Riding a bicycle can help you maintain good health and provide you with an enjoyable hobby. However, it may also increase your risk of being involved in an accident and sustaining serious injuries. One common accident you might face as a bicyclist is called ‘dooring,’ when a driver opens his or her car door as you attempt to pass the vehicle. Above all, this can raise the question of liability, and there are a few questions to consider as you build a personal injury lawsuit.
1. Will I Be Partly Liable?
If you file a lawsuit against the driver who struck you with the door, he or she could claim you had room to go around and failed to avoid the door. While this could be a factor for the defense, witness account and crosswalk cameras may help you prove that heavy traffic did not leave you any space or that swerving would have put you into the path of oncoming vehicles. If this is the case, the court may clear you of any liability.
2. Is the Driver Instantly Liable?
Some large cities have laws that put responsibility in the hands of the driver, even when their car is not in motion. As they open car doors they must remain aware of other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. These laws usually give the cyclist right of way, so you may want to ask your attorney if these laws apply to drivers in your city of residence, as it could strengthen your case.
3. What Must I Prove?
When it comes to proving negligence in a car door vs. bicycle accident, the burden of proof will likely be upon you and your attorney. As such, you will have to prove that the driver was negligent of ensuring the space was clear before opening the car door. If he or she was talking to a passenger, texting or was otherwise distracted, you may be able to prove this with the help of witnesses or by having the defendant’s cell phone records reviewed.
4. Can I Claim Property Damages?
If the driver was found at fault for the dooring, his or her insurance company may offer you a settlement if your bicycle was damaged. If you feel the amount will not cover repairs or the cost of a new bike, ask your attorney if you can add the amount you are seeking to your personal injury case.
As a cyclist, being struck by a parked car door can cause you serious injury and bring up liability questions, but help is available. Contact a bicycle accident lawyer in St. Paul, MN, like from Johnston Martineau, LLP, today for further information and advice.