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I got 'doored' on my bike. Whose fault is it?

If you ride a bike on the city streets in Southern California, odds are good that you have your own story about a direct hit or near-miss by being "doored."

This unique problem knocks bicyclists for a loop when drivers open their car doors without looking, right into the cyclists' path. In such cases, which party would bear responsibility for the damage?

Under most circumstances, the one who opens the door has the responsibility to make sure doing so is safe. If a cyclist gets doored while riding legally, the driver or passenger who opened the door can be held liable for any personal injuries or damages to the bike itself.

Approximately 10 percent of all car-bike accidents were attributed to drivers opening doors into cyclists' paths. Not only do more than 80 percent of doored bikers get injured by the door itself, they are at a grave risk of being tossed into oncoming traffic lanes by the force of the impact.

If you get doored while out riding your bike, seek medical attention and make sure that you get a police report. The full extent of the damage might not be apparent at first, but it is common to experience long-term medical consequences from the injuries. You might find out that you can no longer perform some of your job duties after getting doored on your bike.

By documenting all of your medical expenses and other associated costs (including bike repairs or replacement), your personal injury attorney can include those amounts along with lost wages, pain, suffering and other damages in your claim against the at-fault party.

Source: Findlaw, "When Cyclists Get 'Doored' by a Car, Who's Liable?," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed June 17, 2016

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