When an open car door is hit, the owner of the parked car – who opened the door – is usually at fault. Most states have laws against opening a car door into oncoming traffic.
Sometimes, though, the driver who hits the door may share some of the fault. For example, a driver who fails to swerve out of the way because they are distracted may bear some liability for the resulting damage.
Many accidents are caused by distracted driving behaviors like texting or playing with the radio knob. Such an action could constitute negligence.
Georgia and South Carolina Have Laws Against Opening a Car Door Into Traffic
Both Georgia and South Carolina have strict laws prohibiting owners of parked cars from opening their doors when it is unsafe. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-243 and S.C. Ann. § 56-5-3822, you must wait until the coast is clear before opening a car door on the side of oncoming traffic. Also, you cannot leave a car door open for longer than reasonable to assist passengers in and out of the vehicle.
These laws imply that the typical at-fault party in an accident involving an open car door is the parked car’s owner. Since this party’s vehicle is stopped, they have the responsibility of watching for oncoming traffic. If drivers in traffic had to yield to every open door obstructing the road, no one would get very far.
Still, some circumstances would warrant shared fault.
When Might the Driver Who Hit the Door Be at Fault?
If a driver hits an open car door because they had no way of avoiding it, they generally won’t share any fault for the accident. However, if they had a reasonable opportunity to swerve around it and prevent an accident, they may share in the fault.
For example, if the driver was speeding, an insurance adjuster may assign them partial fault. In this case, they might argue that the driver would have had enough time to react if they were following the speed limit.
Similarly, if the driver’s inattention caused them to hit the open car door, they would also share the fault. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compares texting while driving to traveling the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour with your eyes closed. A few seconds is all it takes to lose your chance to avoid an accident.
You May Have Suffered Injuries If You Hit an Open Car Door
Whether you were the driver who hit the open car door or the owner of the parked car, you may have suffered minor to severe injuries. Even though one car was not moving, the impact from the collision could have caused serious harm.
For example, the impact may have launched your vehicle into another car or object. Likewise, the owner of the parked car may have suffered severe injuries if they were in the car at the time, such as loss of limb.
Make sure you see a doctor after this type of accident. Even if you feel fine, symptoms may rear their head days or months down the road. You don’t want to be left footing the bill for ongoing medical treatment. Medical documentation can help link your injuries to your accident so you can seek fair compensation.
You Could Seek Compensation If You Were Involved in an Accident
If you hit an open car door, you could seek compensation for your injuries and vehicle damage. Similarly, you may seek compensation if you were the owner of the parked car. An insurance settlement or court verdict may cover a variety of losses.
You may stand to recover:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills for long-term care needs
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity if you cannot earn your pre-injury income after the accident
If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you also have the opportunity to seek awards for pain and suffering. Our firm can help you assess all of your losses and fight for what you deserve.
We Can Help You With Your Open Car Door Injury Case
Ultimately, an insurance adjuster will determine the at-fault party when an open car door is hit. You have the right to legal representation, whether you were the driver or the owner of the parked car.
Our personal injury lawyers can help investigate your case. We can also help counter an insurance adjuster’s findings if they assign you the fault for the accident. Our team can negotiate for a fair settlement, and we are not afraid to bring your case to trial.
Work With Us After Your Vehicle Accident Caused By Negligence
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers has been serving South Carolina and Georgia for over 40 years. Our team wants to see what we can do for you. Whether you hit an open car door or had your car door hit, we could gather evidence of the other party’s negligence and fight to hold them accountable.
Our staff can discuss your accident in more detail when you call for your free case review. We are available 24/7 and can begin working on your case immediately. Reach out to us at (888) 612-7001.