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Who May Be Liable When a Bike Rider Crashes Into an Open Car Door?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Nov 09, 2020 in Personal Injury

moving bicycle about approaching open car doorDrivers are likely to encounter many pedestrians and bicyclists in Portland. It is the driver’s responsibility to look out for these vulnerable road users, and not just when their cars are in motion. Bicyclists are often seriously injured when drivers open their doors without looking and riders crash into the door. There is often not enough time for riders to stop or move out of the way of the approaching door.

If you were injured by a negligent driver in this type of accident, you may be eligible for compensation to cover the costs of your injuries and other damages.

Contact Rizk Law to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you may have a valid case. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay while we work on your case. We do not collect our costs unless we obtain a recovery for you.

How Do Bicycle Versus Car Door Accidents Happen?

While Portland continues to take measures to improve both bicycle and pedestrian safety, accidents still happen. Bicycle versus car door accidents, also known as “dooring” accidents are common and typically happen in one of two ways:

  • When a motorist leaves his or her car door open either on the side of the vehicle that faces moving traffic or the side next to a walkway, designated bike path or road shoulder where a cyclist may be traveling.
  • When a driver opens any car door that is facing traffic, or a bike path, road shoulder or sidewalk, without checking for a cyclist who may be approaching the vehicle from behind.

These accidents can leave vulnerable bicycle riders at risk for some very serious injuries, which can lead to costly medical bills and a lengthy recovery. According to Oregon’s vehicle code: ORS 811.490, drivers may be cited with a Class D traffic offense, along with a hefty $110 fine for opening their doors and injuring bicyclists.

Common Injuries From Dooring Accidents

The severity of a cyclist’s injuries from this type of accident is determined by many variables, including the speed the bicyclist was traveling, what safety gear he or she was wearing (such as a helmet) and whether the rider was thrown in the collision.

Injuries that bicyclists often suffer in a dooring accident may include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Severe bruising or lacerations
  • Head injuries
  • Fractured limbs
  • Neck injuries
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Sprains and strains, especially to the wrists and knees
  • Dislocated shoulders
  • Death

Who May Be Liable for a Dooring Accident?

Typically, the law favors cyclists when a negligent driver causes a dooring accident. This means that the driver who opened the door that you rode into may be liable for the costs associated with your injuries and property damages.

Compensation following this type of bicycle accident could include, but may not be limited to:

  • All associated medical costs, including any surgery or physical therapy that is necessary
  • Lost income if you were unable to work while recovering
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damages

There are some cases where the bicyclist may be assessed some of the liability for the accident as well. For example, if the cyclist was impaired or distracted while riding his or her bicycle, the law may find that individual partly liable.

Under Oregon’s contributory negligence law, the amount of liability you are assessed could impact the percentage of any awarded compensation you may be able to recover. If you are not assessed with more than 50 percent of the liability, you can still pursue a lawsuit to recover compensation for your damages. However, you are financially responsible for the percentage of fault you are assigned.

For example, if you are found to be 10 percent to blame for the accident that caused you harm and the total awarded compensation is $50,000, your portion of that award would be reduced by $5,000 – or 10 percent.

How an Attorney May Benefit You if You Have a Case

In any accident where you are injured, having an attorney handle your case ensures you have someone on your side who is fighting for your legal rights and best interests. Those who pursue a lawsuit with the help of an attorney often recover larger compensatory awards compared to those who do not.

Our Portland bicycle accident attorneys at Rizk Law are prepared to fight to make sure you are not assigned more than your fair share of liability. We have a proven track record of recovering millions in compensation for our clients, and we are prepared to pursue the maximum amount of compensation available on your behalf.

Call now for a FREE case evaluation!