Many cities are embracing a clean air initiative by making large numbers of bicycles available to its citizens. Along with benefiting the environment, this transportation mode leads to a greater incidence of dooring accidents.
What Is “Dooring?”
Dooring happens when an automobile’s occupant opens its door into oncoming traffic, causing it to obstruct a cyclist’s path. The cyclist sometimes collides with the open car door or swerves into another traffic lane to avoid it. Dooring accidents increase with the placement of bike lanes too close to parking zones.
What You Should Do After a Dooring Accident
Getting doored is traumatic, and it is imperative to get examined by a qualified medical professional as soon as possible after the accident occurs. The following steps are necessary to ensure your well-being:
- Call the police or ask someone to call on your behalf
- Request a copy of the police incident report
- Go to the emergency room immediately
- Get a formal medical report
- Follow up with a medical provider
Who Is Liable for a Dooring Accident?
In your accident’s aftermath, you may experience severe pain, discomfort, and possible disability due to your injuries. The medical treatment and expenses associated with your recovery can be immense. Fortunately, you may not be liable for all or any of these expenses, depending on the circumstances.
Most states’ laws require individuals to look for oncoming traffic or pedestrians before opening their vehicle doors and before loading and unloading from vehicles. If a passenger fails to do this, causing a cyclist to have an accident, the cyclist may receive damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering.
Sometimes, a vehicle passenger and a cyclist share responsibility for an accident. For example, if a passenger can prove that the cyclist had sufficient time and space to avoid the open door, both parties might share the liability. When this happens, it is usually because the cyclist was not paying attention or was exceeding the legal speed limit.
Paying The Bills
After a dooring accident, you may worry about paying your medical bills or returning to work. Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, several options might help cover the financial costs of the accident, including:
- Personal liability coverage under the vehicle owner’s auto insurance
- Personal injury protection coverage under your auto insurance
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage under your auto insurance
- Your medical insurance
When a bicycle dooring accident leaves you incapacitated for any length of time, a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, can help you navigate your options so that you can focus on healing.