Dooring Accidents in Windsor, Ontario: Who is at Fault and What Should Bicyclists Do Next?

bike lane on busy city streetDooring accidents are some of the most dangerous accidents for bicycle riders. Crashing into an open car door could result in catastrophic injuries, as you could easily get thrown up over the door and onto the pavement.

You need to know what to do after this type of collision. Our experienced Windsor bicycle accident lawyers discuss these crashes below and explain what steps victims should take to protect their health and their potential claim for compensation.

Greg Monforton and Partners has been helping vehicle accident victims obtain compensation for medical costs and other damages for decades. This includes a recovery of $2.25 million for a bicyclist who lost a leg in a crash.

No upfront fees or legal costs. Call today: (866) 320-4770.

What is a Bicycle Dooring Accident?

Dooring, or getting doored, is what happens when a bicyclist hits an open car door on a parked vehicle. Often, there is no way for the bicyclist to avoid colliding with the door because it was opened so suddenly. The vehicle occupant who opened the door was not watching for bicyclists and may have been distracted.

Dangers of Dooring Accidents

Bicycle riders are at high risk for serious or catastrophic injuries in a dooring crash. The collision with the door can result in serious injuries, but riders could also get thrown over the door and fall hard onto the pavement. If other vehicles are approaching at the same time, there is a risk of the rider also getting hit by the car.

Some of the injuries that could occur in a dooring crash include:

  • Bruised or broken ribs
  • Fractures to arms or legs
  • Brain injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Back injuries
  • And more

What Should Injured Cyclists do After a Dooring Accident?

Drivers should pay more attention before opening their doors, but bicyclists should also do their best to stay out of the door zone, which is the area right next to parked cars. Staying three to five feet away from the door zone could help lower your risk of a dooring accident.

However, despite your best efforts, you could end up in the path of an open door. If this happens, you need to know what to do next.

1. Move Out of Harm’s Way

If possible, get yourself and your bicycle out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, this might not be possible, as the crash could knock you out, or hurt you so bad that it is difficult to move out of the road.

If you are unable to move, the driver who opened the door should help you. Under Ontario law, drivers are required to remain at the accident scene to provide reasonable assistance to victims.

2. Call 9-1-1 to Alert First Responders

You probably suffered serious injuries in the crash, which means the first thing you need to do is get medical treatment. If you wait too long to get treatment, your injuries could get much worse and possibly become life-threatening.

Sometimes accident victims mistakenly think they are not badly hurt because they are conscious, and they can stand up and walk around. However, you could have broken bones and if they are not reset and stabilized soon, they might never heal properly. That is why going home from the crash scene to go to the hospital later is a bad idea.

The only person who should determine the seriousness of your injuries is a licensed medical professional.

If you cannot call 9-1-1, the driver should call. Drivers have a legal responsibility to remain at the scene of an accident that resulted in injuries or death.

3. Exchange Information

While first responders are on their way to the scene, exchange information with the other driver, including:

  • Insurance information (driver’s insurance company and policy number)
  • Contact information
  • Driver’s licence number
  • Licence plate number of the car

If there are any witnesses, make sure to ask them for their contact information. Your lawyer may be able to contact them later to ask them about what they saw.

It may be easier to take pictures of documents and record a video of the driver and witnesses telling you their names and how to get in touch with them.

Why You May Have Trouble Getting an Accident Report

One of the challenges of seeking compensation for a dooring crash is getting a motor vehicle accident report from the police.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, a crash involves a motor vehicle in motion. Since the car whose door you hit was not in motion, the incident technically does not qualify as a motor vehicle crash. The police might not complete a report on the accident. This can make it more challenging to prove to the insurance company that the crash happened.

Despite the official definition of a motor vehicle crash, insurance companies classify dooring accidents as motor vehicle collisions that may be covered by an insurance policy.

Who is at Fault for a Dooring Crash?

Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, a driver is presumed to be at fault for a crash with a bicyclist, unless the driver can prove he or she is not at fault. This means drivers are often the ones found at fault for crashes with bicycle riders.

However, if the driver asserts that he or she is not at fault, you may need to counter his or her assertions when you file a claim for compensation. That is why you need an experienced lawyer to manage your claim. He or she will know how to counter arguments about fault for your dooring accident.

For example, your lawyer might point out courts in Ontario have consistently held that drivers must watch for others who are sharing the road, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Drivers need to be particularly careful in places where pedestrians and cyclists are known to be, like school zones or residential areas.

Can I Seek Compensation for My Injuries?

You may be able to seek compensation from the no-fault portion of your car insurance policy. Your no-fault coverage includes compensation for medical costs, income replacement, the cost of hiring a caregiver and rehabilitation. Our experienced lawyers can discuss these benefits with you in greater detail.

You may also be able to seek compensation from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan for medical costs, such as the cost of the ambulance ride, prescription medication and other costs.

Your lawyer may also be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.

There may be a few ways to obtain compensation for your injuries and damages. That is why you should meet with an experienced lawyer to help you determine your options. Our firm is committed to recovering full compensation for bicyclists injured in dooring accidents and other types of accidents.

Contact Greg Monforton and Partners to Discuss Your Bicycle Crash

Contacting an experienced lawyer can be an important step following a bicycle crash caused by a driver’s negligence.

Recovering full compensation can be quite difficult if you are on your own. At Greg Monforton and Partners, we have been securing compensation from insurance companies for more than 30 years. We have the resources and legal knowledge to guide you through the entire legal process. There are also no upfront fees.

Call us to schedule your free legal consultation: (866) 320-4770.