Phoenix Bicycle Dooring Accident Lawyers
If you're a cyclist or a motorcycle enthusiast, you know the dangers posed by motor vehicles. They’re big, fast, and everywhere. Unless you choose to ride along one of Arizona's secluded nature trails or on empty, rural roads, odds are you will encounter a car or two in your travels. Of course, a car or truck in motion can be a danger to any cyclist - but they are just as dangerous when stopped. It only takes a fraction of a second for a careless motorist or passenger to open his or her door into your path of travel.
As motorcycle lovers ourselves, we at The Husband & Wife Law Team understand the risk that many motorcycle riders face when they venture out onto the road. We also understand how devastating it can be when you become involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault. If you or a loved one were injured in a dooring accident, call our firm at (602) 457-6222. We are ready and willing to help.
Opening a door without looking is a recipe for disaster. Regardless of whether the car is parked or simply stopped, it is never a good idea to open a door without thoroughly checking to see if anyone is coming from behind – especially cyclists. In the United States, the "door zone" refers to the area roughly three to four feet around the door where it swings when opened. If a driver decides to open his or her door without checking behind first, he or she could be responsible for any "dooring" injuries to bicyclists and motorcycle operators.
In fact, in Arizona opening a car door without first checking for oncoming traffic is illegal. Everyone on the road has a duty of care to those around them. That means that if the duty of care is breached, by, for example, a driver throwing their door open in front of a cyclist, then that driver is responsible for the injuries they caused.
Those most at risk for dooring accidents are people riding bikes and motorcycles. Neither bikes nor motorcycles have seatbelts, protective walls, airbags, or crumple zones. With how open they are, a collision, even one that is at a low speed, with a fixed object like a car door can send the rider flying. Bikes and motorcycles are also much smaller than cars and often quester, so they can be harder to notice. When a person in a car opens their door without looking carefully to see if a bike or motorcycle is nearby, they run the risk of seriously hurting a rider. Some injuries that a dooring accident can cause include:
While dooring accidents are often non-fatal, they can still be devastating. Severe road rash can require surgery and skin grafts to heal and will likely leave a permanent scar. Brain injuries can result in lifelong disabilities and may even leave the victim bound to a wheelchair. On top of the physical dangers that dooring accidents present, the treatment for the victim’s injuries will come with a high price tag – as they often do in bicycle and motorcycle accidents. No one should be left swimming in medical debt because someone else couldn’t be bothered to be careful when opening their door.
When you are preparing to file a personal injury claim, a key component is determining who is liable. During dooring accidents, the most commonly liable party is the person opening the door. Of course, an insurance adjuster is likely to argue that the bike or motorcycle rider should have swerved or braked in time to avoid the door. You should always remember that insurance adjusters will often try to find cracks in your case to exploit in order to pay you as little as possible. But that does not mean you should give up and take their lowball offer.
Arizona, like many other states, has comparative negligence laws that allow you to recover damages even if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident. This means that even if it is decided that you had enough time to swerve out of the way of the door, you may still be able to receive compensation from the at-fault party. Your compensation will be lowered according to how much you are found to be at fault. For example, if you have enough time to swerve, that means you could be 30% at fault, and if you are awarded $100,000 for your damages, you will actually receive $70,000 since 30% was taken away.
Comparative negligence means, essentially, that even if you believe you are partially at fault for the accident, you should still file a claim. The person who hit you with their door still has a level of responsibility in the accident, and it is very possible that a claim could still get you the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills and time off of work.
In the blink of an eye, you went from enjoying the day on your bicycle to suffering in serious pain. As a result of someone recklessly opening their door, you are most likely suffering catastrophic injuries. Such a sudden and unforeseen accident may make you ask a few important questions.
- Who is responsible for the accident?
- Will I recover from my injuries?
- Are there any legal avenues available to me?
- Should I contact a personal injury attorney?
If you find yourself wondering about bicycling laws or asking any of these questions, here’s where you can get the answers: The Husband & Wife Law Team of Mark and Alexis Breyer. We have years of experience helping cyclists just like you obtain the recovery they deserve. Our Phoenix injury lawyers know the challenges you face and how insurmountable they may seem now. But there is hope and we can help.
If you were involved in a collision - or "doored" by a motorist – you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with a bicycle accident attorney in Phoenix, contact The Husband & Wife Law Team, today at (602) 457-6222.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer