Open Door Accidents
Motorcyclists face numerous hazards on the road. Roads may not have smooth surfaces, other drivers may not see them, and weather conditions may not be conducive to steering. However, open door accidents are often overlooked as a source of injuries or even death to a motorcyclist. Many motorcyclists stay to the side of the road, and they may not see someone opening a car door. The motorcyclist may be trapped and unable to avoid the door. Serious injuries such as spinal cord damage, brain trauma, facial disfigurement, or broken bones may result. The Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys at Sharifi Firm are ready to help victims seek compensation for these injuries or others after an open door accident.Bringing a Personal Injury Claim Based on an Open Door Accident
Open door accidents may happen because a motorcyclist directly hits a car door or because a motorcyclist tries to avoid a car door and swerves into traffic, getting hit by a larger vehicle. Unlike a driver of a car, a motorcyclist is unprotected by an airbag, seatbelt, or metal structure, and they may suffer catastrophic injuries as a result of someone's momentary inattention while opening a car door.
Fault for an open door accident depends on the situation. Under California Vehicle Code section 22517, nobody is supposed to open a car or truck door on the side next to moving traffic, except when it is reasonably safe to open the door, and the person may do so without interfering with traffic. Additionally, nobody is supposed to leave the door open for longer than what is necessary to load or unload a passenger. Accordingly, in many cases in California, a motorist will be found at fault. In some cases, negligence per se or negligence as a matter of law may be applied to ascribe fault to a particular driver or passenger.
Often, the insurer for the driver of the car whose door was opened will turn around and try to point a finger at the motorcyclist. As a motorcyclist, you should be wary of a driver's insurance adjustor who tries to talk to you immediately after an accident. They may be friendly, but their purpose is probably to try to obtain an admission of fault or other evidence to pin the blame for an open door accident on you. For example, they may be hoping that you will agree that you could have been more careful while you were riding down the road or that you had room to avoid the car door.
California follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that the jury will assign a degree of fault to each party alleged to be at fault, and the amount of a plaintiff's compensation will be lowered by an amount equal to their fault. Under California Vehicle Code section 27803, motorcycle drivers as well as their passengers must wear a helmet while riding, and it is illegal for a helmeted passenger to ride with someone who does not wear a helmet. A motorcyclist or a passenger who is injured while not wearing a helmet risks being found comparatively negligent by a jury evaluating liability for the accident.Discuss Your Motorcycle Accident Case with a Los Angeles Attorney
At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation if you were injured or a loved one was killed in an open door accident. We understand motorcycle culture and how to portray motorcyclists to jurors who may be less familiar with them. Contact us online or call (866) 422-7222 for a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. Our firm also represents victims in Riverside, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino, as well as other Southern California cities.