When biking on streets, avid cyclists usually understand that motor vehicles pose an array of dangers. Besides being struck by a careless motorist, cyclists can also sustain severe injuries when a driver or passenger opens a vehicle door suddenly into their path without ensuring that the way is clear. If the bicyclist is traveling at any rate of speed, a dooring accident can be tantamount to colliding with a solid wall. If you were harmed under circumstances such as these, the Phoenix bicycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries. We can assess the facts and events related to your case, answer your questions, and help you assert your legal rights following this kind of collision.Dooring Accidents in Phoenix
When drivers or passengers open a door without checking to see if the way is clear, they place everyone passing near the vehicle at risk. This may not be as serious of a concern for pedestrians who can respond quickly to an opening door and avoid being struck. However, a bicyclist may not be as fortunate.
Even if a cyclist is traveling in an appropriate lane, complying with all other traffic rules that govern cycling on a public road, and keeping a proper lookout, a sudden door opening may not afford the cyclist sufficient time and distance to stop safely. The door zone refers to an area roughly 3 to 4 feet around the door and encompasses the area which the door will occupy as it swings open. Drivers and passengers should inspect this area before opening a door to exit the vehicle.
Bicyclists in dooring accidents can suffer a wide variety of injuries ranging from minor bruises to fractures and traumatic brain injuries, which can occur when the head of a cyclist strikes the vehicle, pavement, or some other object after the cyclist is thrown off the bike. Regardless of the extent of your harm, you may be entitled to compensation for the careless acts of the passenger or driver who failed to use reasonable care.Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit to Recover Damages
To recover damages from a dooring accident, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. In it, your lawyer will allege that the defendant’s failure to use reasonable care caused you to suffer foreseeable harm.
In general, this standard of care requires everyone to use the same prudent caution that a reasonable person would use when encountering a similar situation. If a reasonably prudent person would maintain a proper lookout to ensure that their door can be safely opened, then a driver or passenger must take the same precautions. This is especially true when a car is parked along the street, or in or next to a bike lane.
The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant was the primary cause of his or her injuries. If the defendant can identify an alternative cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, then the plaintiff may be barred from recovery.
The final phase of the trial requires the plaintiff to provide evidence to support the amount of damages claimed. Your attorney will collect documentation of your past medical expenses and missed wages, and may retain experts to project future medical costs and lost earning capacity.Discuss Your Case with a Lawyer in Phoenix
If you were injured in a door zone accident, you may be wondering whether you can recover compensation from the responsible party. At Abels & Annes, we offer a free consultation to help you understand your legal rights and discuss how we may be able to assist you. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys have helped people who were injured in bicycle accidents throughout Phoenix. Call us today at (602) 819-5191 or contact us online.