Representing Injured Riders in Boulder
Bicycle accidents can absolutely transform a rider’s life. These accidents are often the result of negligent drivers who failed to check their mirrors, ignored a bicyclist’s right of way, or otherwise drove recklessly. But one of the most overlooked acts of negligence is as simple as opening a door. Referred to as dooring, these accidents occur when vehicle occupants fail to check if there is any oncoming traffic before opening a door while parked on the side of the road. If a bicyclist collides with the door, he can suffer catastrophic injuries all over his body.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a dooring accident, you may be able to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering in a personal injury claim against the person who opened the door. To ensure you receive compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company, you will need to work with an experienced Boulder dooring accident attorney at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC. Our legal team is well-versed in investigating bicycle accidents and negotiating with insurance companies for full compensation for our clients. We offer every potential client a free consultation, so there is no cost to scheduling an appointment by calling our office at (303) 665-2929.
The Dangers of Dooring
Any collision between a car and bike can catastrophically injure a rider. Dooring accidents are no different, but they are unique because they involve collisions with fixed objects. In bike accidents like these, the bikers’ bones, muscles, and organs can become compressed when they hit a door and result in internal damage.
In addition, the riders can suffer further harm when they collide with the ground. Dooring can cause them to fall back against the ground, slide underneath the door, or be thrown over it onto the street. In some cases, they may even be hit from the side and be thrown into oncoming traffic. All of these events can cause catastrophic injuries, including:
- Spinal cord injuries and slipped discs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Multiple broken bones
- Severe lacerations and scars from colliding with the windshield
These injuries are not limited to bicyclists. Dooring accidents can also involve electric scooters like Lyme and Bird, whose riders are legally required to use the bike lanes, and motorcyclists. All of these vehicles can strike an open door at high speeds, resulting in severe trauma for the riders. If you are involved in a dooring accident, you should remember that you do have a right to file a personal injury claim against the vehicle’s occupants for compensation.
While most drivers around Boulder may only park on the side of the road every now and then, rideshare drivers are well known for double parking and blindly opening their doors into bike lanes. Many of these drivers are rushing to pick up and drop off passengers at breakneck speeds, meaning they rarely pay attention to bicyclists around them. They may even block bike lanes and make it difficult for bicyclists to maneuver. In addition, passengers may forget to check the bike lane before opening their doors and be the primary cause of an accident.
If you are involved in a dooring accident with a rideshare driver, you are likely covered under the rideshare company’s liability policy. But these policies only apply during certain scenarios, such as when a driver has accepted an order or when he has a passenger in the vehicle, which can be difficult to determine on your own. You should contact an attorney to discuss what compensation is available.
Colorado’s Comparative Negligence Laws
Dooring is a Class B Traffic Infraction under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42: Vehicles and Traffic § 42-4-1207. Under this statute, it is illegal for any driver or passenger to open the left doors of a vehicle into oncoming traffic “unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic” and for occupants to leave the door open for longer than is “necessary to load or unload passengers.” As a Class B Traffic Infraction, drivers can be fined between $15 to $100 for dooring.
Violating any Colorado traffic law, however minor the punishment, can make the vehicle’s occupants liable for injuries a bicyclist suffers in a dooring accident. However, it is important to remember that Colorado is a comparative negligence state, which means multiple parties can be found liable for an accident. With regard to dooring accidents, a jury may find that a bicyclist should have had enough time to brake or swerve out of the way of the car’s door and avoid the accident altogether. In these cases, you may be limited in the amount of compensation you can receive based on the amount of fault assigned to you. If you are assigned 50% or more of the fault for the accident, you would be barred from receiving compensation.
That being said, if you work with a skilled attorney at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we may be able to protect your right to compensation by showing that there was no way for you to avoid the collision. Also, comparative negligence only applies to jury trials. If we can get you a fair deal during insurance negotiations, these laws will not apply, and you may be able to receive full compensation for your injuries.
Speak to an Attorney Today
Filing a successful dooring accident claim requires an in-depth look at the circumstances of your accident. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our Boulder auto accident attorney has over 25 years of experience representing injured cyclists throughout Colorado. If we take you on as a client, we can launch a thorough investigation into your accident, review the police report, collect witness statements, and represent you in insurance negotiations or a jury trial. We offer every potential client a free consultation and work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning there is no cost to reaching out to us. To get started on your claim, call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, at (303) 665-2929.