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hit by car door (a bit long)(38 posts)

hit by car door (a bit long)ck
Jul 12, 2001 7:45 AM
Hey, all. Last night while returning from a ride, I had my first car/bike incident. I was riding along with traffic when a guy in a parked car opened his door right in front of me. I had absolutely no time to swerve or touch my brakes and went right into the opened door. Aside from a nasty little abrasion on my shoulder and a big bruise on my right arm, I'm fine. My bike isn't. Both wheels (somehow..) were so taco-ed they wouldn't move, even with the brakes opened up. The front was touching the fork (carbon), which also doesn't look too good. I know I'm not the first to have this happen, and I was curious as to what anybody else may have done in the wake of the accident as far as paying for the damage goes. The driver of the car was in no way being a jerk about the whole thing. He gave me his name and numbers and offered to help (don't know exactly what he meant by that....). Should his insurance cover the repairs/replacement parts? I don't want to get screwed and have to pay for this myself. Does he in turn have a gripe about me running into his door? I don't know how this works.....

your faultNOPE
Jul 12, 2001 7:51 AM
Never ride close to parked cars for that very reason. If you must, at least be alert, looking into cars and rearview mirrors for anyone that might open a door. Your insurance might pay, but I doubt it. Even so, you have the deductible to cover and potentially higher premiums to think about.
Garbage!!!Cima Coppi
Jul 12, 2001 8:11 AM
Drivers getting in and out of parked cars in traffic must yield to all traffic. They must be aware of what is coming from behind them before ever opening a door. This was clearly the fault of the driver, and his insurance company should be responsible for all damages. As a cyclist, its hard enough to pay attention to moving vehicles when riding in traffic, and it is sometimes difficult to see if parked cars are occupied. This way by no means the fault of the cyclist!!
EXCUSE ME...MrCelloBoy
Jul 12, 2001 8:47 AM
It's not the cyclists fault when a door is opened into them. Even when you're alert and watching it can happen.
Jul 12, 2001 9:28 AM
Sure, people are supposed to look before opening doors. That's even part of the vehicle code in many states. As you found out the hard way, a lot don't. The reality is that it is your responsibility to be aware of situations where that can occur, and be extra vigilant. The vehicle code in most states (and right of way rules on the water) also requires you to avoid an accident if possible.

Look at it this way. It's illegal to run a red light, right? (Let's stick to cars here!) If you are driving one day, and see a guy obviously going to blow through the red when you get the green, are you going to pull out into the intersection? I hope not. Even though you have the green and the theoretical right of way, and even though he is doing something illegal, if you still pull out and get hit, guess who's fault that is?
In My State Car is at Fault - code attached.JohnnyA
Jul 12, 2001 9:30 AM
49-607. OPENING AND CLOSING VEHICLE DOORS. No person shall open the door
of a motor vehicle on a 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, 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.
re: hit by car door (a bit long)Grinder
Jul 12, 2001 8:08 AM
his insurance should cover it I would think. However, as the person above me stated - it's almost your fault. Always always if you HAVE to ride close to a parked car watch for the body language of the people inside.

Be glad you were not injured badly.
Why is it his fault? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Live Steam
Jul 12, 2001 8:14 AM
Who's fault would it be if the same guy opened his door and a passing car took it off? Shouldn't the guy exiting the car look before exiting the car on the traffic side? I am not sure about this, but there may be a law concerning just that - exiting a vehicle from the non-traffic side may be the law, though never enforced. Does anyone know?
technically it's not, but that's likeGrinder
Jul 12, 2001 8:18 AM
crossing a road in a crosswalk without looking for the truck.

When on a bike it's YOUR responsibility to stay alive and not somebodys else's. Drivers are stupid to bikes and we all know it, so, you have to take matters into your own hands.

