Did You Get Doored? Here’s Why It Is Not Your Fault!

Did You Get Doored? Here’s Why It Is Not Your Fault!

Dooring or getting doored happens when a motorist opens their vehicle door in the path of an oncoming bicyclist, scooter rider, or even a pedestrian passing by. If you got doored, it’s almost certainly not your fault. The motorist who opened their door in front of you likely failed to look for you, which is part of their duty of care.

You can recover fair compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages from your dooring accident. Hire a bicycle accident lawyer to pursue fair compensation while you focus on your medical treatment and physical recovery.

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Why Motorists Are Generally Responsible for Dooring Accidents

Bicyclists and other pedestrians have a right to share the road and, particularly, to use bike lanes and sidewalks. Yet, these bike lanes and sidewalks are often adjacent to parking spaces. This proximity between parked vehicles and spaces reserved for riders presents a risk of dooring when people in cars fail to pay attention.

Some reasons why motorists are typically responsible for dooring accidents include:

  • The fact that motorists who occupy those spaces should reasonably anticipate that a biker might be in the bike lane or a scooter rider may be on the sidewalk next to the parking space
  • The requirement that every motorist take precautions to anticipate how an accident might happen, including how an open door can get in the way of an oncoming cyclist
  • Every motorist must check their blindspots before taking any action that can cause an accident, including opening a door
  • The fact that bicyclists cannot reasonably predict whether someone is in a vehicle, let alone whether someone will open a door—therefore, the vehicle occupant is solely responsible for preventing a dooring accident
Motorcycle lying on the road and car standing with open door after a collision

Note that these responsibilities apply to both drivers and motor vehicle passengers. Whether a driver or passenger opened their door and caused you to collide with the door, that party will be liable for your accident-related damages.

Even if a motorist is not in a parking area—like when a delivery driver is parked in a regular lane—the motorist or passenger in a vehicle must look for oncoming riders.

Your Attorney Will Prove That the Motorist or Other Liable Party Negligently Caused Your Dooring Accident

Every motorist, and even passenger, has a duty of care. This duty requires them to act reasonably, and looking out for oncoming riders certainly qualifies as reasonable behavior.

For this reason, those who fail to look for and avoid dooring an oncoming cyclist are typically negligent.

Your bicycle accident attorney will work to prove the liable parties’ negligence by:

  • Establishing the duty of care: Anyone in a motor vehicle has a duty of care that compels them to act reasonably. Reasonable behavior includes that which minimizes the risk of a dooring accident, such as checking blind spots before opening a door.
  • Proving a breach of the duty of care: Your bike accident lawyer will cite evidence to prove the liable party breached their duty of care. The very fact that a motorist or passenger opened a door in front of an oncoming bicyclist suggests they breached their duty of care.
  • Establishing causation: Your legal team will work to prove that the liable party’s negligence—including opening the door—caused the collision that harmed you or a loved one.
  • Proving damages: Once your attorney has proven the first three steps in the negligence argument, they will establish the harm you have suffered because the liable parties breached duty of care.

A dooring accident can include:

  • A direct collision with a door.
  • A collision between a rider or another pedestrian after someone moves to avoid hitting the door.
  • Other accidents that result from the liable party’s decision to open a door dangerously.

How to Seek Compensation After Getting Doored

You may have two options for obtaining compensation after a dooring accident, which are:

  1. Filing one or more insurance claims
  2. Filing a lawsuit against one or more parties responsible for the dooring accident

Different states have different laws about whose insurance is responsible for what losses following a bicycle, scooter, or pedestrian accident. This will be relevant to how you and your lawyer pursue compensation. Also relevant will be the monetary value of your damages, the amount of insurance coverage available to you, and whether or not liable parties negotiate in good faith.

An experienced bicycle accident attorney will create a personalized strategy for your case and explain why they recommend the approach they do.

What a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Will Do for You (Including Demanding Full Compensation)

Golden sign with gavel and compensation

Hiring a bike accident attorney should be one of your most pressing priorities after an accident. For most, the only greater priority is getting a thorough medical examination. Once you have seen a doctor to ensure your life is not in danger, find your lawyer.

Your attorney will immediately take over the full range of case-related responsibilities, and they will:

Important evidence in dooring accident cases can include:

  • An admission by the motorist or passenger that they opened the vehicle door in front of you
  • Video footage of the at-fault party opening a door and causing a collision
  • Eyewitness accounts related to the collision
  • A police report stating that the at-fault party opened the door and caused the collision
  • Your own account of the accident

Photographs of damage to your bike or another mode of transportation involved in the accident may also be useful. Your attorney will secure and present all evidence that supports your claim or lawsuit.

Documenting Damages You’ve Suffered Because of the Dooring Accident

Your legal team will make crystal clear how the at-fault party’s negligence has affected you.

Documentation of your economic and non-economic damages may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Photographs of injuries
  • X-rays and other medical images of your injuries
  • Proof of lost income, which may come from past bank statements and employment records
  • Doctors’ written evaluations of your injuries, symptoms, and treatment needs
  • A mental health professional’s diagnosis of your pain and suffering

Attorneys must document each damage so they can secure fair compensation for each.

