Someone may open a door on a motor vehicle and a bike rider may crash into it. If so, the bike rider may be entitled to compensation.
This article focuses on a Florida bike rider’s personal injury claim arising from hitting an open door on a motor vehicle.
For purposes of this article, “motor vehicle” means cars, trucks, taxis, Ubers, limousines and other vehicles.
When isn’t someone allowed to open a motor vehicle door?
In Florida, you aren’t allowed to open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic. Florida Statute 316.2005.
Bicyclists are considered “other traffic.”
Is a person at fault for opening a motor vehicle door that a bike rider crashes into?
In most cases, yes. This is because the person shouldn’t open the car door until it is reasonably safe to do so.
It probably isn’t reasonably safe to open a car door if a bicyclist is nearby. The person isn’t allowed to open a car door if it interferes with the movement of bicyclists.
Is a person allowed to leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available for moving traffic?
Yes, but only for a period of time no longer than necessary to load or unload passengers. For example, if the person who left the door open on the side of vehicle available to moving traffic is hanging out and talking with others, he is at fault.
If the driver of the motor vehicle gets a ticket for causing a bicyclist’s crash, does this help the bike rider’s injury case?
Not necessarily. In a personal injury claim against the person who left the car door open, the ticket is inadmissible into evidence.
This means that the jury will never get to hear about a ticket, or who the ticket was issued to.
Does a bike rider have to be on the lookout for people opening car doors?
Yes. In Florida, a bicyclist has all the duties that drivers of other vehicles have. Florida Statute 316.2065.
This means that a bicyclist can be at fault if he should be expecting someone to open a car door, and hits it.
If a bike rider hits a car door and is hurt, how does his own fault affect the case?
The bike rider’s personal injury claim will be reduced by his percentage of fault in the accident.
For example, if the bicyclist is 50% at fault for crashing into the car door, he is entitled to 50% of his damages.
Can a bicyclist recover damages if he is more than 50% at fault for riding into a car door?
In Florida, yes. This Florida law is more favorable compared to that of many other states.
For example, if the bike rider is 60% at fault for hitting the car door, the person who opened the door owes him 40% of his damages.
Who determines if the bike rider is at fault for hitting the car door?
Ultimately a jury. However, most bike accident cases settle before trial. Many cases settle before a lawsuit.
What is the best case scenario for a bicyclist if he crashes into a car door?
The best case for a bike rider is if:
- The bike rider was forced to ride close to the car.
- There was heavy traffic at the time of the crash.
- The person was opening the car door immediately before the accident.
- The car or truck’s rear lights were not on when the crash happened.
Which cases are tougher for a bicyclist if he crashes into a car door?
The following facts make a bike rider’s personal injury case tougher:
- There was little or no traffic at the time of the crash.
- The car door was open for a long time before the crash.
What is a bike rider entitled to if he crashes into an open car door?
If someone opens a car door and it causes a bike rider’s injury, the rider may be able to get money for damages including:
- Past Lost Income
- Future lost income reduced to present value
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Cost to fix or replace the bike
- Replacement value of the lost personal property (e.g. damage to broken glasses, watch, etc.)
- Funeral expenses
- Reimbursement for mileage to and from medical appointments
- Past Pain and suffering
- Future Pain and Suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.
- Punitive Damages (in rare cases)
This article focused on just one type of bike accident in Florida. Learn more about Florida bike accident laws, claims and compensation.
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