I DID say the dirvers insurance should pay for it so TECHNICALLY, it's his fault.
I agree that we must be our own keepers >>>>>>>>>>>>Live Steam
Jul 12, 2001 8:22 AM
in order to stay out of harms way - look twice before crossing and all that stuff, but that wasn't his question. :-)
Why is it his fault? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>mackgoo
Jul 12, 2001 8:36 AM
First, I want to say yes it is the cars fault. Now in defence of the ones that say it was the cyclist fault I could understand this in that we as cyclists MUST be defensive drivers and that maybe there was a relaxing on that. So just on survival may be he was lax, but that is a foolish argument, the car was definately at fault and we shopuldn't have to view every car as opening it's door in front of us, or turning in front of us at intersections or pulling out in front of us, but if we want to stay alive we must.
It was the car driver's faultD_Alex
Jul 12, 2001 8:14 AM
It was his responsibility, as the operator of the vehicle, to be sure that he was not going to strike anybody with his door. If he takes you to court, he's gonna lose.
I'd sue the driver for pain and suffering, if I were you. If the insurance company gives you any $h!t, threaten to sue them, too!
They'll pay you, believe me.
That's what I thought!!!!!!!!!!!!!nmLive Steam
Jul 12, 2001 8:19 AM
dream on if you think anyone's insurance will pay.nm
Jul 12, 2001 8:26 AM
Please explain ? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>nmLive Steam
Jul 12, 2001 8:31 AM
Actually this happened to one of our club members >>>>>>>>>>>>>Live Steam
Jul 12, 2001 8:35 AM
a few years ago - I think 3 years ago. He just settled the case. I am not sure how much he got - he had a broken orbital bone and RR and his bike was toasted. He just bought a Trek OCLV with DA with the settlement money. I think he had quite a bit left over too!
Go Global with it!Mabero
Jul 12, 2001 8:31 AM
I would definately contact his insurance company but I would first document it with the is his fault without a doubt but just as everyone else has mentioned we need to keep our eyes open cause people in cars only look for other people in cars.
hit BY door, or you ran into open door???nm
Jul 12, 2001 8:39 AM
Could be a good arguement but >>>>>>>>>>>>>>Live Steam
Jul 12, 2001 8:45 AM
why would the driver leave his door open causing an obstruction of a lane of traffic? If you leave your bike laying around for some unsuspecting person to trip on it, who is responsible then? Well you know what I mean. :-)
not a problem . . . .Grinder
Jul 12, 2001 8:48 AM
He said the driver was a nice guy. Sounds like he just had a brain cramp and felt he was at fault.
come on...qqq
Jul 12, 2001 9:07 AM
that's like saying somebody left a log in the middle of the trail, and I hit it and fell... who's to blame? There is some inherent danger to cycling- any ride waiver or owner's manual says so. People need to take personal responsibility, rather than assume somebody else is always at fault and liable.
A felled log is an act of nature >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Live Steam
Jul 12, 2001 9:14 AM
opening a car door into a lane of traffic is an act that bears consequences. Nothing may happen. A truck may tear it off. Or, a cyclist or pedestrian may be entangled in it. I am all for one being responsible for their actions, and in this case it is the owner of that door. He may be a nice guy and want to make good on it, but he should. He was the operator of that door.
A felled TREE is an act of nature...vincitore
Jul 12, 2001 9:36 AM
bad logic... again!
A response lacking discernable intelligence >>>>>>>>>>>>Live Steam
Jul 12, 2001 10:05 AM
A log as well as a tree can be be felled. Your example lack relevance. You said "somebody". We know who opened the door. If a known "somebody" tosses a log in the path of a cyclists, they would be responsible too. A log laying on the ground for an indeterminate amount of time is scenery! :-)
A response lacking discernable intelligence >>>>>>>>>>>>wow
Jul 12, 2001 10:57 AM
your 8th reply in this thread... come on, go for 10!
What if no one heard it fall?mr_spin
Jul 12, 2001 12:33 PM
Would it make a noise?
are you brain-dead???D_Alex
Jul 12, 2001 11:07 AM
The difference is that a log falling has no thought behind it, and a log laying in the trail is a pre-existing hazard. When some idiot opens a door (which had previously been closed) right into the path of an oncoming bike, only 1 of 2 scenarios can be valid:
1) the driver was negligent, in that he didn't take reasonable care to LOOK IN THE MIRROR first, or
2) the driver DELIBERATELY AND MALICIOUSLY opened the door, for the express purpose of assaulting the cyclist.
Doors just don't open by "Force Majeur", and neither did this one. A concious human being didn't care about the consequences of his actions. This is what civil and criminal law exists to enforce.
Don't be a victim, and get your head out of the sand! Maybe YOU wouldn't seek financial and legal redress, by I damn sure would, and actually have in the past. The last jerk that sideswiped me is now sitting in jail. You have to fight for your rights.
Call the copsmoneyman
Jul 12, 2001 10:40 AM
and report it right away. This was just discussed ad nauseum at MTBR/Passion, and there were horror stories about drivers who, at the time of the collision, said they'd help out, but at crunch time reneged. One actually reported it to the police and the cyclist got into trouble.

Better do it right away.

Jul 12, 2001 11:54 AM
If bikes must obey traffic laws wouldn't they be afforded the same rules in an accident. If a the guy opened the door into traffic and a truck came by and took it off, the "door opener" would be responsible and have to pay for damages. No one would be saying, "Oh, that driver should have been watching for the door." Obviously people don't see bikes and if you choose to live you do need to be observant. But if a rider is following the same traffic laws as a driver he should be affored the same laws as a biker. Opinion: Report to the police and try to file with the other guys insurance company. I'm gonna stay out of this "log in the middle of the woods"
get a lawyerDog
Jul 12, 2001 12:26 PM
This is an easy one. Get a lawyer; this case will settle fairly quickly if you demand a reasonable amount. Ordinarily, you might wait a bit before making a demand to see how your injuries resolve, but that doesn't appear to be an issue. You should get something for the bike and your injuries. Expect fair market value, not replacement cost. Maybe get a bike shop to give you an appraisal of the before and after (the crash) value of the bike (after might very well be $0). A lawyer will likely either speed the claim along, and get some attention faster than you will on your own.

