Bicyclists face potentially dangerous situations when sharing the road with motor vehicles. One of these situations is dooring, where a driver or passenger opens a car door into the path of another road user, such as a bicyclist, without checking to make sure the way is clear.
If you were hit by an open car door while riding your bicycle, seek immediate medical care for your injuries. After that, contact a South Carolina bike injury attorney who can help you protect your rights and recover your damages.
How Common Are Dooring Accidents?
In many major cities throughout the country, dooring accidents have become commonplace over the past decade.
- According to Boston’s 2013 Cyclist Safety Report, dooring accidents make up 11% of bicycle accidents.
- Chicago reported 300 incidents of dooring in 2015, an increase of 50% over the previous year.
- In San Francisco, dooring accidents accounted for 16% of all bicycle crashes resulting in injuries in 2015.
Although South Carolina does not track dooring incidents, there were 4,570 recorded bicycle crashes on state roads, an average of 508 a year, from 2009 to 2017. During this time, 90.7% of all bike crashes resulted in injuries, 6.1% caused property damage, and 3.2% of the crashes were fatal.
Common Injuries from Dooring Accidents
If a bicyclist is struck by a door or swerves to avoid a door and crashes, it can cause serious injury. Common injuries from dooring include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: People who ride bikes frequently wear helmets for extra protection, but head injuries such as traumatic brain injuries can occur in dooring accidents. These injuries can have lifelong consequences and sometimes result in the victim’s death.
- Neck injuries: Bicyclists may be thrown from their bikes when hit by a car door. The sudden impact can cause severe damage to their necks and spinal cords.
- Broken bones: A vehicle door can hit a bicyclist hard enough to cause broken bones, particularly in the arm or hand, if they fall off their bike.
- Emotional distress: Bicycle accidents can be distressing experiences that cause victims to have anxiety, depression, and insomnia. If you suffered emotional distress as a result of the accident, you may be able to obtain compensation.
Why is Opening a Car Door Without Looking Considered Negligence in South Carolina?
Drivers in South Carolina owe a duty of care to avoid colliding with anyone using a human-powered vehicle, like a bicycle or scooter. If a driver fails to meet their legal duty of care by not looking out for other road users and injures you, you may have a claim for damages.
In South Carolina, vehicle occupants must wait to open a car door unless it is reasonably safe to do so. They also shouldn’t leave a door facing moving traffic open for longer than necessary for loading or unloading people.
As a result, the driver or passenger of the car who opens the door without checking whether anyone is approaching may be held financially liable for the bicyclist’s injuries and expenses, such as medical bills. Our South Carolina bike injury lawyers can help you with your claim against the driver and passenger.
You must prove the driver violated the duty of care and that breach of duty resulted in your injuries and damages, which can include your medical bills, the cost to repair or replace your bike, and even lost wages if you were severely injured and needed time off work to recover.
Damages for Dooring Accidents
Many injuries from dooring accidents require medical treatment and time off work for recovery. That means bills are piling up, but no paychecks are coming in. You may also have long-term pain and emotional distress from your injuries and the accident.
If you were hurt in a dooring bicycle accident in South Carolina, you may be entitled to compensation. Compensation often includes the following:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Your attorney can review your claim and advise you on how to recover the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses.
Reach out to Joye Law Firm After a Dooring Accident
The South Carolina bike injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you or a family member who has been injured due to someone opening a door into the path of their bicycle. We’ve been guiding clients through difficult times since 1968. Contact us today for a free consultation and get started on your claim.