You worry about the environmental impact of cars, so you started riding your bike to and from work every day. It's only five miles, and you like the fact that you could cancel your gym membership. That 10-mile ride is enough of a workout, so you're saving a lot of money every month.
Unfortunately, there are some serious risks. One day, while you're riding home, a car parks on the side of the road up ahead of you. There are bars and restaurants to your right, just across the sidewalk, and many workers like to head in for a drink or dinner when the work day is over.
There's traffic next to you, so you're just a foot or so away from the line of parked cars when the driver suddenly opens his door. You can't stop. You can't swerve. The driver is still looking down at his phone, with one leg out the door, when you crash right into it.
Who Is at Fault?
The accident puts you in the hospital. You have high medical bills from the ambulance ride and emergency treatment. You couldn't work for a week, so that's a week's wages lost. That already ruins your budget, and you don't know how you'll pay for a new bike and pay off your medical expenses.
As a result, you start wondering if you were at fault or if that driver is liable. Though the car was legally parked, is it still his fault for "dooring" you?
Typically, it is. Reports show that around 10 percent of bike crashes happen when a driver or passenger opens a door into the street, and that individual is usually held liable. If it had been a passenger, that specific person -- not the driver of the car -- would generally be responsible.
After all, you followed the rules of the road and stayed to the right. The driver did not take proper care and check behind him to see if the lane was clear before opening his door. Drivers must be careful, even when the car is in park.
For help with all of the costs you're facing, seek legal guidance to learn if you have a right to financial compensation.
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