When you’re riding your bike, especially when you’re using the bike lane appropriately, you should feel safe. Unfortunately, drivers don’t think about bicyclists the same way they think about other drivers. Many drivers consider bicyclists a nuisance, and in some cases, they completely forget that they share the road with bicyclists.
This is often the case with dooring accidents. While drivers may check the lane next to them for motor vehicles, they may forget to look for bicyclists. This leads to dooring, which has become far more common across the United States in recent years. If you’ve been hit by a negligent driver while riding your bike, we can help. Call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-300-2754 to set up a consultation now.
How Does Dooring Happen?
If you’ve ever seen a dooring accident happen, you know it can be brutal. A bicyclist cruises along in the bike lane when someone in a parked car throws their door open in the bicyclist’s path. It’s too late for the bicyclist to stop, and they hit the door at full speed. Depending on the speed they’re traveling, they may simply slam into the door and fall over, or they may be thrown from their bike over the door.
Liability for Dooring Accidents
Dooring has become so incredibly common in recent years that many states have created laws addressing this issue. Luckily, this includes the state of Mississippi. Mississippi Code 63-3-911 addresses opening the door of a stopped motor vehicle.
Per the law, no one shall open a motor vehicle door until it’s safe to do so and will not interfere with the movement of traffic. Additionally, drivers shall not leave doors open any longer than they need to load or unload passengers. Bicycles are considered traffic, and so opening a door in the path of a bicyclist is against the law.
This can make it much easier to establish liability when you are injured in a dooring accident. If the other party engaged in illegal or reckless behavior, it’s hard for them to contest liability.
Bicyclists can suffer a wide range of injuries in a dooring accident. Bicyclists have reported broken bones, significant trauma to the neck, head injuries, nerve damage, bruises, and cuts. If a bicyclist is thrown from or falls off of their bike, they could fall into a lane of traffic and risk even more serious injuries. It may also happen that a bicyclist automatically tries to avoid hitting the door and swerves into traffic, which further ramps up the odds of being hit by a moving car. In any of these scenarios, serious or deadly injuries are possible.
After an accident like this, it is crucial to seek medical attention, get the driver’s contact and insurance information, and write down what you experienced as soon as possible. Drivers often try to pin the accident on the bicyclist involved, claiming that the bicyclist should always be ready to avoid obstacles. This is a blatant misunderstanding of their legal obligations as a driver, so don’t be guilted into apologizing or accepting liability.
How an Attorney Can Help
Getting compensation for a dooring accident can be challenging since drivers can be stubborn about admitting fault. Furthermore, insurance companies can be reluctant to pay compensation to injured bicyclists. Working with a personal injury attorney. May give you the leverage and support you need to secure a full and fair settlement.
For the best outcome, seek medical care as soon as possible after an accident. You never know what injuries are lying just below the surface, and medical documentation of your injuries is crucial. From there, you should contact a bicycle accident attorney to talk more about your injuries and explore your legal options. Make sure you bring your medical records, an accident report if you have one, and the driver’s insurance information.
Contact Reeves & Mestayer Today
The team at Reeves & Mestayer wants to help you pursue the full and fair compensation you are owed. Don’t wait a moment longer to get the support you deserve through this time. Schedule your consultation now by calling us at 228-300-2754 or sending us a message online.