A car door opened into me just as I was riding past the car. Do I have a claim against the car’s owner?
By GNGF on January 20th, 2023 in
Being hit by a car door is one of the most common causes of bicycle accidents. When a car parallel parks, then the driver opens the door into the street without properly looking to see if there is a bicyclist or motorcyclist approaching, which can cause serious injuries to the cyclist. This type of accident is known as a “dooring” accident. Bicyclists moving at high speeds simply don’t have enough time to react before colliding with the open car door.
Other common causes of bicycle accidents include road defects, excessive speed on the part of motorists, distracted driving, and impaired driving. Many drivers fail to provide a sufficient buffer between themselves and the bicyclist or make careless lane changes without properly looking for the bicyclist.
Similar to accidents caused by careless lane changes, when a car changes direction (like making a turn) without properly looking for a bicyclist, an accident can occur. Drivers in roundabout and intersection areas may fail to yield to a bicyclist, causing a serious accident. Another common type of bicycle accident occurs when a bicyclist properly comes to a stop at a red light or stop sign and the vehicle behind them crashes into them.
Bicycles generally have the same rights and are subject to the same rules of the road that apply to motor vehicles. Therefore, when a driver does not see a cyclist and negligently opens their car door as the bicycle passes them, then the driver can be held liable for failing to see the cyclist.
In this type of situation, the driver and the driver’s insurance are responsible for any damages when a bicyclist is hit by a car. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, lost future wages, and pain and suffering. Since a bicyclist often receives severe injuries because they have no protection, they may find it difficult to ever return to their normal everyday life.
Can a cyclist claim damages against a car driver when there was no contact between the car and the bike?
There is no requirement to have contact between a bicycle and a car to make a claim for injuries against the other driver. However, if the other driver leaves and you make a claim against your own insurance company for uninsured motorist coverage, in Texas, there is a physical contact requirement between the other vehicle and your person or bicycle. This type of accident is known as a “no-contact” bicycle accident and is much more common than you might think. New Mexico does not require contact to make a claim against the bicyclist’s own insurance. When a bicyclist is injured as a result of the driver’s actions, the driver is responsible for those injuries. Some scenarios where a no-contact bicycle accident can occur include:
- As a bicyclist is riding properly through an intersection, an inattentive driver attempts to make a turn, cutting off the bicyclist and causing them to lose control of their bicycle and crash.
- A driver suddenly and with no warning (no blinker) decides to change lanes. In an effort to avoid being hit by a car, the bicyclist swerves into another car, causing injuries. The first car that changed lanes with no warning is responsible for this accident even though it did not make actual contact with the bicyclist.
- A driver swerves into the bike lane, causing the bicyclist to drive up onto the sidewalk, crashing into a storefront window. The bicyclist may have serious injuries from this encounter, even though the driver did not directly hit them.
Any time a driver is not properly following traffic laws, and that failure to obey rules and laws causes a bicyclist to crash, the driver can be held responsible.
How Can the Harmonson Law Firm with Offices in El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM Help?
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident in El Paso, Las Cruces, or the surrounding areas, Harmonson Law Firm wants to help you get a full and fair settlement that covers all your damages. Attorneys Clark Harmonson and Hadley Huchton love helping people who have been severely injured through the negligence or carelessness of another person.
We will ensure you receive the best medical care possible by working with physicians, facilities, and therapists whose goal will be to help return your health to how it was prior to the accident. We strongly believe in our clients and understand what a stressful time this is for you and your family members.
Perhaps you are unable to return to work and pay your normal monthly expenses. You may be watching your medical expenses mount alarmingly. We will zealously work to secure an equitable settlement for you. We offer our clients personalized and compassionate legal representation. We are dedicated to helping good people injured in bad accidents. If you were hit by a car while biking, contact Harmonson Law Firm today to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. Please note that nothing herein is meant as legal advice specifically related to your case.