyewitnesses, medical bills, medical treatment records, photographs of your injuries, photographs of any property damage, video camera footage of the accident (such as from a nearby business), and lost income compensation from your employer if you missed time from work after your accident.

Upon receipt of this information, the insurance company will begin an evaluation, and the adjuster handling your case may offer to settle. However, never accept a first-time settlement offer from the insurance company without consulting a lawyer since these offers will rarely pay what you deserve.

Your attorney may continue negotiating with the insurance company until the adjuster increases their offer to a reasonable number. Otherwise, your lawyer can explore litigation options for your case, such as filing a lawsuit and taking your case to a civil jury trial in court.

Third-party Monetary Damages Available in a Dooring Accident Case

Victims of bicycle dooring accidents frequently suffer severe and sometimes fatal injuries. In these situations, the accident victim can file a third-party personal injury claim or a lawsuit seeking various monetary damages.

Since every bicycle accident is different, the total compensation award that an accident victim receives will vary from case to case, depending on the circumstances.

Factors that may affect the size and scope of a settlement offer or litigation award include the specific injuries that the accident victims suffer, along with the cost of their medical treatment.

In general, if an accident victim suffers permanent injuries, as determined by a qualified medical provider, then they may recover higher monetary compensation than an accident victim who suffered less severe injuries.

First, a dooring accident victim may recover compensation for their past and anticipated medical expenses, along with lost income, if they had to miss time from work after their accident.

They can also pursue monetary recovery for their intangible losses, such as permanent scarring or disfigurement, loss of use of a body part, lost quality of life, past and future pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, permanent cognitive impairments, and long-term care costs.

Your attorney can estimate the total settlement or verdict value of your case based on the injuries that you suffered in your accident, along with the medical treatment that you underwent. Your attorney can then take the proper action to maximize your overall settlement compensation or litigation result.

Talk With a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today

Dooring accidents happen in an instant but often have long-term effects for bicycles. While drivers can seek repairs of any vehicle damage, cyclists will usually have a much longer, more difficult, and costlier road to recovery following this type of incident.

Tatiana Boohoff - Attorney for Bicycle Accident
Tatiana Boohoff, Bicycle Accident Lawyer

If you recently sustained injuries in a bicycle dooring accident, you need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney near you as soon as you possibly can. If you wait too long to take legal action and file a lawsuit, the statute of limitations may prevent you from making a valid claim for monetary recovery.

A bicycle accident lawyer will know the statute of limitations applicable to your case and can file a timely claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Your attorney can also handle all settlement negotiations, including all written and oral communications with insurance company representatives, and aggressively pursue the settlement compensation you need.

Moreover, if the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly for your bicycle accident injuries, your lawyer may resolve your case at a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, such as arbitration or mediation.

Start the process of financial recovery today by scheduling your free case evaluation with a trusted attorney.

November 12, 2023
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