Bicycle Accidents Involving an Open Car Door
Open Car Doors Are One of the Most Harmful Accidents That Occur Between Cars and Bicycles
As you cycle through a crowded city street, you have many dangers to look out for. A cyclist must be vigilant for potholes, cars, and pedestrians, but one danger can pop up and take the cyclist off-guard.
Dooring occurs when a cyclist crosses paths with a motor vehicle’s open door. The surprised cyclist does not have enough time to slow down, and they often collide with the existing passenger or the door itself. Doorings are among the most common and injurious bike-vehicle incidents across the world, as they can injure or kill both the cyclist and the passenger.
Since dooring is so dangerous, it’s best to try to avoid it altogether by riding further away from parked cars, thus avoiding a possible opening door. It’s also responsible to ride at a slower speed to allow for more reaction and braking time; although, the hustle and bustle of city life does not typically give cyclists the luxury of going slow.
The driver of the car also can also take precautions, like checking over their shoulder or looking in the side mirror before opening the door. However, if you’re reading this, it may be too late for precautions and an accident has already occurred. In that case, you will need to contact a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Grey Law is a personal injury firm with experience in winning compensation in car-bike collisions. By choosing us, you are putting your trust in an experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney.
Cyclist safety advocates have urged state departments of transportation to create a narrow buffer between cyclists and parked cars. Narrow bike lanes have also been installed on some roads to help bikers stay out of reach of car doors. In a case study of two California cities, bike lanes were found to have a profound impact on collisions. In Santa Barbara, which did not have bike lanes, 8% of car-bike collisions involved an opening door, while Davis had zero collisions involving open doors.
A cyclist could argue that since the driver of the car did not give them enough time to swerve and avoid the door, the driver of the car is at fault. Meeting with a Los Angeles bike accident attorney is the fastest way to determine if you have a strong case against the driver whose door you hit. Your attorney will be well-versed in California state traffic laws, and they can listen to your recollection of the events leading up to the accident to determine liability.
While you may assume that the driver in car-bike collisions is always liable, sometimes the cyclist has committed negligence that leads up to the accident. If the cyclist blew through a stop sign or was not using an existing bike line, then they share fault along with the negligent driver.
The shared fault rule of contributory negligence will greatly affect your personal injury claims. Depending on the situation, your contributory negligence may exclude you from any compensation, even if the driver’s negligence was more serious and presented a greater danger. Your cyclist accident lawyer will shed light on your claims as well as any liability you may have.
Courts of California follow the rule of comparative negligence, which is split into two parts, pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. Pure comparative negligence is when the damages are split up according to how much at fault each person is. For example, if the damages cost $100,000, and the driver is 80% at fault and the cyclist is 20% at fault, the cyclist would have to pay $20,000 worth of the damages. Modified comparative negligence follows the 50% rule where the plaintiff would only receive compensation if they were 49% at fault or less. California typically follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which is why it’s even more important that you discuss the accident with your attorney.
Preparing Your Case
Before meeting with your attorney, it’s important that you gather evidence of damages and liability. Write down your recollection of events so that you can have a written copy to give to your lawyer. You should also take as many photos as possible of your injuries and property damage to your bike. Alongside your attorney, you can build a case and get compensation for your accident.
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