Injured By An Opened Door While Riding Your Motorcycle in California?

open car door motorcycle accidentsMotorcycle riders in California are frequently injured in open car door accidents, particularly when a driver or passenger gets out of a vehicle along a line of parked cars. Generally, occupants of a vehicle are required to check the road for potential hazards, such as an oncoming motorcyclist, before opening a car door. While this seems straightforward, determining who is liable in an open car door motorcycle accident can be complicated.

This is why it is crucial to work with the skilled motorcycle accident attorneys at J&Y Law. We have the necessary knowledge and skills to prove another party was responsible for an open car door accident and know to get the best results at trial or in settlement negotiations. Despite the entrenched bias that motorcycle riders are reckless, we fight back against insurance companies to help injured riders obtain the compensation they deserve.

Why You Should Call J&Y Law for Your Open Door Motorcycle Accident Claim

Our legal team will work tirelessly to help you obtain meaningful compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, as well as any and all future medical and financial needs. If a loved one has been killed in a motorcycle dooring accident, we will help you seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Unfortunately, insurance adjusters often attempt to blame the injured riders because they collided with the vehicle. However many motorcycle dooring accidents are caused by a driver’s failure to notice a motorcycle coming from behind, leading to a collision or forcing the rider to swerve into traffic. In fact, some of the common causes of motorcycle dooring accidents include:

  • Failure to look — Drivers or passengers may (1) fail to look behind or scan the adjacent lane for oncoming vehicles or (2) look for cars and trucks but fail to see a motorcycle.
  • Illegally-parked vehicles — Vehicles that are illegally parked in active traffic lanes or along driveways often have drivers who try to dash in and out, failing to check for oncoming motorcycle riders before opening their doors.
  • Right-hand turns — Motorcycle riders are required to move to the right side of the lane when making a right-hand turn to avoid blocking traffic. This maneuver often puts a rider dangerously close to parked vehicles along the roadside or at entrances to driveways and side streets.
  • Poor Visibility — While poor weather conditions can obstruct views for both drivers and motorcyclists, drivers can exacerbate visibility issues by neglecting to turn on their headlights.
  • Road defects/debris — A motorcycle rider who needs to quickly maneuver around potholes or debris can veer into an open car door. In this situation a municipal liability lawsuit can be brought against the public entity responsible for road maintenance.

Although motorcycle riders must be aware of their surroundings, vehicle drivers and passengers are required to check for motorcycle traffic before opening a door. The California Vehicle Code (§ 22517) states that:

No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

While the person who opened the door is typically liable if a motorcyclist is doored, the amount of damages awarded will depend on the facts of the case. If there was no traffic when the motorcycle dooring accident occurred or the rider was speeding, the motorcyclist may be deemed partially responsible.

In this situation, it is still possible to obtain compensation, however, the amount of any award may be reduced by the percentage of blame assigned to the motorcycle rider. If the driver was deemed to be 80 percent responsible and the rider 20 percent liable, for example, the damages will be reduced by 20 percent.

Common Motorcycle-Car Door Accident Injuries

Even if the rider avoids hitting another vehicle, he or she may be thrown from the motorcycle, or get trapped beneath it, and sustain catastrophic injuries as a result, including:

  • Neurological damage
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Internal bleeding, lacerations, friction burns (road rash)
  • Physical mutilation, loss of limbs, permanent scarring
  • Spinal cord injuries/paralysis

In addition to lingering pain and suffering, many open car door accident victims face mounting medical expenses and other emotional and financial burdens. We can help to lift those burdens by providing you with knowledge, compassion and aggressive legal representation.

Open Car Door Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

At J&Y Law, we know that being injured in a motorcycle accident can be devastating and we will work tirelessly to help you obtain compensation for the harm you have endured. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to economic damages to cover your lost wages, medical expenses and other financial losses. In addition, you may be able to recover noneconomic damages that are designed to compensate you for pain and suffering, permanent disability, and similar harm. We believe that injured motorcyclists should not be forced to suffer because of the negligence of others and work hard to hold responsible parties accountable. Call J&Y today or complete the online contact form to set up a consultation.