I was hit by a car door when cycling - Can I claim compensation?

Driver opening their car door into the path of a cyclist

Cyclists face many hazards, but one of the most unexpected is being struck by an opening car door, or 'dooring'. Dooring can cause serious injury and leave cyclists facing medical bills, lost wages, and a long road to recovery.

If you've been injured in a 'dooring' incident, we explain your legal rights and how you can secure the compensation you need for a full recovery.

'Dooring' - a major cause of cycling accidents

'Dooring' is the term for when a cyclist is injured by a driver or passenger opening a car door directly into their path.

Dooring is of particular risk when riding on busy city streets lined with parked cars, or when filtering through traffic or overtaking vehicles (including parked vehicles).

Cycling accidents have risen generally in line with the increasing number of cyclists on UK roads. 141 cyclists were killed and 16,153 were injured, according to the most recent UK figures supplied by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The latest data represents a concerning 41% increase in cyclist fatalities, compared to the previous year.

Ascertaining how many of these accidents resulted from an open car door is difficult. The Department for Transport (DoT) has released figures for the period between 2011 and 2015, which reveal that 8 cyclists were killed and 3,108 were injured in dooring accidents.

This figure is probably an underestimate as many such dooring accidents are not reported.

Motorcyclists are similarly at risk of drivers opening car doors.

What does the law say about dooring?

According to The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 section 105:

'No person shall open, or cause or permit to be opened, any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person.'

Drivers and passengers are therefore responsible for checking for approaching cyclists before opening their vehicle doors to prevent 'dooring' accidents, especially when cyclists may be overtaking or passing a line of stationary traffic.

Could I (as a cyclist) be liable if I collided with an open car door?

Defendants' solicitors or their insurance companies may try and argue that a cyclist, who is the claimant, was cycling too close to a parked car at the time of an accident.

However, courts often rule that it is the overall responsibility of the driver to ensure the path is clear before opening their door.

The fact that the cyclist might be closer than the width of the open car door is not considered relevant. The cyclist would have no way of knowing the profile width of a specific car door. Giving a parked car an excessively wide berth would be impractical and possibly dangerous.

Expecting a cyclist to be constantly predicting when a driver might open a door would be too high a burden to place on the cyclist.

Claiming compensation for a dooring accident?

If you were injured by an opening car door in the last 3 year, you may be able to claim financial compensation.

The amount of compensation money you could claim will depend on:

  • the severity of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

To find out what you could claim, try our injury compensation calculator or about claiming compensation for a cycling accident.

What can I claim for?

If you were injured when a car door was opened into your path, you may claim for any loss or injury you have sustained.

A claim can be made against the driver's insurance company, even if it was the car passenger who caused the accident.

Compensation claims may be brought for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity. You can also claim for your costs and expenses, including lost earnings, a replacement bike or repairs, cycling safety equipment, or any other out of pocket expenses.

Special damages may also be awarded for medical treatments or procedures that you might need to treat your cycling injury, including pain medication and physical therapy.

Read more:

A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

What happened?

The claims process for a cycling injury will depend on where and how the accident happened. Click the icons below for more information:

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Citations

Limitation Act 1980

Chris Salmon, Director

Author:
Chris Salmon, Director