“Dooring” Accident: How to Successfully Claim Benefits?June 09, 2020
Warm Weather is Here
Now that warmer weather is here more of us will be enjoying the outdoors swimming, hiking, and riding bikes. And with COVID-19 still in our area, many of us will be using our bikes not only for recreation and exercise but, for commuting rather than taking public transport. With the increase in bikes on the roads comes the increase in bicycle accidents. “Dooring” is the term used to describe when a cyclist collides with a car door that is opened in their traveling path, by an occupant in a parked car.
Dooring Accident Benefits
Dooring injuries can be very serious causing permanent impairment and disability. Some injuries arising from dooring include limb fractures, torn ligaments, and head injuries. You are eligible to be compensated if you are a cyclist who has suffered injuries as a result of a dooring accident.
Because dooring accidents involve a motor vehicle, a cyclist involved in a dooring accident can make an accident benefits claim for medical benefits like physiotherapy, reimbursement for medication, psychological treatment, and where warranted income loss.
Immediately following a dooring accident the following steps ought to be followed to successfully claim benefits:
1. Make note, if you can, take down the name and contact information of the driver and any occupants in the motor vehicle involved in the accident. Ensure you also ask for proof of their motor vehicle insurance and note down the name of the insurer and insurance policy number for the vehicle.
2. Attempt to obtain the names of any witnesses to the collision.
3. Take photos of the damage to your bicycle, your injuries, and the motor vehicle that collided with you.
4. Seek medical attention by attending with a physician or at an emergency department. Follow your doctor’s advice and be compliant with all prescribed medical treatment.
5. Notify your motor vehicle insurance company as soon as possible or the insurer for the motor vehicle involved in the collision. You must complete an application for accident benefits within 30 days of the accident which will include a list of your injuries and details as to how the accident happened.
6. Contact a bicycle accident lawyer to assist you with determining if you have the grounds to file a negligence claim against the owner/operator of the motor vehicle. This will be dependent on to what extent, if any, you were at fault or partially at fault for the collision or injuries you sustained.
If your injuries as a cyclist are serious, life-altering, and permanent you could also consider bringing a negligence lawsuit against the owner of the motor vehicle for pain and suffering and economic losses. Success with negligence lawsuits will depend on the specifics with respect to how the accident happened. In some cases, a cyclist can be found to have been a contributory factor to his or her injuries, which can result in a reduction in any recovery of compensation.
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act considers a bicycle a vehicle and thus cyclists are subject to adhere to any violation of traffic laws. When considering if you should initiate a negligence claim against the motor vehicle owner/operator involving your dooring accident consider the extent of your liability, if any, in causing your accident. It is also important to consider what steps did you take as a cyclist to prevent or mitigate injury, including wearing a helmet, cycling unimpaired by alcohol or drugs, or ensuring your sight and hearing were not impaired.
With the increase in bike traffic cities all over Canada have seen the need for need laws and safety initiatives. As recently as May of this year, Toronto has announced the rollout of the largest new cycling infrastructure ever, Hopefully, more will soon follow.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is a general guideline made available for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as legal advice for the reader's specific situation nor in general. By reading our blog and website content, the reader acknowledges the above and understands there is no lawyer-client relationship created between you and Himelfarb Proszanski through this content. To get specific legal advice, we encourage you to book a free consultation with one of our lawyers to clarify the legal aspects of your situation.