Hit By Car Door Knocked Off Motorcycle, What to Do?

Being hit by a car door when on your motorbike can leave you with serious injuries. It can also mean your motorbike and equipment gets damaged sometimes beyond repair. Whether you were hit by the car door of a stationary vehicle, or one that was on the move which ends up with you sustaining any kind of injury, it may entitle you to seek compensation providing you can prove third party liability.

To find out more on how to claim compensation if hit by a car door, knocked off motorcycle and what to do, what evidence you need to support a claim and how a solicitor could assist you when it comes to proving liability, please read on.

Is Dooring Common in the UK?

Both drivers and passengers have a duty to take more care when they open a car door on a road. They should always make sure it is safe and to check there are no other road users about to pass them which could result in them colliding with the door or having to swerve to avoid a collision. However, accidents happen and motorcyclists get knocked off their bikes when they are hit by a car door with many bikers suffering injuries and damage to their equipment. It is the kind of road incident involving vehicles and motorbikes that is more common on roads in the UK than many people first think.

Over recent years, more motorcyclists are now on the road and as a consequence, the number of road traffic accidents  involving them has increased too. This includes incidents where drivers and passengers fail to check if it is safe to open a car door on a road. It would be fair to say that not all accidents get reported and as such, the number of motorcyclists who are injured on the road in this type of accident is thought to be much higher than officially recorded in the UK.

Is it an Offence to hit a Motorcyclist With a Car Door?

Rule 239 of the Highway Code states that motorists have a responsibility to make sure nobody is hit by a car door on opening it. The rule also states that motorists have a duty to check that no other vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists are about to pass them. The Highway Code provides guidance to drivers and as such, it is not deemed to be an offence.

However, under the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is deemed an offence to open a car or other vehicle car door which as a consequence endangers and/or injures other road users. The Act also states that it is an offence to cause another road user to swerve to avoid a collision which could result in injury. This means that if as a motorcyclists you sustained injuries because you had to swerve to avoid being hit by a car door, the party who opened the car door could be deemed responsible. In short, you would not have to be hit by a car door for you to claim compensation for injuries and damage suffered, whether it was a driver or a passenger who committed the offence by opening their car door without due care and attention.

When it comes to penalties, the offence carries a fine of up to £1,000 but it does not carry any penalty points on a driver’s licence. The hearing would be heard in a magistrate’s court and a guilty plea can be filed in writing by drivers/passengers who committed the offence.

Would Contributory Negligence Affect My Claim for Compensation if Hit by a Car Door?

As a motorcyclist, you also have a duty to take extra care when passing other motorists and you should ‘anticipate’ when a car door may be opened on the road. Should you be hit by a car door and knocked off your bike, a judge would consider whether you ‘anticipated’ the actions of a driver or passenger or not. However, it is often thought that having to ‘anticipate’ the actions of a driver or passenger could place an ‘unacceptably high standard on bikers’ and therefore often contributory negligence would not apply (John Burridge v Airwork Ltd 2004).

A solicitor working on your behalf would establish whether you contributed to the accident in which you were injured and whether contributory negligence would be a factor in a claim for compensation. Should this be the case, the amount of personal injury compensation you may be awarded if your case is upheld would reflect the level of liability you are deemed to have had. A solicitor with the right expertise in handling this type of claim, would determine whether you could be deemed to have a degree of liability for the injuries you suffered.

How Do I Start a Claim if Hit by a Car Door and Knocked off My Motorbike?

If you are injured when hit by a car door and knocked off your motorbike, you should get in touch with a solicitor who specialises in this type of compensation claim. The reason being that claims of this nature are complex and proving liability can often be challenging with many drivers/passengers not accepting they could be responsible for the injuries you suffered and damage caused to your bike and equipment.

A solicitor with the necessary experience would assess whether you could be partly responsible or whether a driver or passenger would bear full liability for the injuries and damage you suffered in the incident. Once this has been established, many solicitors would offer you No Win No Fee terms taking all the worry of having to find the funds to pay for legal representation off the table.

You would be asked to sign what is known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee Agreement) which sets out the terms of the contract which is legally binding. This allows a solicitor the chance to start their investigations without requesting that you pay them to do so. The only time you pay for the legal representation they provide is when you are awarded compensation and the ‘success fee’ is taken directly from the amount you receive with the balance being paid to you.

A solicitor working on your behalf on a No Win No Fee basis, would undertake to contact the responsible party’s insurance company and would send them a notice of ‘intent’. Should the responsible party be a passenger, an example being someone who was in a taxi, the driver could be held ‘responsible’ because it could be deemed they had a specific amount of control over the passenger’s actions.

