Who is at fault when an open car door is hit depends on how the accident happened. Either party could have behaved negligently in this situation, and in some cases, both parties may share blame.
It is important to determine who is at fault after an open car door is hit, as this fact will tell you whether or not you can recover compensation for your personal injuries and property damage.
How Open Car Door Accidents Happen
Many scenarios could lead to an open car door being hit. The following examples demonstrate the many parties that may contribute to such accidents:
- Party A is legally parked and only opens their door to get out after carefully checking for traffic. Before they can close the door, Party B speeds toward them and hits the door. In this case, Party B is at fault.
- Party A opens their door suddenly and without warning as Party B approaches at a safe speed. In this case, Party A is at fault.
- Party A loses control of their vehicle due to defective brakes and cannot stop when they see Party B legally and carefully open their car door. In this case, the auto manufacturer is at fault.
- The city has allowed bushes close to the roadway to become overgrown, blocking Party A’s visibility as they round a corner. This prevents Party A from seeing that Party B’s door is open. In this case, the city is at fault.
It is not always possible to identify every at-fault party without investigating the accident thoroughly. A car accident lawyer can get to the bottom of things for you. This way, you would have no doubts about who is responsible, who you should sue, and how much compensation you have a right to recover.
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What if Both Parties Are at Fault?
It is possible that both drivers could share responsibility for an accident involving an open car door. For instance, perhaps Party A opened their door recklessly, and Party B was too busy looking at their cell phone to notice. In such cases, the insurance companies (or a jury) would need to agree on what percentage of blame to assign to each party.
Under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33, someone who contributes to an accident can still collect compensation, but only if their share of responsibility is no more than 49 percent. Consider the following scenarios:
- Party A is 100 percent responsible for the crash. The insurance companies agree on this, so there is no dispute: Party B is the only one with a right to compensation, and they can receive 100 percent of the damages they ask for.
- The insurance companies agree that Party A is 70 percent responsible for the crash and Party B is 30 percent responsible. Party B could receive compensation for up to 70 percent of their losses. Party A cannot receive any compensation because their share of responsibility exceeds 49 percent.
- A jury rules that Party A and Party B are equally to blame. Each is 50 percent responsible for the accident, so neither can receive compensation.
If there is any disagreement about how much compensation either party is entitled to, their respective lawyers can get together to negotiate a settlement. You can also take your case to court if a settlement is not an option for any reason.
Proving Fault in Open Door Accident Cases
To have any hope of receiving compensation after an open car door is hit, your lawyer must find convincing proof that some other party is mostly or entirely responsible for the accident. They can look for such evidence from:
- The police officer who responded to the accident and who filed an official report about it
- Video footage from any cameras that happened to be in the area, including surveillance cameras or cell phone cameras
- Materials you collected, such as photos of the scene, the other person’s contact information, and bills or receipts related to the accident
- The doctor who examined you after the accident and any medical records generated by your post-accident visits
The other party will certainly be looking for evidence to support their own case and refute yours. Your respective lawyers may be able to meet and exchange information and evidence. This way, you might gain access to important evidence, and you will not be surprised by any arguments the other side tries to make.
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We Can Identify the At-Fault Party
When an open car door is hit, it can be difficult to figure out what to do about it. At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, part of our job is determining who is at fault in our clients’ car accidents and fighting for the compensation they deserve. Call us today for a free case evaluation. We are always eager to help Georgia residents with their legal cases.