bicyclists-in-side-mirror-on-car-doorYou may ride your bicycle on the streets of Kansas City because it's a convenient way to travel, fun, good exercise, and good for the environment. You usually get to your destination safely and with a feeling of accomplishment. Unfortunately, a negligent motorist can quickly change that by opening their car door unexpectedly.

Having experienced a dooring accident firsthand, you know the serious injuries and financial burdens that can occur when a negligent motorist carelessly swings open their car door without first checking for cyclists, but you likely have questions about how this accident happened and what to do next. Our Kansas City bicycle accident lawyers are here to answer your questions and help you get the fair compensation you deserve.

How Dooring Accidents Happen

The unexpected opening of a car door can turn your ordinary bike ride into a painful emergency. Dooring accidents are often caused by a(n):

1. Lack of Awareness and Attention

One of the primary reasons dooring accidents occur is a lack of awareness and attention from motorists. As drivers go about their own activities, such as checking their phones, adjusting the radio, or simply not paying sufficient attention, they may fail to notice an approaching cyclist. As you pedal alongside parked vehicles, their lack of vigilance becomes a hazard, as a sudden door opening can take you by surprise, leading to a collision and subsequent injuries.

2. Absence of Proper Checking

Motorists often neglect to perform proper checks before opening their car doors. Failing to utilize side mirrors or glance over their shoulder to ensure the coast is clear of cyclists can have dire consequences. This oversight can cause a motorist to inadvertently swing their door open into your path, leaving you with minimal time to react and evade the collision.

3. Sudden Stop and Exiting Passenger

In scenarios where a motorist abruptly stops by the side of the road or when passengers exit a vehicle, there is an increased likelihood of dooring accidents. The sudden cessation of movement can catch cyclists off guard. At the same time, passengers exiting from the rear can inadvertently open doors into the path of an oncoming cyclist, resulting in a collision.

4. Door Zone Design Flaw

Certain road designs and infrastructure contribute to the prevalence of dooring accidents. Bike lanes placed dangerously close to parked cars, within what is known as the "door zone," heighten the risk of collisions. Inadequate road markings or signage to indicate safe cycling distances from parked vehicles can exacerbate the issue, leaving cyclists vulnerable to sudden door openings.

Not All Dooring Accidents Are the Same

The impact of a dooring accident can be affected by different factors, such as your:

  • Bicycle speed at the time of the crash
  • Angle of collision
  • Force of impact

Our experienced Kansas City bicycle accident lawyers will analyze the specific circumstances of your case, establish liability, and pursue fair compensation on your behalf.

Dooring Accident Injuries

Many bicycle dooring accident injuries can be severe. For example, you could suffer from the following:

Head and Brain Injuries

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The sudden impact of colliding with a car door can cause your head to strike the ground or the door itself. Traumatic brain injuries can have short-term and long-term effects on cognitive and motor functions, including memory loss, cognitive impairment, and permanent disability. 
  • Skull fractures. The forceful impact of colliding with a car door can lead to skull fractures, where the bone protecting the brain is cracked or broken. Skull fractures can range from mild to severe and often require prompt medical attention to prevent further complications.

Upper Body Injuries

  • Fractured bones. The force of impact can lead to fractures in your arms, shoulders, or collarbones. These fractures may require surgeries, prolonged immobilization, and rehabilitation.
  • Soft tissue injuries. Cyclists can suffer from sprains, strains, and tears in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the upper body. These injuries can cause significant pain and limit your range of motion.

Lower Body Injuries

  • Leg and pelvis fractures. In a dooring accident, a cyclist's legs are often the first point of impact. This can result in leg or pelvis fractures, requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Knee and joint injuries. The impact can cause severe stress on the cyclist's knees and other joints, leading to dislocations, ligament tears, cartilage damage, and other injuries.

