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Collision With Open Car Door: Who is Responsible?

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 14 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Open Car Door Hit Door Driving Without

Q.

Who is most likely to be held responsible for a car colliding with an opened driver's door - legally parked on a town road?
The parked car or the moving car?

(A.C, 4 May 2009)

A.

Who is at fault in this situation really depends on the circumstances, although it is generally assumed that the person who hit the door is at fault as it can be argued that they were driving without 'due care and attention' if they didn't see it in enough time to stop.

However, the onus also sits on the driver or passenger in the car to make sure that the area around their car is clear before they open any doors, whether it be to get out of the car or put shopping, or a child inside. Section 239 of the Highway Code states that you should ensure that you do not hit anyone when you open your car door and that you should check carefully for cyclists or other road users/pedestrians before you do so.

So if you open your car door without looking and a passing driver hits it, then it is likely to be you that will take the blame for the collision. However if you open your car door with no traffic around and another driver comes along and hits it, then you can argue that they were not driving with due care and attention because they didn't see the door open in time to stop. Drivers are expected to apply hazard perception techniques when they are driving and so should be on the lookout for dangerous scenarios, such as animals in the road, pedestrians and open car doors.

The difficulty comes with proving what happened. If you hit another driver's door, or you are the one who finds your vehicle has been hit, then the best thing you can do is try to find an independent witness who saw what happened. Without witnesses, it will be difficult to prove that the door wasn't opened onto the passing car, thus causing the collision.

Although not always possible, the best thing you can do to avoid your car door being hit by another car is to make sure that you get in and out of your car, and put things in and out of it from the off-roadside doors, rather than the side that opens out onto the road. Remember to look out for pedestrians though!

