Bicyclists and dooring accidents are a significant concern, especially for those cycling on California’s streets. It’s crucial to understand the risks, laws, and safety measures. JG Winter Law, a personal injury lawyer, provides comprehensive information and support for cyclists affected by dooring accidents.

 

What are dooring accidents?

 

A dooring accident, commonly known as getting “doored,” occurs when a cyclist collides with a car door and suddenly opens into their path. These accidents can lead to severe injuries and pose substantial risks for bicyclists. Understanding the dynamics of dooring accidents is essential:

Sudden hazard: An occupant of a parked or stopped vehicle opens the door without checking for oncoming cyclists, creating a sudden and unexpected hazard.
Severity of Impact: The impact between a cyclist and a car door can be forceful, leading to injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to fractures and head trauma.

 

What is the dooring law in California?

California has specific laws addressing dooring accidents to protect bicyclists. Under California Vehicle Code Section 22517, opening a car door on the side of moving traffic is illegal unless reasonably safe. Understanding these laws is vital for both drivers and cyclists:

Learn more about Sacramento Bicycle Accident Laws

 

How do you avoid getting doored as a cyclist?

Avoiding dooring accidents is paramount for cyclist safety. Here are proactive steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting doored:

Stay visible: Position yourself within drivers’ lines of sight. Use lights, reflectors, and brightly colored clothing to enhance visibility, especially during low-light conditions.
Use bike lanes: Ride in designated bike lanes to minimize your proximity to parked vehicles.
Be cautious near cars: When passing parked cars, slow down and be prepared for doors to open suddenly. Maintain a safe distance from parked vehicles, ideally at least three feet.
Watch for occupied cars: Look for signs of occupants in parked cars, such as brake lights, reverse lights, or movement inside the vehicle. Assume that doors can open at any time.
Anticipate dooring zones: Be extra cautious when approaching areas with parallel-parked cars, such as residential streets, commercial areas, and urban environments.
Educate others: Promote awareness among fellow cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians about the risks of dooring accidents.

 

Injuries a cyclist might get in a dooring accident

Dooring accidents can lead to many injuries, some of which can have devastating consequences. Understanding the potential injuries is vital for raising awareness and emphasizing safety:

Major injuries in a dooring accident (including death)

Head injuries: Severe head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), can occur even when wearing a helmet, leading to cognitive impairments and long-term consequences.
Spinal injuries: Back and spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis, long-term pain and high medical expenses.
Fractures: Cyclists may suffer from broken bones, particularly in high-impact dooring accidents, requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Internal injuries: The force of the collision can lead to internal bleeding or organ damage, necessitating immediate medical attention.
Fatalities: Tragically, some dooring accidents can lead to fatalities, devastating families and communities.

Knowing the potential consequences of being involved in a dooring accident highlights the importance of taking preventive measures and being aware of your rights. It is crucial to understand what to do in such situations.

 

Who is at fault when a cyclist gets doored?

Determining liability in dooring accidents is crucial for ensuring fair compensation for injured cyclists. Understanding the concept of duty of care is central to establishing fault:

 

The duty of care in a dooring accident

Driver Responsibility: In California, drivers have a legal duty of care to check for oncoming traffic, including bicyclists, before opening their car doors. Failure to do so can result in liability for any injuries caused to cyclists.
Cyclist Responsibility: While drivers have a primary duty to avoid dooring accidents, cyclists also must exercise caution when riding near parked or stopped vehicles. Cyclists should be attentive and prepared for sudden door openings.

 

What to do as a cyclist when you get doored?

If you’re involved in a dooring accident as a cyclist, you must take the following steps:
Safety first: Ensure your safety and the safety of others involved. Move to a safe location if possible.
Document the scene: Collect evidence, including photos of the accident scene, vehicle positions, and any visible injuries.
Exchange information: Obtain the driver’s information, including their name, contact details, and insurance information.
Contact the police: Report the accident to the police and provide a statement. A police report can be crucial for insurance claims and legal action.
Seek medical attention: Even if you believe your injuries are minor, seeking medical evaluation is essential. Injuries may not be immediately apparent but can worsen over time.
Preserve evidence: Keep medical treatment records, expenses, and relevant communications with insurance companies.

 

Filing an insurance claim as a cyclist in a dooring accident

Filing an insurance claim after a dooring accident is crucial in seeking compensation for your damages. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Contact your insurance: Notify your insurance company of the accident immediately.
Provide documentation: Submit all necessary documents, including the police report, medical records, and evidence of damages.
Negotiate fairly: Be prepared to negotiate with the involved insurance companies. Remember that their primary goal is to minimize payouts, so having legal representation can be invaluable.

 

Partnering with JG Winter Law to fight against insurance companies and claim full compensation

 

Contact JG Winter Law: your personal injury lawyer in California

Partnering with JG Winter Law can significantly improve your case if you’ve been injured in a dooring accident. We conduct a comprehensive investigation to establish liability and hold all responsible parties accountable. Our experienced bicycle accident attorneys negotiate with insurance companies to secure the maximum compensation you deserve. Fill out our consultation form or contact JG Winter Law at 1-844-517-0586 for expert legal assistance and support to navigate the legal process successfully.