Orange County Dooring Accident Attorneys
Cyclists are well aware of the dangers they face every day on Southern California roads, especially here in Orange County. Our roads are chaotic, and cyclists often have to deal with negligent drivers who speed, tailgate, or fail to check their blind spots. While riders have learned over the years how to adapt to negligent drivers and now have dedicated bike lanes across most neighborhoods, even these lanes are not always safe. If a careless driver or passenger opens their door into a bike lane without keeping an eye out, they may slam a door right into a cyclist and severely injure him or her.
If you or someone you love was injured in a dooring accident, reach out to Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie. In most cases, negligent vehicle occupants are responsible for dooring accidents, and injured riders can pursue full compensation from the vehicle’s insurance company. Reach out to the dedicated and experienced Orange County dooring accident attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie by calling (949) 752-7474. We offer free consultations to discuss your case.
Dooring is a type of bike accident that occurs when a bicyclist collides with an open car door. Riders are often advised to ride in a designated bike lane or along the side of the road to avoid moving cars, but in some areas, this puts riders right next to parked cars. Anyone exiting the left side of a vehicle may not only block a bike lane, but also strike an oncoming cyclist.
Even at low speeds, riders can be seriously injured if they collide with a fixed object, either falling backward against the pavement or sometimes flying over the door. If they have enough time to react, they may be able to swerve out of the way of the door, but it also puts them in danger of being hit by nearby traffic.
Dooring accidents can result in:
- Traumatic brain injuries when riders strike the door
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial fractures
- Severe lacerations from striking the window
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Multiple broken bones and fractures
- Road rash
Dooring is a traffic violation, as outlined by California Vehicle Code 22517, which states that if a car is parked on the side of the road, occupants can only leave the car door open for a reasonable amount of time to load or unload it. When drivers violate this law, it puts cyclists at risk of being involved in a dooring accident and requiring medical attention. Based on this law, your attorney can establish that the vehicle occupant was liable for your safety, whether the vehicle’s engine was on or not.
If you were involved in a dooring accident, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim against the vehicle owner’s insurance company, even if your injuries were caused by a passenger. This is also true for cases involving rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, which have liability policies for anyone injured by a rideshare vehicle.
In order to receive compensation for your trauma, you must file a bike accident claim that outlines:
- Liability: Liability means that another person is responsible for your injuries and had a “duty of care” toward you. Everyone on an Orange County road has an automatic duty of care toward each other, including drivers and bicyclists. If a driver violates California’s anti-dooring laws and causes a bicyclist’s injuries, then he would be considered liable under his car insurance policy.
- Negligence: Negligence is the legal concept that a liable party caused someone else’s injuries by committing an “unreasonable” action. Vehicles occupants should naturally know to check their blind spots or look over their shoulders before opening a door. Since 2018, driver classes in California have started teaching the “Dutch Reach,” which is a safety method of using the right-hand to open a car door on the left side. This method forces vehicle occupants to look over their shoulders and check their blind spots in order to prevent dooring accidents. However, if a driver does not use this technique and causes a dooring accident, he can be considered negligent in a personal injury claim.
- Damages: Lastly, you will need to show how the dooring accident caused “damage” to your life, which can include physical injuries, property damage, financial losses, and mental anguish. Damages for dooring accidents typically include medical bills, lost wages, bike repairs, and pain and suffering.
Dooring accidents can result in serious trauma, including certain disabilities. It the cyclist was moving at high speeds, hitting a door could damage the spine, potentially leading to chronic pain or paralysis. Treating these injuries and moving on from a crash can take thousands to millions of dollars, which is why riders should not hesitate to contact an Orange County personal injury attorney after a dooring collision.
At Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, our legal team is a strong advocate for injured cyclists throughout Southern California, including here in Newport and Costa Mesa. We have over 45 years of combined experience and have recovered millions of dollars for injured cyclists. If you bring your case to us, you can trust that we will thoroughly investigate your accident and fight for your best interests in an injury claim. To schedule a free.
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