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I am a Removal man. I was parked on the side of the road safely with my tail lift open while I was offloading furniture into the customer House. my tail lift is not fully down because i am moving furnitire in. she drove the side of the car to the back of my tail lift. which caused a damage from a passenger door in front to the back tyre. she rammed the side of her car into my stationary park van tail lift. luckily enough there was no damage to my tail lift or my van. Her car was badly damaged her back tyre gone flat. she was yelling at me blaming me for it. please, could this be my fault while I was offloading customer goods. please advise. we exchange insurance details and random man walked up to me and said is my fault. I am van man delivery items. i am at stationery. not moving i was not inside my van. she drove into me where i parked my van doing my work.
T - 14-Jun-17 @ 11:52 PM
Hi my daughter was waiting (about 5 cars back) from a red light and her passenger opened her door to slam it. A passing cyclist went straight in to it sustaining injuries to his chest and damaging his bike. Who is at fault? Does it need to go through my daughters insurance? Police did not attend but ambulance did. Injured party has now reported it to police and wants my daughter to settle out of court. Not sure what to do....advice please!
bex - 5-May-17 @ 1:28 PM
I was parked in a store lot with the engine off, keys out of ignition. i had just pulled into this space. The space to my left was empty. I opened the door, glanced out just as another car pulled in and caught my door in their rear view mirror, putting a dent in their car. no damage to mine. The other driver stated they were behind me, saw me park, and took the empty space. Who is at fault?
John - 9-Feb-17 @ 1:05 AM
I had parked my car in a bay down a busy small street (can still fit two cars down at same time usually) turned my engine off and clicked my door open, although my door was open it was resting against my arm and in no way "wide open" I couldn't have even of got my foot out the gap. I was waiting for a car to pass before opening fully. My door was open about couple seconds before she was passed(not much in it) But I really think this driver was driving far too close to my vehicle and has drove into my door, as this road is small they were obviously going at a slightly slower speed so there is no damage to my door at all but her wing mirror had been smashed. I'm 99.9% she would've hit my wing mirror if my door was fully closed. We exchanged details and afterwards I returned to my car and saw her waiting for me, she pointed out that actually the damage extended to the front side of her wheel arch which had been dented in. I am suspicious as to why we both didn't notice this too start with as it is a significant dent & she has then left the scene and returned after "speaking to her husband". She has put a claim in against me, but I don't think I am to blame here? Please advise.
Jem - 29-Jan-17 @ 11:51 PM
My mom had her car parked outside my house, usually there's hardly any traffic in the area and she had made sure to check there was no cars, she had opened the door to get groceries out slightly, and whilst doing so another car was driving past, the door swung open and hit that car by mistake which resulted in her leg getting badly bruised. Since there's a massive dent on her door, it was likely the driver was driving fast. I think the driver should have known her car door was open but he was furious, blaming her. I would like to know whose fault would it be? I wasn't there at the scene to witness, but my mom has visited the doctor, and her leg seems to be very swollen.
Rabbit - 29-Jan-17 @ 4:11 PM
Today my partner was revising out of where we live and a van was park there with his front door of he's van left wide open he was in somebody house so my partner has hit he's door and damage he's van quite bad it's 2016 connet van who would be a fault for this please
Don - 30-Dec-16 @ 2:37 PM
Was getting out of parked car .in supermarket .nobody beside us swung round put my feet on ground and a car swung in hit doorjammed me in door .causing massive bruising and bump on my head.an elderly chap got out of other vehicle and said he didn't see me.it has shook me up even a week later.went to hospital 2 days later said it was badlybruised .
Brenda - 14-Nov-16 @ 11:46 AM
Nice article, helping me to understand somethings.I was involved in an incident a couple of days ago when leaving a taxi. The taxi driver took me to where I was going, double parked and stopped in the middle of the lane in the road. I checked for any oncoming traffic, unbuckled my seatbelt then opened the door. SMACK.The door had clipped the wing mirror of an oncoming car, taking the mirror off and scraping the door of the taxi. The door was open at no more than a 30 degree angle, 6-8 inches from the car. The police were called who blackmailed me with a ticket so that I would exchange my details with the taxi driver. I maintain that I am not responsible due to the car being double parked but also parked so close to the oncoming lane. I checked for oncoming traffic and did not see the car coming but no due care was given by the driver to myself as, being in the front of the vehicle, he would have seen the oncoming car approach.I feel like my safety was jeopardised by this gentleman.
fletcher24 - 22-Aug-16 @ 5:01 PM
Tonight as I was leaving my parking spot .A car drove up on my left side and I waited to merge into traffic after she passed me. It passes and doubled park to left of me in front of me blocking traffic. I highlighted thecar and honked at her to move out of my way but it remained double parking on the left of me and moved up a little. So I reversed and waited for traffic to clear as I manuevered around the vehicle passing it from my right side. As I was passing the vehicle the passenger behind the driver opened his door and scrapped the right side of my vehicle and dented my back passenger door and theyre blaming me . Ive never seen anyone double park without their emergency lights on,that unloaded their passenger into the side where traffic is passing . He literally opened his door midway of me passing the vehicle and thats why the damage to my car doesnt start til the back end of my vehicle and there is no damage to the front right part of my vehicle .What do I do?
Sein - 7-Aug-16 @ 9:15 AM
I was parked beside a truck in a tims parking lot as I was loading my children into my car the lady returned to her truck got in a preceded to pull out of your spot while doingso her fender of her dual wheel pick up grabbed my door and she proceeded to keep driving ripping my door off. Called insurance company they say my fault for having my door open , how else in was supposeto get into my car. He said I should aware of cars around while getting into my car . I was aware of this truck however when I was loading the truck was unoccupied but she returned and just pulls away, how is it she isn't at fault she should have been aware of 3 children getting into a vehicle beside her.
Clbs - 2-Jun-16 @ 12:10 AM
My wife has recently knocked a cyclist off with a young boy in a bike seat on the front of his bicycle, unfortunately she was stopped on yellow zig zags outside of school, an ambulance was called but no medical attention was needed and the cyclist also said he wasn't paying much attention. My wife did not report this to the police as she thought both party's we're OK. Now 2 weeks later we've had an email saying that the cyclist may have injuries & are in contact with the police via email, obvouisly we are worried about he health of the cyclist but would like to know where we stand legally
A doing - 31-May-16 @ 2:12 PM
I pulled up my car by the kerb.I opened the door, got out and and closed the door.I went to the rear driver's side door.I opened it, removed a shopping trolley and placed it on the ground.When the trolley hit the ground, a vehicle hit the end of the car door.I estimate the door had been open and stationary for 5 to 10 seconds.Who is liable for negligence?
joseph - 31-May-16 @ 1:28 PM
Ch90 - Your Question:
Today I was parking into a bay at tesco superstore next to a parked small van. I was well within my lines of the bay when the van door suddenly swung open. The collision damaged the van door and my front left light and bumper. Insurance say I would be liable as the damage is to the front of my car but it really is bordering front/side. The van driver clearly didn't check to see I was pulling in and claims he did check but I was speeding. I was not speeding. Please advise.

