The question as to who is liable for a car accident is often complicated and always fact specific. The same is true for car door accidents. The answer of who is liable for the car door accident lies in determining who was most responsible for the driver or, in some situations, the cyclist hitting the opened driver’s door.
It is usually assumed that the person who hit a car door is responsible for causing the accident. This is so because it seems that he or she must not have been paying attention to surroundings if they did not see the opened car door in time to avoid the collision. However, sometimes drivers open car doors so quickly that next to no time is given an oncoming driver enough time to avoid it. Drivers or passengers of a parked car have a responsibility to check the surroundings before opening a vehicle door. They need to make sure the coast is clear before opening a door to exit the vehicle. Therefore, if you exited your car without checking your surroundings and exercising due care, you could be found liable for the car door accident. If you were the one that hit the car door and you did so because you were driving distracted, speeding, or just not paying attention, you could be found liable for the car door accident. The other option is that both parties could be found liable as both contributed to causing the accident.
Besides the complications of determining who is liable, there is also the difficulty in proving what actually happened. Car door accidents can turn into a “he said she said” situation quickly. To make sure the most accurate portrayal of the accident can be shown, call the police right afterward. An accident report will be generated with your account of what happened. Also, get the names of any witnesses to the accident. Make sure to get their contact information as well. Additionally, it is a good idea to take pictures at the scene.
Determining liability is important because the party held liable will be responsible for compensating the other party for injuries and other damages sustained. In California, both parties may be found partially liable for causing an accident and still be able to recover damages. Under California comparative negligence law, a party found to be partially liable for causing an accident may recover his or her damage award, but it will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned. So, if a person is awarded $100,000 in damages, but found to be 20 percent at fault, he or she would receive $80,000 of the total award amount.
Determining liability is difficult and so is proving liability. Our experienced personal injury attorneys know what to look for and how to thoroughly gather evidence to support your claim. If you have been injured in a car door accident, contact us today. We are here to fight for you and your right to monetary compensation.