Burlington Dooring Accident Attorney
One of the saddest facts about driving is how often cyclists are injured by negligent drivers. On Massachusetts’s roads and streets, cyclists are awarded the same rights, responsibilities, and legal protection as drivers, but many are still injured because of drivers who fail to check their blind spots, make dangerous run red lights, or speed. But drivers – and their passengers – can seriously injure cyclists even when they are not driving, simply by carelessly opening their doors into oncoming traffic or bike lanes.
If you or someone you loved was injured by a negligent driver or passenger in a dooring accident, then you are need of diligent and experienced legal aid. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our Burlington dooring accident attorney can use his wealth of knowledge and skill to advocate for the maximum compensation from the driver who struck you in an auto accident. To learn how, contact our firm at (781) 262-3338 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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Dooring is a unique type of bicycle accident that occurs when a driver or passenger strikes a cyclist with their door. This often occurs when a vehicle is parked on the side of the road and an occupant fails to look over their shoulder at oncoming traffic before opening the door. If they are next to a bike lane, they could very well hit an oncoming cyclist. While these actions typically affect cyclists, negligent drivers and passengers can also cause motorcycle accidents, especially if they are illegally parked. Both of these accidents can cause traumatic injuries that follow an accident victim for years.
Dooring accidents are very often sudden and occur without warning. Cyclists are rarely ever able to quickly dodge a door when it is suddenly opened and can be thrown under or over the door in a collision. Even though cyclists typically ride at speeds below 20 mph, they have very few protections besides helmets in a collision. This means if they ride full speed into a car door, they can suffer severe trauma throughout their body.
Cyclists can easily be thrown off their bikes backwards onto the pavement, leading to catastrophic back, neck, and head injuries, or they can be thrown over the door, where they may land on their face, leading to potential skull fractures. In both instances, a collision with the pavement can break bones, dislocate spinal columns, and cause severe road rash injuries. Even though the vehicle is stopped, a car door itself can weigh over 100 lbs. on average, adding to the trauma that cyclists suffer. In some cases, the collision can prove fatal.
These situations are not much better for motorcyclists. Because they tend to travel at higher speeds, their trauma can be even more severe. They may wear more protective gear, including stronger helmets and padded jackets, but that can mean little in the face of the amount of force they experience in a collision. At the end of the day, these accidents can cause debilitating injuries, from fractured skulls to paralysis. It is no wonder that in Massachusetts dooring is a crime.
Under M.G.L. c. 90, § 14, it is illegal for vehicle occupants, including drivers and passengers, to open a door into oncoming traffic if it is not “reasonably safe” to do so. Massachusetts is also one of three states that acknowledge the danger dooring presents to cyclists and pedestrians. While it is only an infraction under the law, the DMV has also updated driving manuals to teach the “Dutch Reach Method” to help curb this behavior. This technique encourages vehicle occupants to open the driver’s side door with the right hand, as it can force them to look over their shoulder and check for oncoming traffic. While this method can help prevent future accidents, accidents still deserve compensation when a vehicle occupant causes a collision.
If you were a victim of a dooring accident, you may be able to pursue an auto accident claim according to the vehicle’s auto liability policy. Even if an occupant claims that you were at fault for the accident, either by arguing that you were biking too fast or should have swerved out of the way, the majority of the time it is the vehicle’s occupants fault for your injuries. However, that does not mean these accidents are straightforward.
In a typical collision between a cyclist and driver, the driver can be considered the at-fault party in a claim. That means you can file a claim under their insurance policy and pursue damages up to their policy limits. However, the matter is slightly more complicated for passengers. For example, if the passenger is not a member of the driver’s household, they may not be covered by the vehicle’s liability policy. This is very common in rideshare and taxi cab accidents.
In these instances, it may not be as clear as to whose insurance policy you can file under. That is why discussing your case with an attorney is extremely important. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our team can review your accident to determine who is at fault and hold them accountable in a claim. In addition, we may also be able to get you compensation through your own personal injury protection coverage if you own auto insurance.
Dooring accidents can, and have proven to be, extremely dangerous. Every year, cyclists are injured due to the negligent actions of drivers, often being killed because they were careless or reckless. If you were injured in a dooring accident, then you deserve proper compensation for your injuries. But insurance companies are rarely ever generous in these cases and may try to minimize the amount of compensation you receive. That is where a Burlington auto accident attorney can be of aid.
If you or someone you love was injured in a dooring accident, reach out to the DiBella Law Offices, P.C. With our years of experience, our legal team can thoroughly review all available insurance policies, determine fault, and advocate for proper compensation in an auto accident claim, whether you are a bicyclist or motorcyclist. We offer each potential client a free initial consultation, so there is no cost to calling our office at (781) 262-3338 to schedule an appointment.