Serving Clients Throughout Upstate New York with Multiple Convenient Locations Syracuse | Oneida | Watertown | New Hartford | Binghamton | Cortland | Rochester | Oswego | Albany | Buffalo
Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
Rue Ratings - Best Attorneys of America
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Avvo Rating
Martindalle Hubbel
Best Law Firms

Open Door Accidents

Syracuse Lawyers for Motorcycle Collision Victims

While traveling in the zone of a stopped or parked car’s door, a motorcyclist can be severely injured or even killed in an open door accident. There are about 2 to 4 feet next to parallel parked vehicles in which motorcyclists may travel and be at risk of someone suddenly opening his or her door. If you have been injured in an open door accident, you may have suffered catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury, multiple broken bones, and spinal cord damage. A dedicated Syracuse motorcycle accident attorney can help you assess your legal options.

Open Door Accidents

Under New York Vehicle & Traffic Law section 1214, nobody is supposed to open the door of a motor vehicle on the side accessible to moving traffic unless and until it’s reasonably safe to do it, and it can be done without impacting the other traffic’s movement. Nobody should leave a door open on the side of the vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than needed to load or unload passengers. Where it’s found that someone in a vehicle violated Vehicle & Traffic section 1214, it’s more likely that you can establish the liability of the person in the car for the motorcyclist’s injuries in a civil claim. The defendant, or person opening the door, may argue that you weren’t paying attention and therefore contributed to your own injuries.


In an open door accident case, negligence may be proven by showing it’s more likely than not: (1) the defendant owed you a duty of care, (2) the defendant breached this duty, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Violating Vehicle & Traffic section 1214 may be considered a breach of the duty to use reasonable care when opening the door on the traffic side of a car.

The person who opened the door into you may argue that you were comparatively negligent in riding your motorcycle into the door. He or she will have to argue and prove your negligence. The jury will evaluate the arguments and evidence, determine the total damages, and determine your percentage of fault as well as the defendant’s percentage of fault. Your damages can be reduced based on your percentage of fault. A seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer can help you contest this kind of argument if it arises in your case.


The severity of your injuries will dictate how long it takes you to heal and what your losses are likely to be. For example, if you have multiple broken bones, you may need to restrict your movements for a period of time, even after your casts are removed. This can have an impact on your ability to work or enjoy your life for that period. If you suffer spinal cord damage and become permanently paralyzed, you may need to make changes to your home to get around for the rest of your life. You may also need medical equipment, rehabilitation, therapy, and replacement services.

You may be able to recover compensatory damages to address your losses if you are able to establish liability. Damages can be economic or noneconomic. Generally, the more severe your injuries, the greater your damages award is likely to be. Those with more active jobs and lifestyles may sustain greater intangible losses as a result of paralysis from the waist down, and the jury may factor individual characteristics of the plaintiff into their award. For example, if you used to play basketball all the time and you work in a job that requires you to walk the floor of a manufacturing plant, and then you break both legs, your life may be more altered than if you work a desk job and paint miniatures in your spare time.

Skilled Motorcycle Attorneys Serving Syracuse

If you are a motorcyclist who has sustained injuries as a result of an open door accident in Syracuse, it’s advisable to talk to a skillful trial lawyer about whether you have a viable personal injury lawsuit. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents accident victims in personal injury lawsuits in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in Herkimer, Utica, Canandaigua, Ithaca, Oneida, Oswego, Cooperstown, Watertown, Binghamton, Auburn, Lowville, Lyons, Elmira, and Wampsville. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY