Cyclists are Suffering Head Injuries in Intentional “Dooring” Attacks
It is no secret that cyclists and motorists do not always see eye to eye. These two groups are forced to share the road despite the fact that they use completely different vehicles. Cyclists are obviously much slower, but they are also capable of weaving between tighter gaps and accessing areas cars cannot. On the other hand, cars offer better protection and higher speeds, and cyclists are often a source of frustration for drivers who need to pass and reach their destinations. A fair bit of animosity is to be expected, and some might even say that it is inevitable. But when cyclists are targeted with intentional attacks by car drivers in California, a line has clearly been crossed.
Over the past few days, a number of disturbing videos have surfaced that seem to depict assaults on cyclists. These “dooring” attacks involve drivers intentionally opening their doors as they pass by, striking cyclists. These attacks often knock cyclists from their bicycles, causing serious head injuries and even permanent injuries. This is not just a case of road rage – this is criminal assault on innocent people. But what can you do if you have been victimized by one of these intentional acts? Can you press charges? Can you sue and receive compensation for your damages? Let’s find out.
Dooring – A Worrying New Phenomenon in Los Angeles
A few years ago, many people in California probably had no idea what the word “dooring” meant. Today, it is becoming one of the most common phrases in the auto accident world. “Dooring” has been documented in places like Emeryville, Oakland, and Berkeley – with over a dozen attacks filmed so far. One victim was struck in Oakland from behind by a rapidly moving vehicle, causing her to fly off her bike and hit the pavement. She suffered a serious head injury that required eight stitches across her forehead – even though she was wearing a helmet.
This victim states that she heard the attackers laughing as they drove away. After posting her story online, this victim was inundated by comments of other cyclists stating that they were also targeted by a very similar vehicle. It seems that this individual and their co-conspirators probably stole the vehicle before driving around and intentionally striking people heading for a nearby bike meetup. In total, it seems as though about 14 cyclists were targeted – with about eight people sustaining injuries. Two individuals were hospitalized with serious injuries, such as head injuries.
Like many of the worst aspects of society today, this disturbing pattern has its roots in a horrific viral social media trend. These attackers are presumably filming themselves attacking cyclists and posting the footage to social media. It is worth noting that a car qualifies as a dangerous weapon under California law, which means that these attackers could face attempted murder charges if caught. These are not just crashes – these are assaults. Many cyclists genuinely believe that the drivers involved in these incidents were trying to kill them. One cyclist stated:
“They pulled ahead after the roundabout. As they passed they opened their door smacking me in the shoulder and just drove off. They opened the door knowing I was there. They deliberately tried to kill me.”
What Can You Do After Being Doored?
Your options for compensation may be somewhat limited after being doored. This is especially true if you cannot locate the attacker. In the aforementioned story, the attacker drove away before the cyclist could catch the license plate. And even if they did manage to glimpse the license plate number, there is a strong chance the vehicle was stolen. Because California is a no-fault state, you generally need to hold someone else liable before filing an injury lawsuit and recovering compensation. That being said, it may be possible to receive compensation from your own insurance policy.
Nevertheless, this does not mean you should give up hope. The police may track down the attacker, and you may be able to sue directly. The defendants may also be required to pay you restitution as part of their criminal sentencing.
Suing for Accidental Dooring Accidents
Although intentional dooring attacks are certainly disturbing, you may also suffer a head injury due to an accidental dooring accident. The obvious example is someone opening their door before getting out of a parked vehicle. If individuals open their doors without checking, they can easily cause severe injuries to cyclists. Cyclists can be ejected from their bicycles in these situations, flying forward before impacting the pavement – usually headfirst. In these situations, you would certainly have the potential to sue the responsible driver – even if their vehicle was parked and stationary at the time of the accident.
When motorists suddenly open their doors in this manner, they give cyclists no time to react. Even if they do have time to react, they might not have enough space to dodge the door due to fast-moving traffic on their left. In this situation, they have no option but to continue straight, impact the open door, and suffer the consequences. In the same way that drivers are required to shoulder check and view their mirrors before making a turn, drivers need to check for cyclists before opening their doors.
Where Can I Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have been searching for a qualified bike accident personal injury attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. Over the years, we have helped numerous auto accident victims – including those who have suffered serious head injuries. You have every right to sue and pursue justice when you have been intentionally attacked on the road while riding your bicycle. While the legal process can seem daunting when you are simultaneously struggling with medical bills and a long road toward recovery, you owe it to yourself to receive compensation for your damages. The good news is that once you connect with a qualified personal injury attorney, you are already halfway there. Book your consultation, and we can take on the legal process while you focus on healing. Reach out today.