Every day, it seems as though more and more people embrace a healthier lifestyle, including a healthier selection of food items and infinite varieties of exercise. As the number of joggers, runners, and cyclists increases, the possibility of them being involved in a dooring accident increases as well.
It is encouraging to see that many cities and towns have stepped up to protect these road users by establishing clearly-marked lanes and other safety precautions. However, many cyclists do fear the real possibility of having a car door opened right in front of their path, or what is called a dooring accident.
Based on the sheer size and weight of the vehicle alone, it is not surprising that rather than the car getting damaged, the bike rider gets the brunt of the force and thus the injuries. These accidents tend to happen mostly when the vehicle driver fails to check over their shoulder whether someone is approaching from behind. Many of these accidents tend to occur in urban areas where vehicles must park parallel to the side of the road.
Dooring Accidents and The Law
In Missouri, dooring laws have been enacted. They indicate that drivers cannot open their vehicle doors on the same side as moving traffic. To do so, they first have to make sure it is safe to open them. The purpose of this law is to protect both cyclists and drivers.
Additionally, drivers must leave at least three feet of space between their vehicles and the bikes. The cyclists themselves are forbidden from riding more than two abreast when using the road.
Establishing Fault in Dooring Accidents
It is not always clear who is at fault for dooring accidents. Mostly, opening a car door is not inherently negligent. Other factors will need to be investigated to determine whether there was a breach of the duty of care and who was at fault.
Factors to be considered when investigating dooring accidents include:
- Whether the driver was parked legally
- Whether the driver took the proper care to look for oncoming cyclists before opening the vehicle’s door
- If the driver was distracted by a cellphone or other device when opening the door
- Whether the bicycle rider was riding lawfully and not in an unsafe manner prior to the crash
- If the bike was equipped with the required gear, such as lights and brakes
Common Injuries During Dooring Accidents
Among the most common injuries in dooring accidents are:
- Bone fractures
- Head and face injuries
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Receiving Compensation for a Dooring Accident Injury
At The Eslinger Law Firm, our team of lawyers will work tirelessly to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries, including:
- Medical expenses now and in the future
- Lost income and loss of earning capacity
- Property damage costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Your dooring accident lawyer will need a copy of the accident report, as well as the contact information for the driver, including license plate and insurance. Provide them as well with as much evidence you have gathered at the scene and any testimony from witnesses.
Have you been injured in a dooring accident?
Despite the many legal safety provisions in place, there is no guarantee that you will avoid a dooring accident as a cyclist. If you have suffered injuries because a distracted driver opened a door as you rode by, The Eslinger Law Firm our team of dooring accident lawyers is ready to listen to your case and offer you a review during a free initial consultation. We work on a contingency basis and there are no out of pocket costs for you.