Our Response:
Sorry we cannot advise on issues like this as we don't have both parties' versions.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 27-May-16 @ 2:06 PM
Today I was parking into a bay at tesco superstore next to a parked small van. I was well within my lines of the bay when the van door suddenly swung open. The collision damaged the van door and my front left light and bumper. Insurance say I would be liable as the damage is to the front of my car but it really is bordering front/side . The van driver clearly didn't check to see I was pulling in and claims he did check but I was speeding.I was not speeding. Please advise.
Ch90 - 25-May-16 @ 9:07 PM
A shop has given me CCTV footage of a car accident I had a few month ago. My insurance company have paid for this but the shop wouldn't post it to them. They asked me to pick it up to forward it to my insurer. What I'd like to know is, can I legally view this before I send it off to them? Kind regards
Jac - 24-Apr-16 @ 10:09 PM
I had an accident 7 months ago, i was coming out of a car park with limited vision and a woman speeding down an idustrail estate managed to scrape her left door panel across my front bumper. i have the cctv footage and i reported it to my insurance company.. now i have renewed my insurance with a new company and a letter came through the post saying they tried to make a claim for 3300 pounds. Not sure what to do from here.
Smitdog - 12-Apr-16 @ 4:26 AM
A few months back I was driving into a car parking space and as I got into the space I thought it would be easier to get out of the car park if I went into the space infront which was free. The car park was quiet but I stupidly chose to drive next to a car. As i was just passing the driver door of the other car I heard a scraping noise and stopped immediately. I got out of my car to imvestigate and the driver of the car next to.me was there. I walked around to the passenger side of my car and it was scraped along the end of my passenger front door and the start of the back passenger door. All was fine I gave the driver my details although no discussion was had about whos fault it was as I was nervous and a little shaken but realised once I calmed down and thought about it was the other cars fault as they opened the door onto my car. The driver then contacted me asking for my insurance company. I later that day received a text to call the drivers insurance company which I did and they took me through my version of events. They fixed the car for me. Months down the line I now have a 3rd party claim against me and are now saying I am fully liable as it was my fault and the other driver has a witness. I took photos but I had no witness. My insurance company are rrting to fight my corner but I feel that it.most definately was not.my fault as the door was closed when i chose to go into the space. Even if i had hit the door then there would be damage at the front of my car.and wing mirror but it was all on the flat surface of my doors. What can I do? It is not a nice situation to be in.
Honesty - 4-Apr-16 @ 8:18 PM
An employee, whom I park next to in our assigned parking lots at work, stated to me that I "dinged her car". Mind you, we happened to cross paths outside in the afternoon. I replied to her, " Really? How do you figure it was me? I really had no clue". She replied back, "in the morning". Baffled, I continue to proceed to my car, and took a look at her car... That "ding" was so tiny. Like it could have happened anywhere by anything; small rock, etc... I didn't get frustrated, I went directly to the Vice President and explained what she proclaimed happened. Then he forward the incident to the President of the company, who then in return told her that I was not responsible bc that could have happened anywhere and it's a private lot. We park at our own risk. He told her to drop the matter. Now, 2wks later, which is today, she asks me in private what was the outcome to the estimate she had given me? I told her "from my understanding the President of the company spoke to you and it's a done deal". She is now trying to demand for my insurance information. Again, I forwarded this matter to my Higher Ups. Is this legal? What are my rights?
Withgreatfaith2579 - 24-Mar-16 @ 10:20 PM
Scooby- Your Question:
Tonight a taxi hit my back door as I was getting my bags, he said it was my fault, my car was stationery, my door was already open for about a minute, there was no cars on the road apart from parked ones, he was very cocky and told me he used to be an insurance assessor, I said why did you not break or slow down ? He was very abusive and its really made me shaken, with his attitude, and then said. Do you have insurance in a very cocky Manor, I just feel sick, what do these idiots gain from this, p