Calculating the Value of a Fair Settlement

Your lawyer will calculate the value of each of your economic and non-economic damages. The total value of those damages will tell your lawyer how much compensation you deserve. If punitive damages are part of your case, the value of your case can be even greater than the financial value of your damages.

Fighting for a Fair Settlement

After calculating your case value, your bicycle accident lawyer will initiate settlement talks with liable parties.

Your lawyer will likely:

  • Present their settlement demands (which will be based on the value of your damages)
  • Explain how they calculated their demands, which includes the cost of each damage
  • Present documentation of damages you’ve suffered because of the dooring accident
  • Present evidence of who is at fault for the accident, as this will establish that liable parties are responsible for the cost of your damages

Experienced attorneys are ready for liable parties to contest fault, underplay the cost of the plaintiff’s damages, and lowball settlement offers. Most cases eventually settle, and your lawyer will work to ensure any settlement you accept provides full and fair compensation.

Filing a Lawsuit, Should You Choose to File One

Your lawyer will review all settlement offers with you. During negotiations, they will determine if liable parties are willing to offer fair compensation. If liable parties and their insurers are unwilling to pay you a fair sum, your lawyer may present you with the option of filing a lawsuit.

Representing You at Trial, If You Decide to Pursue a Trial

Even if you and your lawyer decide to file a lawsuit, settlement negotiations will likely continue. If it is still clear that liable parties will not offer a fair settlement, you and your attorney may decide to go to trial. Your lawyer will lead any court case from start to finish.

An increasing number of bicyclists died in recent years in the United States, suggesting that bike riders frequently fall victim to motorists’ negligence. Drivers might be increasingly impatient with slower cyclists or more distracted, so they miss seeing bicycles more easily.

Know that a motorist should have protected you or your loved one but failed to do so. Allow a lawyer to pursue the financial justice you deserve.

What Damages Do Dooring Accident Victims Deserve Compensation For?

Wooden Blocks with Damages and Claim written on them

In a recent year, bicycle accidents resulted in 375,797 emergency department-treated injuries. This figure indicates how seriously bicyclists can be injured in collisions, including dooring accidents.

Cyclists have few protections in any type of collision, and even a helmet cannot protect from head trauma 100 percent of the time. Dooring incidents can often knock cyclists off their bikes, causing serious injuries and damages.

Leave it to your attorney to identify and value all of your recoverable damages, which may include:

  • Healthcare expenses: Your lawyer will seek compensation for emergency care, diagnostic imaging, surgeries, medications, and other medical items and services related to the dooring accident. The more serious or complex your accident-related injuries are, the more costly your healthcare expenses are likely to be.
  • Pain and suffering: A key benefit of hiring a lawyer is that they understand pain and suffering. Not only are experienced lawyers familiar with various types of pain and suffering, but they know how to calculate the financial value of such damages. Examples of pain and suffering include physical pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional anguish, psychological distress, scarring, amputation injuries, and lost quality of life.
  • Mental health treatment services: If you take medication, get counseling, or pursue other treatment for pain and suffering, your attorney will include treatment costs in their settlement demand letter.
  • Professional damages: Injured bikers often experience lost income, diminished earning capacity, and other professional damages. Such damages will be part of your lawyer’s case.
  • Property costs: Your attorney will determine the cost of repairing or replacing your bicycle and any other property damaged during the dooring accident.
  • The economic and non-economic cost of being disabled: If any injuries from your dooring accident are disabling, you may need to purchase medical equipment, undergo rehabilitation, endure long-term pain and suffering, pay for caregivers, and lose your ability to earn an income. Your bicycle accident attorney will account for these and any other damages related to a disabling medical condition.

There is no margin for error when calculating the cost of your case. You will have one opportunity to pursue the compensation you deserve, so you must seek all the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will take several measures to ensure their settlement demands are accurate.

Every Victim of Dooring Accidents Can Afford an Attorney

You should not worry about the cost of hiring a bike accident lawyer.

These attorneys typically use contingency fees, which means:

  • Clients pay no upfront fee to the law firm
  • The law firm pays to hire experts, fulfill filing fees, and cover all other case-related expenses
  • The law firm’s employees (including your lawyer) invest significant time and effort into building the strongest case they can
  • Your lawyer will receive their fee as a percentage of any settlement or verdict they secure for you (and you will know what percentage this is)

This arrangement ensures you don’t have to worry about the out-of-pocket cost of hiring a bicycle accident lawyer—because there is no out-of-pocket cost.

When to Hire a Bike Accident Attorney After a Dooring Injury

After getting doored, you should hire your bicycle accident lawyer immediately.

If you wait any significant period to hire a lawyer, you risk:

  • Failing to obtain (or allow your lawyer to obtain) critical evidence
  • Missing the statute of limitations for your case, which is the time you have to file a lawsuit
  • Missing crucial deadlines for reporting injuries

Do not wait any longer to retain the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Consultations are free, so take full advantage of them.

James Wayne Holliday Author Image

James Wayne Holliday

James Wayne Holliday has been practicing law since 1995. He has been named as a “Best Attorney” Lifetime Charter Member in Florida, an honor awarded to less than one percent of the nation’s lawyers.

Mr. Holliday has earned a reputation as a relentless trial lawyer because of his outstanding work ethic and thorough preparation of his cases for trial.

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