The offence is covered by the Road Traffic Act which in short, means your case could go to court and a judge may rule in your favour. In short, you may be awarded compensation for the injuries and damage to property you suffered when hit by a car door and knocked off your motorbike. A solicitor working on your behalf would work hard to ensure the evidence provided is sufficient to ensure a claim for compensation that goes to court stands a good chance of being won.

What Proof Would I Need to Support a Motorcycle Claim if Hit By a Car Door and Injured?

It goes without saying the more proof you can provide, the stronger a claim for compensation would be. The sort of evidence a solicitor would require when representing you in this type of claim, is as follows:

  • Witness statements and their contact details
  • Photos of where the incident occurred and of damage to property both your bike and other equipment
  • Photos of any injuries you sustained in the incident
  • Dashcam evidence if available
  • A medical report – this would be required to calculate the level of general damages you may be awarded in a successful claim against a responsible party
  • The driver’s insurance details, the car registration number and the make/model of the vehicle involved in the incident
  • Police reference number

If your injuries do not permit you to do any of the above because you were taken by ambulance  to the hospital, it is important that you get a medical report from the doctor who treated you on arrival at the A&E department and the ambulance attendant who treated you on the journey to the hospital.

As a Motorcyclist Hit by a Car Door and Injured What Could I Claim?

Once you have established that you have a valid claim for compensation against a responsible party, you could be entitled to claim both General Damages and Special Damages which would be awarded for the injuries you suffered and any out of pocket expenses you had to deal with as a result of having been bit by a car door and knocked off your motorbike.

The level of general damages you would be awarded in a successful claim would be based on the severity of the injuries you suffered and how your future life is impacted. Solicitors, courts as well as insurance providers base the amount awarded on the Judicial College Guidelines.

Special damages are awarded to compensate injured parties for all the expenses they incurred because they suffered injuries. This could include the following but proof of expenditure must be provided:

  • Travel costs
  • Medical costs – prescriptions, treatments, therapies and rehabilitation not covered by the NHS
  • Care costs – if you need looking after during your recovery
  • Loss of earnings and anticipated earnings
  • The cost of damage to equipment and property
  • Home adaptations
  • All expenses that can be directly connected to injuries and damage you suffered

As previously touched upon, you must provide proof of expenditure in the form of receipts and other relevant documentation for any claim relating to special damages to be upheld. A solicitor working on your behalf would provide essential advice on what can be included in a claim for special damages and what may not be included.

Is It Worth Contacting a Solicitor if I Suffer Injuries When Hit by a Car Door?

One of the biggest challenges when claiming compensation for having been hit by a car door and knocked off a motorbike, is proving liability on the part of a third party, namely a driver or a passenger. A solicitor boasts the experience of not only dealing with a third party’s insurers but also of assessing whether full responsibility can be placed on a driver/passenger or whether contributory negligence would be a factor in a claim for compensation.

Another bonus of having legal representation is that once a solicitor feels your case against a responsible party is strong, they would offer you No Win No Fee terms. This means the only time you have to pay a solicitor their ‘success fee’ is when you win your claim and you are awarded compensation for injuries and damages you sustained having been hit by a car door and knocked off your motorbike.

Should your case against a third party not be successful, the ‘success fee’ would not be payable to a No Win No Fee solicitor because you entered into a legal contract – a Conditional Fee Agreement – with them.

What is the Time Limit to Filing a Claim for Compensation?

If you feel you have a valid case against a responsible party, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible so that you do not run foul of the statutory time limit associated with personal injury claims. This is 3 years from the date you suffered injuries having been hit by a car door and knocked off your motorbike by a driver or passenger who failed in their duty to ensure it was safe to do so.

However, if the incident occurred before your eighteenth birthday – when you were minor – you have three years from the day you turn eighteen years of age. In short, you have up till your twenty first birthday to make a claim for compensation against a party responsible. However, it is far better to file a claim while things are still fresh in everyone’s minds which includes any witnesses to the incident.

The time limit differs if you are diagnosed by a recognised medical professional as suffering from a health issue linked to an injury you suffered when you were hit by a car door and knocked off your motorcycle. This means the three year time limit would begin from the date of the diagnosis.

Links to Helpful Websites

If you would like more information on personal injury claims and the statutory time limit that must be respected, please follow the link provided below:

More information regarding personal injury claims for compensation

If you were knocked off your bike when hit by a car door and would like more information on who could be liable, please click on the link below where you will find a lot of useful information and advice:

The law regarding motorcyclists injured when hit by car door

More more information on guidance for motorcyclists provided in the Highway Code, please follow the link below:

The Highway Code guidance for motorcyclists