Our Response:
The fault is usually the stationary vehicle users if they open the door suddenly in the path of another vehicle...if it's already open then it's debateable. We suggest you leave it to your insurance to sort out.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 7-Mar-16 @ 10:22 AM
Tonight a taxi hit my back door as I was getting my bags, he said it was my fault, my car was stationery, my door was already open for about a minute, there was no cars on the road apart from parked ones,he was very cocky and told me he used to be an insurance assessor, I said why did you not break or slow down ?He was very abusive and its really made me shaken, with his attitude, and then said.... Do you have insurance in a very cocky Manor,I just feel sick, what do these idiots gain from this, p
Scooby - 4-Mar-16 @ 12:55 AM
I had an accident where I was In a 45 degree park, my car door was open a tiny bit less than half way and a car drove in as the hinge of my door rolled in to the half way position scratching her left side passenger door and bending my door back irregularly. Is she at fault because my door was open, or am I for the door widening itself further?
GaryW - 3-Feb-16 @ 9:42 PM
Profile of drivers, claims for storage, replacement vehicles, nature and condition of their vehicle, use of an Accident Management Company owned by same ethnicity. It's documented by ex-investgators blatantly. But whilst my issuers are going to continue disputing, apparently it can go on for years, and if they carry on it will end up in court, and apparently a judge would see the 'loss adjuster report' and that one sentence saying it could indicate door was open already, and find in their favour. How on earth any judge in this country can't see what this case is screaming out is beyond me. I now have to sit and wait and regardless of what happens, my premiums are going to increase, it's just a case of by how much! Anyone been in a similar situation? I'm beyond furious, I'm utterly sickened that this is able to happen and them get away with it. I'm disgusted. In my 15 years on the roads I've never had any kind of incident, not even a single scratch to any of the cars I've owned in any circumstance at all, yet I'm facing this!? I am currently looking online to make a purchase of 3 dash board cameras!
SMC2000 - 22-Jan-16 @ 5:19 PM
nderstand him so had to demand to see his taxi badge to get his name etc. I stood there saying he'd just opened his door without looking and hit my car, but he kept saying I'd ran into him and got on the phone to someone speaking his language for a few minutes. I've never had any kind of bump before and couldn't believe that he'd just done this and was trying to blame me. I should point out his, his door looked absolutely knackered, and had duck tape and all sorts hanging off it (couldn't get a photo as phone had died!) But he kept looking at it as if presenting damage I'd done! Shocking. Anyway, it was now raining, and freezing, I had no coat or phone, but had his details and he had mine, so I went back to the car and returned home where I could check for damage. I had a small scuff on the wheel trim on the left side of my car and that was it, it wasn't dented, and the scuff in width was about 2inch max. I reported the incident to my insurance and explained I had no intention of claiming anything but just wanted to report, gave full statement and sent photos of my damage. Heard nothing about the other party making a claim until this week, 3 months later. Apparently they are claiming, saying door was already open, I smacked into it, apparently it is now a 'write off', because it's value was too low to be worth repairing the damage I'd caused, they are claiming for three months and ongoing of replacement vehicle hire and storage of their 'write off' vehicle. I could not believe what I was hearing. An 'independent' loss adjuster came to view both vehicles this week, theirs first, then ours - he turned up, looked at the car and said 'where's the damage' as he couldn't see it obviously - we pointed the scuff out, and he laughed it off, said flipping heck, their car is a wreck, their doors are rotten completely on both sides and the vehicle is knackered, and in no way does the damage to your car reflect theirs they are claiming - he actually said the words, "they are trying to pull a fast one" etc etc. Naturally, we felt relieved. My insurance, however, rang today and said whilst the official report he submitted mentioned discrepancies between the damage to each car, a sentence in it said that my damage could indicate the door was already open. I was gobsmacked. How is this possible I have no idea, given the damage is on the side of my car not the front, it's so small and slight, and a big black cab door, full height of their vehicle, had I just rammed into it, or even clipped it driving past, would have certainly taken my wing mirror off too or something. The driver also managed to continue getting out of the car and close the door whilst I was stopped next to him! Anyway, turns out he is also using an Accident Management Company to pursue the claim and not his insurer? Why on earth would anyone do that in the event of a normal genuine claim. Well, a bit of research online told me it's a text book scam. Profile of drivers, claim
SMC2000 - 22-Jan-16 @ 5:18 PM
I was driving down a small town high street at just gone 5pm. When cars are parked either side, the road is only just wide enough for two cars to pass each other, sometimes it isn't even wide enough for that if someone hasn't parked close enough to the curb. I was driving along quite slowly, as it's a busy time for traffic passing through. Both hands on wheel, no distractions. A taxi had pulled over to let passengers out on the left hand side (pointing same direction as me driving). As I got by the taxi I heard a bang on my car. I stopped instantly (as mentioned, only going slowly). I looked to the left side and could see the taxi driver had just got out of his car, closed his door to, and came to my window, which I wound down. He'd basically just opened his door onto my car, which was clear to me at the time, as I was wholly focused on the road so if I'd seen a car door open I'd have stopped or avoided it if there was no oncoming traffic. He was asian and could hardly speak english, or so it seemed, but he was trying to say I'd drove straight into his car. The road was very busy so I had to drive on and park up a bit further down (couldn't see any damage to my car at the time but it was dark). I ran back up to him, and immediately stopped his passengers who'd got out on the pavement side, but they were old and said they didn't see anything. I started taking pictures of his number plate and taxi plates, but my phone then cut out! Typical! I got some paper from my car to take his details, but couldn't understand him so had to demand to see his taxi badge to get his name etc. I stood there saying he'd just opened his door without looking and hit my car, but he kept saying I'd ran into him and got on the phone to someone speaking his language for a few minutes. I've never had any kind of bump before and couldn't believe that he'd just done this and was trying to blame me. I should point out his, his door looked absolutely knackered, and had duck tape and all sorts hanging off it (couldn't get a photo as phone had died!) But he kept looking at it as if presenting damage I'd done! Shocking. Anyway, it was now raining, and freezing, I had no coat or phone, but had his details and he had mine, so I went back to the car and returned home where I could check for damage. I had a small scuff on the wheel trim on the left side of my car and that was it, it wasn't dented, and the scuff in width was about 2inch max. I reported the incident to my insurance and explained I had no intention of claiming anything but just wanted to report, gave full statement and sent photos of my damage. Heard nothing about the other party making a claim until this week, 3 months later. Apparently they are claiming, saying door was already open, I smacked into it, apparently it is now a 'write off', because it's value was too low to be worth repairing the damage I'd caused, they are claiming for three months and ongoing of replacement vehicle hire and stora
SMC2000 - 22-Jan-16 @ 5:16 PM
I was stopped at a traffic light as the first car in a 1 way street, level to the right of me was a taxi, Whilst waiting for the red signal to turn green a pedestrian walked between both vehicles and opened the taxis nearside door to access entry, at less than 1 second later the traffic lights changed and the open taxi door struck my rear wheel arch causing slight damage to it but caused the taxi door to bend and more severe damage, I had no idea that the rear door of the taxi was open as I was observing the traffic signal ahead of me let alone how wide it must have been opened to cause a contact with the off side rear of my vehicle, how do you feel the blame should be apportioned? Thanks, John
John - 21-Jan-16 @ 3:15 PM
I was driving into an empty space on a tesco car park. Me an the driver in front both pulled in at the same time me behind him an both parked in spaces beside one another. As I was pulling into the empty beside him he opened his car door into me and is now trying to claim I am at fault. Is it not his responsibility to ensure it is safe for him to open his door especially on a car park?
tasha - 29-Dec-15 @ 8:40 PM
pinky - Your Question:
Who's at fault? There was a van infront of me blocking the road, having road rage with another car. A friend of the man in the van parked up behind me and ran out to assist his friend leaving his car door wide open in the road. As they were fighting I got scared as I had my baby in the back of my car I reversed to move out of the way and hit his door.

