[Content Updated 04/14/2021] Motorcycle riders in California are frequently injured in open car door mishaps. Mainly, these take place with bicycles and motorcycle riders bearing the brunt of most injuries. Examples include shared bicycle lanes where cars are parked.
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The California Vehicle Code Section 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.
When the vehicle’s driver or other occupant exits their vehicle along a section of parked cars, the rider nor the person leaving the car will have time to prevent the collision. Most plaintiff’s lawyers would assert that departing vehicle drivers must check the road for potential hazards, such as an oncoming motorcyclist. The law requires motorists to be cautious before opening a car door in these situations. While you riders may believe this seems straightforward, determining who is liable in an open car door motorcycle accident can be complicated, even with the best legal representation.
This is why it will become critical to work with the adept, compassionate, and skilled motorcycle accident lawyers at Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. We have the requisite gravitas and esprit de corps to overcome the other party’s defenses. Moreover, we go on the offensive to achieve the next task in your case, proving who was responsible for the injuries arising out of a car door opening onto a motorcyclist.
Remember, sometimes the pedestrian-car occupant was in compliance with their duty of good reasonable care, and the rider is totally at fault for running them over. The other person or their representative will hire a pedestrian accident lawyer to go after the rider who ran into the person’s door. Their job as the plaintiff’s lawyer will be to use finesse and pressure to obtain the best trial results or in settlement negotiations.
But the rider still may have an ace up their sleeve. The rider can file a cross-complaint and argue he was not at fault, or if he was, any damages award should be offset based upon the fact that the door should not have been opened or should have been closed sooner. That way, the rider may still end up making lemons into lemonade. But you really need an excellent motorcycle lawyer.
Under California’s pure comparative negligence laws, even if the motorcycle rider bears some responsibility for crashing into the open car door, it’s not game over. Although conventional wisdom says, the person who opened their car’s door outward into motorcycle traffic is liable for dooring the biker. However, the actual award of damages paid out will depend on who was most at fault. For example, what if the rider was speeding or not paying attention to parked cars on the left side of the road? Maybe the person who opened the door should have closed it sooner, forcing the rider to take evasive action, throwing the motorcyclist into a tree shredder machine that was left on by mistake, killing the rider.
In this situation, the rider’s family could sue the pedestrian for their portion of the fault in causing the decedent to take evasive actions. The pedestrian could, in turn, sue the rider’s estate for the damages to the car door. The survivors would also claim against Caltrans or the construction or maintenance company for the wrongful death portion of the case. So in this way, everyone may get some compensation even though a court will reduce awards based upon the degree of fault. So if the jury places a percentage of blame like 30% on the motorcycle rider, 30% on the pedestrian, and 40% liability on the owners or operators of the heavy machinery, there will be a reduction based upon fault.
Because courts, cops, and juries often have an entrenched bias against motorcycle riders, it takes a top-notch lawyer to show the inattentiveness or recklessness of the door opener and not the rider that caused the riding incident. And in doing so, we keep insurance companies honest. So this helps injured riders receive the monetary compensation they have earned through their pain, toil, and suffering.
The motorcycle lawyers at Ehline Law are dedicated to victimized riders. Our clients are people injured from a vehicle passenger or driver opening a car door into oncoming traffic. Our clients were tossed from their cycles and seriously hurt. Because drivers failed to check and see if the coast was clear before opening the door, our clients got hurt.
No doubt, the defendant will argue the sun was in his or her eyes or that bad weather prevented a proper sight picture. So they argue that they didn’t see the oncoming rider, so it’s not their fault. But the truth is, there can be many excuses for open car door cycling accidents. Afterward, only a few defenses may be valid.
The bottom line is that a fixed object like a car door opened into a rider’s path is almost always avoidable. Of course, this requires people to use the roads to exercise reasonable care. When a vehicle door is swung open, the rider will usually only have seconds to react.
Typically the rider either lays the bike down or is thrown violently. Afterward, he or she usually impacts into another stationary object. So it could be a curb. But more often than not, the victim slides along the asphalt or cement. So road rash and missing skin are common. Also, averting a crash like this is nearly impossible. This is no joke. So caveat emptor.
There are some considerations riders should be on the lookout for at all times. Knowing these allows them to mitigate or eliminate a vehicle door opening into their pathway. Commercial trucks are notorious for wide and high-up doors.
Note: Many motorcycle dooring accidents are caused by a car driver’s failure to observe the motorcyclist coming from the rear, leading to a crash or forcing the rider to take evasive swerving maneuvers into the traffic lanes.
As discussed, many riders are thrown into the air upon impact. Flying through the air with the wind knocked out of you prevents you from landing in a stable position. Depending upon speed, riders may land on their heads even if the thrown cyclist can avoid hitting another fixed object or car or become trapped beneath another vehicle or sewage outlet. Sliding to a stop injury cases often results in torn flesh, substantial cuts, skull fractures, and shattered body parts. And these collisions and flying through the air incidents can cause facial lacerations and broken jaws, all the way to quadriplegia lawsuits. At this point, riders may sustain severe injuries to their spinal column.
The faster the speed on the impact traditionally means a more severe outcome. But no matter how proper the protective riding gear may be, injuries happen.
A non-exclusive list of the most common injuries our firm assists fallen riders with:
But these are just a few of the examples of what riders face. Out there on the mean streets, anything could happen. No matter what, once you are medically capable, consult with a caring and reliable Motorcycle Injury Lawyer at Ehline Law Firm. We are 100% devoted to meaningfully helping you out. Your situation matters. With more than ten years as a rider and personal injury attorney, Michael Ehline is a force without equality.
So when it comes to battling and winning in and out of court, hire him. What we do here is work with our clients as part of our legal team. So hire us and help us devise a strategy to win your insurance or court claim.
The vaunted legal team at Ehline Law will sleeplessly work to obtain meaningful compensation for your lost income, past, present, and future medical bills, as well as pain and suffering damages. And we will never give up till we score you a win. Even when your Ioved one is killed due to an opened car door, you will need a caring and intelligent motorcycle wrongful death lawyer. This person is a legal professional who can protect the surviving family members and help them obtain justice. Because the insurance adjuster generally tries to point fault at the rider, you must contact Ehline Law before making any statements to the insurance company or their paid investigators.
Our job is to help riders like you who rode into car doors and wrecked. These clients of ours include bicyclists and motorcycle riders. Our staff and attorneys help secure you the compensation you are entitled to. Above all, we have pledged ourselves to the victims of open car door motorcycle accidents. As a result, we advise you on the methods of securing monetary compensation. After all, this is what you rightfully deserve for your pain and suffering.
Our attorneys have the respect of insurance adjusters and past clients. Anyone who suffered riding injuries is a friend to Ehline. We fight like fierce lions when going up against ivory tower defense attorneys. And we will not hesitate to take your case to trial. So if the defendants won’t play ball, we take it to the next level. The goal in every case remains, giving each client the zenith in legal assistance and windfall type outcomes. So when the scales become tipped against you, you can count on Ehline to obtain the MAX compensation under the law.
Also, you can depend on us to do so within the shortest period possible. So that way, you can deal with your personal affairs. Hiring us helps get your life back on track. If you were faced with a terrible crash, we want to schedule a hassle-free, no-obligation phone consultation so you can tell us what happened in confidence. Let the Los Angeles injury attorneys at Ehline Law guide you to a just legal victory. Call (213) 596-9642.
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