If you ride a motorcycle, you probably already know the risks you take when you’re out on the road in traffic and trying to avoid being hit by careless drivers.
In fact, there were nearly 5,000 motorcycle accident fatalities in 2015, which was an 8.3 percent increase from 2014. Furthermore, 88,000 motorcyclists suffered injuries in 2015, and motorcycle riders were 29 times more likely than passengers in vehicles to die in motorcycle accidents, and five times more likely to suffer injuries.
Clearly, riding a motorcycle has some life and death challenges that motorcyclists and drivers of passenger vehicles need to be aware of to help prevent more accidents.
And one of the biggest challenges facing riders is dooring motorcycle accidents, in which a driver or passenger of a vehicle opens a door into their path.
Dooring accidents are not as well-known or publicized as rear-end motorcycle collisions, but they can cause serious injuries and fatalities.
Causes of Open Door Motorcycle Accidents
There are many reasons that dooring motorcycle accidents occur and each case has its own unique circumstances, which is why liability is sometimes difficult to establish in these claims.
Some of the common causes of dooring accidents include:
- Weather – In some cases, the driver or passenger of a vehicle will claim that bright weather blinded them to the fact that there was an oncoming motorcycle when they opened the door. In addition, stormy weather can cause a lack of visibility, and night driving can also reduce visibility, causing drivers and passengers to open their doors without seeing oncoming motorcycles.
- Inattention – In some cases, the driver of a passenger of a vehicle is simply too distracted to pay attention when they open a car door, and don’t realize that a motorcycle is in the direct path of that door.
- Right Turn – You’ve probably noticed that some motorcyclists will ride close to a parked vehicle when they are attempting a right turn. If the driver of a parked vehicle opens the door as the motorcyclist is making the right turn, a dooring accident can occur.
In some rare cases, motorcyclists may hit an open door because they were trying to avoid another vehicle, or were trying to avoid an object on the road that presented a hazard.
Depending on the circumstances, a third party may be liable for forcing a motorcyclist to veer into the path of an open car door.
Injuries Caused By Motorcycle Dooring Accidents
Open car doors pose several dangers to motorcyclists and can cause severe injuries depending on the speed and impact of the collision between the motorcycle and the door.
Some common injuries caused by open door accidents include:
- Skin Burn – When a motorcyclist hits an open car door, he is often ejected from the bike and can skid across a road, causing severe skin burns, lacerations, and cuts. And the faster the motorcycle was traveling, the more likely that skin burns will be severe.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries – Even when motorcycle riders are wearing helmets, a collision with an open door can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion. The rider’s head striking the ground typically causes this type of injury.
- Spine Injuries – The impact of a motorcyclist colliding with an open door can also cause spine injuries, including fractures of the vertebrae that can cause partial or total paralysis.
- Skull Fractures – Dooring motorcycle accidents can also cause skull fractures, even if motorcyclists are wearing helmets. Blunt force trauma to the head is not unusual if a rider was traveling at a high rate of speed prior to striking the open door.
How To Avoid Motorcycle Dooring Accidents
Dooring accidents are unpredictable because they happen randomly and with very little warning, which gives motorcyclists little or no time to take evasive action.
But there are some steps that motorcycle riders can take to avoid putting themselves in situations that would lead to these types of accidents, including:
- Stay Clear of Parked Vehicles – Many motorcycle dooring accidents occur between oncoming motorcycles and parked vehicles. And because many motorcyclists like to ride close to parked vehicles prior to making right turns, or to simply escape a traffic jam, one way to avoid the potential for a dooring accident is for riders to simply steer clear of parked vehicles. By allowing space greater than the width of a car door between their motorcycles and parked cars, riders can avoid parked-car dooring accidents.
- Avoid Weaving Through Traffic – Motorcycles that weave in and out of traffic are more likely to steer close to a parked vehicle, or to a vehicle on the side of a highway whose doors may suddenly open and strike the motorcycle. As a motorcyclist, you have the responsibility of practicing safe lane changes that don’t create a hazard to vehicles on the road.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Determining liability in dooring motorcycle accidents can be a complex endeavor, because there is a number of factors involved, including presenting evidence that proves the negligence of the person who opened the door into the path of the motorcycle. That’s why it’s so important for you to hire a qualified and experienced personal injury law firm to represent you in these types of claims.
The team at Rosner Law Offices, P.C. has the resources and the expertise to pursue your claim and obtain a fair settlement for your injuries and pain and suffering. Please call us today at 856-692-6500 for a free legal consultation.