Cycling in the city is fun but can also be dangerous, given the higher risk of more severe injuries in case of an accident. You’ll note that drivers have a better shield from a sturdy layer of safety glass and steel, but cyclists have no outer form of protection, and their bodies are fully exposed to outside elements. One of the hazards cyclists are exposed to is being doored.
It happens when a driver suddenly opens the door of a parked car into or directly in front of an oncoming bicycle rider. If a rider smashes into the door at high speed, they risk sustaining very severe injuries. If you have been a victim of being doored and suffered injuries, you may not know who is at fault. A personal injury lawyer in Illinois can investigate the case for you.
Why is Dooring Dangerous?
Apart from being hit by the door of a car as it swings open, a cyclist may try to avoid a collision by swerving into another lane. While this may prevent a potential accident, it may land them in bigger trouble. Abruptly swerving into another lane may get them hit by an oncoming vehicle.
Potential Repercussions of Getting Doored
Dooring accidents are typically not fatal, but victims may suffer fractures, brain injuries, bruising and lacerations even at low speeds.
At higher speeds, dooring victims can cause serious injuries like:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Serious nerve damage
- Spinal injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Death, but only in rare incidents
There may also be costly medical bills and the probability of acquiring permanent disabilities. That’s why dooring victims should consider getting the help of a reputable advocate for bicycle injury compensation in Chicago to help them file a lawsuit to demand compensation for the damages.
What Are the Rules of the Road in Chicago That Cyclists Must Know?
Road rules mainly require cyclists to ride in bike lanes or to the right of traffic. The position places them perilously close to parked cars. While most cyclists may not know the specifics, they should be aware of the “dangerous door zone.” It refers to the adjacent area to a parked car, typically three to four feet, the space a door occupies after swinging open.
Dooring accidents remain frequent, so Chicago enacted an ordinance against opening a car door without first checking for oncoming traffic. The Municipal Code of Chicago stipulates that no person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side of moving traffic unless doing so doesn’t interfere with the movement of other traffic and it is safe to do so.
Besides, a person shall not leave a door open on the side of moving traffic for longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Who Takes Fault for Dooring Accidents in Illinois?
The motorist is legally responsible for the damages and injuries if the cyclist observes the road rules and keeps to their lane at the time of the accident. Drivers and passengers must check for oncoming bicycles before opening a door or exiting a parked vehicle.
So, legally speaking, the one who opens the door is technically at fault for violating the Illinois Vehicle Code. That applies to the driver or passenger, but depending on the investigations by a personal injury lawyer in Illinois and the findings, the car owner’s liability may be limited.
With the help of a bicycle accident attorney in Chicago, a dooring accident victim can prove that the other party was negligent by demonstrating these four elements:
Bicyclists Have Legal Duties as Well
In some dooring accidents, a bicyclist involved in a dooring accident may be found partially at fault for the accident. For example, if they see a car pulling over, see brake lights, and still ride very close to the vehicle as a person gets out, the jury might determine the rider to be at fault. That’s because it may be determined that the cyclist should have known better and acted differently.
The damages will be reduced according to the cyclist’s level of fault, and the victim may have legal options beyond seeking compensation from the negligent person who opened the door.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Doored in Illinois?
After being involved in a dooring accident, the first step should be to contact the police and report the accident. Despite feeling fine and not having significant injuries, ensure you document the incident and seek medical attention. Police and medical reports will help you receive compensation for the damages if you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
While still at the accident scene, take photos or videos of anything you feel will interest your bicycle accident lawyer in Illinois and the insurance adjuster. Avoiding fixing your bicycle until you have reached a satisfactory claim resolution.
What Damages Are Available After a “Dooring” Accident in Chicago?
Once you file a compensation claim with a Chicago bicycle injury lawyer, the attorney will evaluate the case and advise you on the damages you can collect from the negligent party.
- Hospital bills and emergency medical expenses
- Damages to your bike
- Lost wages and income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Your attorney will help you fight for the total compensation you deserve.
A Legal Professional Helping You Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
Ultimately, anyone who negligently contributes to an accident should be held liable for their unsafe action. Dooring accidents are much too common in Chicago, and the consequences can be life-changing. If you or your loved one have been injured in a dooring accident, a bicycle accident attorney can help you prove negligence and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Our Illinois personal injury attorneys have handled several dooring accident cases and helped victims recover compensation and rebuild their lives. We can fight for your rights to receive fair financial compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation.