Dooring accidents can cause severe and debilitating injuries to individuals who are walking or are traveling on forms of transportation that are not enclosed. These types of accidents occur more often in urban areas because of the higher populations and tighter spaces to get around. Hundreds of dooring collisions are likely to happen every year. In order to prevent injuries and avoid accidents like this, it’s important for drivers and cyclists to be aware of the issue and what can be done about it.
What Is a Dooring Accident and Why Do They Happen?
Dooring is a traffic accident that involves any occupant in a vehicle opening a door in front of or behind a bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian. While on a two-way street the accident will generally only occur on the drivers’ side, a cyclist could be struck by passenger doors on a one-way street. Even at low speeds, getting doored can cause the victim to be thrown over their handlebars and result in serious injuries.
This type of accident is most likely to occur when a cyclist either slams into a vehicle’s door or is in an accident with another vehicle while trying to avoid an opening or opened door. If the occupants of a car aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around them when they try to leave the vehicle, they may not see a cyclist or pedestrian coming up beside them. Drivers and passengers are supposed to exercise due caution when exiting to ensure oncoming traffic will not be interfered with when they open the door.
While it may not seem like many of these accidents happen, that is because there is a significant number that goes unreported. Cyclists may be unaware that legal action can be taken against another negligent party, or they may feel as though what happened was their fault. We can explain your legal right to you, so you know how best to proceed.
What Are the Consequences of Dooring Accidents?
While rarely fatal, dooring accidents can lead to serious and even life-changing injuries and disabilities. The recovery process depends greatly on the degree of injury sustained; however, victims are likely to miss time away from work. While a bicyclist may sustain minor injuries like lacerations or bruising while pedaling slowly and striking a car door, a motorcyclist traveling at a faster speed is likely to sustain significant physical damage. Here are the most common injuries related to dooring accidents:
- Nerve damage
- Organ damage
- Fractured or broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe spinal cord injuries
Who Is Responsible for a Dooring Accident?
It can be difficult to determine who is responsible for a dooring accident. If the cyclist was pedaling or riding too close to parked vehicles, the occupant may not be held accountable. In many cases, however, the driver or passengers have a responsibility to proceed with caution while leaving a vehicle. This is particularly true in congested, urban areas, where cyclists frequently travel alongside other vehicles. A thorough investigation can determine who is at fault; however, the process can be difficult.
As you can see, these legal matters are often complex and the outcomes can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. To determine liability and receive the monetary compensation you deserve, it’s best to get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney from Wishart Brain & Spine Law.
How to Avoid Getting Doored
While dooring accidents aren’t always preventable, there are precautions cyclists can take to decrease their chances of striking someone’s car door. Let’s look at some of the most important ones:
- Remain in the safe zone – that is, about three to four feet away from stopped or parked vehicles.
- Avoid the space within the width of any fully opened door as often as possible.
- Wear a bright helmet and proper safety gear, as this will increase your visibility and aid in physical protection.
- Avoid distractions like wearing earphones or checking your cell phone.
- Plan ahead. If you know a safer route that might take longer, consider leaving earlier.
- Be mindful of your speed, especially when near parked cars.
- Keep an eye out for parked vehicles and taxis.
Sharing the road with all travelers, regardless of transportation modes, is incredibly important. Individuals who act without thinking and injure someone should be held accountable for their negligence. If you’ve been injured in a dooring accident, our personal injury lawyers are here for you. Our Vancouver bicycle accident attorneys can help you get the compensation you need to recover from the physical and mental trauma you’re experiencing. For a free consultation, contact our office today.
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