Spinal Injuries

  • Herniated discs. The force of impact can lead to herniated discs in the spine, causing intense back pain, numbness, tingling, and even weakness in the limbs. These injuries may necessitate surgery and ongoing physical therapy.
  • Spinal cord injuries. In the most severe cases, dooring accidents can result in spinal cord injuries, leading to paralysis or loss of sensation in body parts below the injury site. These injuries can have a life-altering impact on your mobility and overall quality of life.

Emotional and Psychological Injuries

  • Emotional suffering. Being involved in a traumatic dooring accident can lead to psychological distress, including symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. These emotional injuries are just as essential to address as physical ones.
  • Fear of cycling. After experiencing a dooring accident, cyclists may develop a heightened fear of cycling or riding near parked cars, impacting their ability to bike ride.

What to Do After a Dooring Accident

You couldn't stop the dooring accident from happening, but you can control what happens next. After a Kansas City dooring accident, you can:

1. Prioritize Your Safety and Health

  • Check for injuries. Assess yourself for any immediate injuries and seek medical attention for yourself or anyone else injured in the accident.
  • Move to safety. If possible, move to a safe location to avoid further harm from traffic or other hazards.

2. Gather Information

  • Exchange details. Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver involved in the dooring incident. Also, gather contact information from any witnesses present.
  • Document the scene. Take photos of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicle, your bicycle, and any visible injuries. These photos can be valuable evidence later.

3. Contact the Authorities

  • Call the police. It's essential to report the accident to the police, even if the injuries seem minor. A police report can serve as an official record of the incident.

4. Seek Medical Attention

  • See a doctor. Even if your injuries appear minor, seeking medical attention promptly is crucial. Some injuries, like concussions or internal injuries, might not manifest immediately.
  • Follow medical advice. Follow your doctor's advice and attend all recommended follow-up appointments. Proper medical documentation can play a significant role in establishing the extent of your injuries.

5. Preserve Evidence

  • Keep records. Maintain a record of all medical bills, treatment receipts, and related expenses. These documents will be crucial when seeking compensation.
  • Journal your experience. Keep a journal detailing your pain, discomfort, and limitations from the accident. This can provide valuable insight into the impact of your injuries on your daily life.

6. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

Reach out to an experienced Kansas City bicycle accident lawyer who specializes in bicycle dooring accidents. They can provide legal advice and guide you through the process. Your attorney will help you navigate insurance claims, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Following these steps after a dooring accident can help ensure your safety, gather crucial evidence, and establish a solid foundation for seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. 

What You May Recover in a Kansas City Bicycle Dooring Accident Case

If you've been injured in a bicycle dooring accident in Kansas City, you may seek compensation for various damages to help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially. Here's an overview of the damages you may be able to recover in a bicycle dooring accident case:

1. Medical Expenses

  • Medical bills. You can seek reimbursement for all medical expenses related to the accident, including hospitalization, emergency room visits, surgeries, doctor's appointments, prescription medications, and rehabilitation therapies.
  • Future medical costs. You may also recover compensation for anticipated medical expenses if your injuries require ongoing treatment.

2. Lost Wages and Income

  • Lost earnings. If your injuries prevent you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for the wages, bonuses, benefits, and self-employment income you've lost due to your inability to perform your job.
  • Diminished earning capacity. If your injuries result in a long-term reduction in your ability to earn income or advance in your career, you can seek damages for your diminished earning capacity.

3. Pain and Suffering

  • Physical pain. Compensation can be awarded for the physical pain and discomfort you've endured as a result of the dooring accident.
  • Emotional distress. You may also recover damages for emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and other psychological effects stemming from the accident.

4. Property Damage

You can seek compensation to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your bicycle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.

5. Loss of Enjoyment of Life

If your injuries have significantly affected your ability to enjoy activities you once loved, you can seek damages for the loss of enjoyment of life.

Our experienced Kanas City bicycle accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your case and fight for your full and fair compensation while you concentrate on your physical recovery.

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