When a person exits their car, they are often distracted and not thinking of the traffic traveling down the street. However, making sure you enter and exit your car responsibly is part of being a good driver. Drivers who are not careful about opening their doors when they get out of their car can cause accidents. The people most often hurt in these accidents are motorcyclists and bicyclists.
Motorcyclists will often ride in the slower lane. The slower lane is right next to the parking lane, so a driver exiting a car may well end up opening their door into a speeding motorbike.
There have not been a lot of dooring accident studies done in the United States. The only state that has compiled statistics on dooring accidents is New York City in 2012, where there were about 132 dooring accidents a day.
New York City has very narrow streets and hundreds of bikers, so the chances of a dooring accident are much greater than they would be in any city in Arizona. However, dooring accidents do happen here, and people get hurt. If you are a motorcyclist who has been injured in a dooring accident, the law firm of Wattel and York can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Common Injuries After a Dooring Accident
When a motorcycle rider is hit by a car door, they will often be thrown from their bike. They may experience road rash, which can be very serious. If a motorcycle is traveling 30 miles an hour down a city street and the rider is suddenly thrown off the bike, it can take off many layers of skin. They can also suffer head trauma such as a concussion or serious long-term brain injury.
Arizona is a Fault State
There are two different types of auto insurance in the United States, fault and no fault. In a no-fault state, a person’s insurance company is responsible for paying the bills related to an accident, no matter who caused the collision. In a fault state, the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying the related bills. Hence, it is very important to collect evidence proving that the person exiting the car was at fault.
It can be difficult to prove fault in a dooring accident. There are many variables involved, and there are a few things that you must establish before an insurance company will pay up in a dooring accident.
The Driver Neglected Their Duty of Care
When a person gets their driver’s license, they assume a “duty of care.” This means they have a responsibility to take care of the well-being of other people on the road.
In order to get a settlement from the insurance company, you will need to prove the other driver was not looking out for you. Is there a witness who will state the driver was looking at their phone when they got out of the car? Are their security cameras in the area? If so, they can help your case.
In the case of a bike accident, an insurance company will want to know what you were wearing at the time of the crash. If you were not dressed safely, they might try to lower the amount of your settlement.
Witnesses are very important to establish fault in a dooring case. If we can establish a biker was following the rules of the road, obeying the speed limit, and wearing protective clothing, it can help us to win an injury case.
You should also collect evidence of any lost wages you have incurred due to your accident. Ask your employer to write you a letter stating the number of hours you have missed from work. Remember to save all of your medical bills.
It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for a bike or motorcycle to avoid the dooring zone completely. Bike and motorcycle injuries are often very severe, so if you have suffered a dooring injury, give Wattel & York a call for a free consultation.