Riding your bike in Austin can be a wonderful experience. With our abundant dedicated bike lanes, numerous trails and paths throughout the city, and bike-friendly population, riding a bicycle is the first transportation choice of many Austinites, whether going to work or for recreation. But not everyone appreciates cyclists, and some will go out of their way to make riding your bike in Austin more dangerous than it should be.
Have you or someone you love suffered an injury after a dooring accident in Austin? Was this accident caused by someone else’s malice or negligence? If so, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Contact the Austin bicycle accident attorneys at Loewy Law Firm today for a free consultation and let us review your case to determine your eligibility. We may be able to get you compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, or the trauma of a dooring accident. Don’t let a dooring accident knock you down for good. Call 512-280-0800 today.
What Is a Dooring Accident?
A dooring accident occurs when a motorist who is parked alongside the road opens their car door into an active bicycle lane or into a cyclist and strikes them with the door. Dooring accidents are one of the most common types of accidents for cyclists. It’s estimated that at least 20 percent of accidents between bikes and cars are dooring accidents. Dooring accidents are most common in busy urban areas where cars are parallel parked along narrow streets.
How Passengers and Drivers Can Prevent Dooring Accidents
There are many solutions to dooring accidents, some far more complex than others. Some possible technical solutions include side view mirrors for backseat passengers, warning lights or buzzers in the car to warn of an approaching cyclist, video cameras showing a rearward view once the vehicle is placed in park, and laser lights attached to the front of bicycles, which project an image on the pavement several feet ahead to warn of an approaching cyclist. There are even sophisticated detection systems that use radar or lidar to detect oncoming cyclists and lock the car door as they approach.
The most popular solution to preventing dooring accidents is known as the “Dutch reach.” Simply put, drivers and passengers opening their car door into traffic on the left of the car use their right hand instead of their left hand to open the car door. Reaching over the body to open the door naturally causes you to turn your head behind you and get a good look for oncoming cyclists. The Dutch reach is simple, effective, low-tech, and easy to adopt. It’s promoted as the easiest way to prevent dooring accidents.
Injuries Caused By Dooring Accidents
Injuries between cars and cyclists are almost always severe, even if the vehicle is stationary. There are two main reasons for this.
First, cars are heavy and large. The average passenger car weighs around 4,000 pounds. A stationary vehicle is the same as a boulder compared to a cyclist weighing 170 pounds plus a 40-pound bike.
Second, cyclists have little or no safety protection. The lack of helmet laws in Austin increases the danger even more. Even a low-speed impact with a car can eject a cyclist from their bike and send them hurtling toward the ground or other stationary objects.
Cyclists have two impacts to worry about, not one: the impact with the car door and the impact with the ground. The secondary impact with the pavement can sometimes cause more severe injury than the impact with the door.
Some injuries from dooring accidents include the following:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Road rash
- Soft tissue injuries
- Hip and knee injuries
- Internal injuries
- Organ damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
Compensation for a Dooring Accident
We can help you obtain compensation by filing a personal injury claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. A settlement is a cash amount paid to compensate you for your losses if you drop any legal claim against the responsible party. If we cannot negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, we can assist you in filing a lawsuit against the responsible party directly in Texas Civil Court.
We can’t estimate the amount of compensation you may receive without a full review of your accident and the circumstances leading up to it. Each accident and injury is unique.
The key is knowing how much compensation to demand and how to categorize it. Some losses, or damages, are based on the actual financial losses suffered after the accident, and some are based on the trauma and mental toll the accident takes on the victim.
Losses relating to the financial costs of treating or recovering from your injury are called economic damages. Some examples include:
- Lost wages, now or in the future
- Medical expenses
- Lost opportunity
- Property damage
Losses relating to the experience of the accident and the toll it takes on your well-being are called noneconomic damages. These damages vary widely and are subjective. They are unique to each accident. There are several types, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Reputational damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
If we’re able to prove that your injury was malicious and not accidental, you may also be able to obtain exemplary damages. These damages are a penalty to punish the malicious actor for their behavior, not to compensate you for any losses. Exemplary damages can only be awarded by a jury in cases of gross negligence, fraud, or malice and carry a higher burden of proof than economic or non-economic damages.
How Loewy Law Firm Can Help
We’ve been helping injury victims in Austin since 2005, and we can use the skills and experience we’ve gained to help you and your family get the fair and just compensation you deserve. We know how to make Texas injury law work for our clients.
In the past sixteen years, we’ve obtained millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and awards, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Hear directly from some of our past clients here, and learn about how we give back to the community that has helped us grow.
Call Loewy Law Firm Today
Don’t let a dooring accident affect your financial future. Call 512-280-0800 today for a free consultation, and let us review your case and discuss your options free of charge. Don’t delay any longer. Call Loewy Law Firm today.