Bicycle Dooring Accidents
Whether in large cities like Boulder, Fort Collins and Denver, or any other urban environment in Colorado, cyclists face a gauntlet of potential hazards riding on city streets. One of the most common risks urban cyclists face is getting “doored.” Dooring is when a bicyclist is hit by a car door that opens into the cyclist’s path. Cyclists can be hurt by colliding with the open car door itself or from swerving away from the open door and getting hit by other traffic.
Dooring injuries range in seriousness from minor scrapes and bruises to broken bones, severe head injuries, and even death. At Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, our attorneys are avid bicyclists and know first hand the risks urban cyclists face in the Boulder area and in other urban environments across Colorado. If you have been injured in a Boulder dooring accident, we invite you to call us today at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation with one of our Boulder dooring accident lawyers.Representing “Doored” Bicycle Commuters and Couriers
Our law firm represents a variety of injured cyclists including bicycle commuters hurt while riding to or from work as well as bike couriers who have been hit by vehicles while making deliveries. If you have been hurt in a dooring accident, an experienced Boulder dooring accident attorney will help you achieve two main things: 1) navigate the maze of insurance to get you compensated for your losses (including your auto coverage and health insurance if you have it); and 2) hold the negligent parties accountable.
In regard to navigating the insurance world, we will primarily pursue compensation from the insurance carrier of the at-fault car owner and operator. As a backup, Longmont dooring accident lawyers will also establish claims with the bicyclists own insurance carrier, usually referred to as Uninsured or Underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM). You can read more about bicycles and UM/UIM insurance here.
Many drivers do not know they have a duty to safely open their car doors when exiting their vehicles. However, the law is clear both in Colorado and in cities like Boulder and Denver that the unsafe opening of a car door is illegal. For example, “dooring” is illegal in Boulder per Section 7-2-23 of the Boulder Municipal Code which states:
No person shall open any door on a vehicle unless it is done in safety, nor shall any person leave a door open on a side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
An experienced Boulder dooring accident lawyer also understands that even if a city or town does not have a law directly addressing the safe opening of car doors, the State of Colorado does prohibit unsafe opening of car doors. Specifically, the pertinent part of Colorado Revised Statute § 42-4-1207 states:
No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic . . . .
In other words, regardless of whether you are in a dooring accident in Boulder, Longmont, Colorado Springs, or Denver, the driver will be found negligent if he or she opened their car door in an unsafe manner.What to do After a Dooring Accident
Suffering an injury after getting hit by an open car door is governed by Colorado Tort Law. Tort law in Colorado an injured cyclist must prove 1) negligence; 2) his or her injuries were caused by the accident; and 3) damages.
Because an injured cyclist must prove someone was at fault for their injury, it is critical to take immediate action after a Boulder dooring accident. First and foremost, make sure that you receive medical attention. Once you have addressed any urgent medical issues, we recommend that you call the police to investigate the accident. When a Boulder bicyclist is injured due to an open car door the officer will examine how the crash happened and, if appropriate, cite the driver for a violation related to the unsafe opening of their car door. The police report is an important tool for identifying all parties to the dooring accident, as well as the cause of the collision (i.e. were you hit by an open door or forced out into traffic because of an unsafe door opening?).
Even though you call the police it is important to document the names of any witnesses who saw the incident or heard statements from the at-fault driver. While the police will identify the at-fault party, often there are other lay witnesses who will not be included in the police report. We also strongly suggest taking photos and video of the scene with your cell phone to document the location of vehicles, any bike lanes, etc. Finally, if you have data or video from apps like Strava or CycleIQ, we encourage you to download it for safekeeping and examination once the dust has settled from the crash.
At Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, our experienced Boulder dooring accident attorneys can use a variety of methods to prove your dooring case including Colorado and local law, any investigation by a police officer, and if needed, someone to address issues like accident reconstruction, proper door-opening safety, etc.What Losses Can I Recover After a Dooring Accident?
An experienced Boulder dooring accident lawyer can help you recover the losses you sustain from your injuries. Typically, these include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as compensation for physical impairment. As to your damages and losses, as long as there is a causal link between the crash and your losses, Colorado law provides that – theoretically at least – you can recover from the at-fault driver.Boulder County’s Bicycle Dooring Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed due to a motorist carelessly opening a car door, we invite you to call our Boulder dooring accident lawyers today at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation about your case.