Our Response:
We can't really say as we don't have all the facts but if you reversed into a door that you knew was open, then you should expect to burden some or all of th blame.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 11-Dec-15 @ 2:37 PM
Who's at fault?There was a van infront of me blocking the road, having road rage with another car. A friend of the man in the van parked up behind me and ran out to assist his friend leaving his car door wide open in the road. As they were fighting I got scared as I had my baby in the back of my car I reversed to move out of the way and hit his door.
pinky - 11-Dec-15 @ 9:31 AM
I have a question. I was I. Wreck I was going down a street that was two lanes and then turns into one. This street is vey narrow Theperson was parked on the right. I proceeded to merge in with traffic and the persons car was the only car parked on the right. I started to pass hervehicle when she opened the door in her door hit my quarter panel over the wheel causing damage. She told me it was my fault because I was in her lane. If my damage was in the front of my car I would understand but she opened her door after I started to pass meaning she never looked. Anyone out there who can help me.
Yoyo - 8-Dec-15 @ 3:30 AM
I do not drive or own a car, I was a passenger in my friends and the weather was very bad, high winds up to 70mph. I went to open her door and it blew out of my hand and smacked the car opposite. Causing a small dent. Her car was parked over the lines away from the car next as the space was free next to the driving side. But with the wind her door opened straight still causing the door to hit the other car. I took a picture and left my number spoke to the guy the next day, said its his company car and he should have it fixed for less than 100, 3weeks later he called saying the quote is over 500. Surely this isn't right, am I being taken for a mug??? What are my rights?
Saz - 2-Dec-15 @ 8:45 PM
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