Can I Sue After a “Dooring” Accident in New York City?

City cyclists dread the possibility of a dooring accident. Whether or not you can sue  depends on whether the occupant of the vehicle was negligent. First, bicyclists must follow the rules of the road. For example, they cannot ride on the sidewalk, but a cyclist who does and gets doored may not have a claim. However, the motorist is usually responsible for a dooring incident when it occurs on the street side.

A New York City personal injury lawyer at Douglas and London will protect your rights and negotiate with the motorist’s insurance company so that you may receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.


It is against the law in New York City to open a vehicle door on the side of moving traffic until it is safe to do so. Safe means parked or stopped, since doors cannot be legally opened when traffic is moving. It is also illegal for someone to leave a vehicle door open for longer than necessary on the side of moving traffic. When someone does exit a vehicle from this side, they cannot interfere with the rights of an oncoming vehicle or cyclist.

Basically, the law says the person exiting the car has to ensure that no cyclists or other vehicles are approaching. Dooring most often happens 2 to 4 feet from parked or stopped cars. Ironically, some motorists try to sue cyclists for property damage.

New York City Bike Laws

Under New York City statues, cyclists must ride in either designated bike lanes or on the right of traffic. The downside is that this puts cyclists right beside many cars. Taxis are not permitted to pick up or discharge passengers within a bicycle lane, but this law is frequently flouted.  

Dooring Injuries

The most common types of dooring injuries include fractures, strains and sprains, and shoulder injuries. Many of these require surgery. They may lead not only to considerable medical expenses, but time lost from work. Dooring incidents also tend to involve damage to the bicycle. Compensation may include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

What to Do After a Dooring Accident

If you were involved in an accident and are physically able, collect evidence at the scene. Take photos of the bike, the car and the doors, and your injuries. Call 911 right away. Obtain the contact information for the motorist and the person who doored you. Get the driver’s license number and insurance information. If there are eyewitnesses, request their contact information.

Seek prompt medical attention. That is true even if you do not think you were seriously hurt. If you are lucky, you got away with a few scrapes and bruises. However, the adrenalin pumping through your body after the accident can temporarily camouflage pain and the severity of your injuries.

The next step is speaking with a personal injury lawyer about your case.

Contact us for a free consultation

If you were the victim of a dooring accident, you need the services of an experienced New York City personal injury attorney at Douglas and London. Arrange a free consultation by calling or texting us 24/7 or completing our online contact form. After evaluating your case, we will let you know your options. Hablamos Español.