Doug, I usually admire your advice but...Car Magnet
Jul 12, 2001 2:49 PM
The first thing the guy has to do is report the accident to His/Her insurance company. Bicycle accidents are treated the same as a car accident. You must first contact your insurance company then contact the other parties. Do not call the police (after you have both left the scene it is irrelevant, they won't do jack)!! Do not hire an attorney unless you were injured as a result of the accident or cannot resolve anything with either insurance company for property damage (why pay $100+ per hour to an attorney if you weren't hurt? Attorney costs can be more than the bike was worth or be more than your settlement. Better off representing yourself in small claims court). As some of you know, I am very familiar with this situation as I was hit by a car back in November. The accident left me with a broken spine, several herniated disks and one crushed bike. The law in most states require either a court date or settlement within 3 years. Meanwhile the insurance companies calculate what the probable settlement or judgement will be and open an escrow account with that money and by law can collect interest on that money including interest earned while waiting for an appeal (My dad's been in the insurance biz for 3-4 decades). I would highly recommend contacting the insurance companies first then if you don't get anywhere get an attorney. Good Luck.
Doug, I usually admire your advice but...Andrew
Jul 12, 2001 3:11 PM
I have to agree that a lawyer is not really needed at this point. Contact your insurance company and the insurance company of the driver. If the drivers insurance company tries to get out of it then mention that you are going to talk to your lawyer(even if you don't have one). Insurance companies hate dealing with lawyers and will often settle with you just so they don't have to take it to court. After all it may cost them a lot more money to go to court than it would to settle a smaller claim. I have used this tactic a couple of times and it has always worked. If you are still unable to get a reasonable settlement then a lawyer may be needed. Just make sure you ask for enough money from the insurance company to cover the costs of your laywer and still break even on the bicycle and any reasonable pain and suffering. Just don't try to screw the insurance company over. Those things have a tendency to come back and bite you in the a55. Try to get a fair settlement, but not too much more.

All I can say is...Dog
Jul 13, 2001 5:47 AM
...I don't get ignored. I know, having represented quite a few, that insurers will keep their money as long as they can. That's how they make money. Many times I've written a letter for a client for free, with the understanding I would not charge unless we have to file suit. Bet I've done it 50 times. Guess what? Even if people have been ignored, I get an immediate response. I'm not just drumming up business for the lawyers here. I'd do the same even if it were my claim. Up to you.

I agreeColnagoFE
Jul 13, 2001 6:24 AM
if the accident wasn't your fault why waste your time arguing with ins companies that aren't acting in your interest? i bet you'd be surprised at what you are entitled to in an accident. not to screw anyone, but not to get screwed.
leaving the sceneColnagoFE
Jul 13, 2001 6:22 AM
i got lucky with my accident. i was in a bit of a daze and didn't think i was hurt right away and told the driver to leave after getting his info. about 10 minutes later i realized i had broken something. called the cops and they went to where the guy worked--he admitted it and they wrote him a ticket. i should have stayed on the scene, but luckily it all worked out in the end. you may not be as lucky.
The Law in IlliniosKristin
Jul 13, 2001 8:45 AM
I'm glad you're all right. I've driven next to parked cars before myself. It takes concentration just to not white-knuckle. Some assumed you were relaxed. Relax? Be absent minded? Unimaginable. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. That said, its a bummer you didn't call the police right then and there. If this happened in IL, you actually broke the law by not doing so. All accidents resulting in over $500 property damage MUST be filed with the police, and you're not supposed to leave the scene till its done. I doubt you'd go to jail for this offense, but you should file it ASAP. And you must call the township where it happened. I worked in Prop. & Casualty Insurance for a few years and, based on IL law, it is the drivers responsiblity. His isurance should pay 100%. Don't even call your insurance company--they don't need to know. Recomendations: First: When you speak to a claims adjuster. Tell them you'd like to have medical checkup to be sure everything is okay. If medical problems arise after the dust has settled, you may have a hard time establishing a link to the accident. Doctors should know what to look for better than you do. Second: Insurance companies love to "settle" or negotiate prices with repair shops and hospitals. They basically "tell" the service provider what they're willing to pay and that's that. Sometimes the provider will want "all" their money and they will bill you for the balance. In most places this is illegal. Don't pay for anything regarding this accident. If pressed, go back to the insurance company and tell them what's happening. My insurance provided me with legal support after being balence billed by a hospital.
re: hit by car door (a bit long)Jerry Gardner
Jul 13, 2001 11:14 AM
I don't know where you live, but according to California law, you would be held partially responsible for this incident.

It's your duty as operator of a vehicle to avoid situations that may put you at risk. You should have been riding further to the left of the parked cars in case one of them opened their door, which they did. You should do this even if you have to take the whole traffic lane to avoid parked cars.
Then that would be almost everywhere I ride near >>>>>>>>>>>Live Steam
Jul 16, 2001 4:54 AM
home. Then I would be in line for a summons for holding up traffic or for going too slow. I don't buy that. What about cars that are traveling along a two lane road with parked cars? Are they expected to drive down the center of the road for fear that someone parked along side will open their door into traffic? I'd say that you could be expected to ride a reasonable distance from cars parked at the side of the road, but it is not always possible or safe to do so. If you are going to exit your car, pull out of a driveway, make a turn or perform any maneuver with a vehicle, you must make sure you are clear to do so. Period!