Accident between Cyclist and Taxi Passenger

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Accident between Cyclist and Taxi Passenger

A Taxi passenger, opens right side back door to get out and hits a passing cyclist. Cyclist was in a bike lane. Who is at fault? Who is responsible for damages? Which and who’s insurance covers damages to biker, and maybe taxi passenger if injured. If passenger was at fault for not looking, would the taxi insurance cover the passenger of the taxi? Does the passenger get involved at all? Would this be a dispute solely involving the taxi and cyclist?

Asked on August 20, 2016 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Why would it involve the taxi at all, unless the taxi had parked/stopped someplace it should not have, and that caused the problem, like stopping/parking in a bike lane?
Otherwise, the taxi driver would not have been at fault in causing the accident, so is not liable and his insurance not involved. 
The passenger could be liable if he was at fault: e.g. did not look before opening the door. However, if they cyclist was instead at fault--riding too fast, so he couldn't stop or avoid the door; coming around a parked car or blind curve without looking; riding somewhere he shouldn't--then the passenger is not liable but the rider may be. Liability depends on fault, which in a case like this, generally means negligence, or being unreasonably careless.
So if the passenger is injured but was at fault, no one is liable to pay for him. If the passeneger were injured and the rider at fault, the passenger could sue the rider. If the rider were injured and was at fault, he does not get compensation. If the rider were injured and the passenger was at fault, the rider could sue the passenger, not the taxi.


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