Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chicago Police Officer Doors Bicyclist Near Little Italy

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have been retained to represent a Chicago bicyclist who sustained multiple serious injuries after being "doored" by a Chicago Police Officer. The bike accident occurred on November 1, 2012 in the Illinois Medical District on the very edge of Little Italy.  The female bicyclist was traveling eastbound on Taylor Street in the designated bike lane when a Chicago Police Officer suddenly opened the driver's side door of his vehicle directly into the path of the bicyclist.

The bicyclist was then struck with the door of the police vehicle and was thrown to the pavement headfirst. As a result of the dooring, the bicyclist was transported via ambulance to a local emergency room. Among other injuries, the bicyclist sustained a spinal injury at C-3 of her vertebrae, a concussion, and a severe laceration to her head that required stitches.

In suddenly opening the police vehicle's door into the path of the designated bike lane, the police officer violated Section 9-80-035 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. Section 9-80-035 states:
"No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers."
Thus, we allege that the police officer is responsible for causing the crash. It should be pointed out that Section 2-202  of the Tort Immunity Act insulates police officers from liability for acts "in the execution or enforcement of any law."  However, Illinois courts have consistently held that the Tort Immunity Act does not protect police officers from liability for accidents which occur during routine patrol. Therefore, the police officer is most likely not protected by the Tort Immunity Act because he was not responding to an emergency at the time he doored the bicyclist.

The Tort Immunity Act often creates a difficult barrier in asserting a claim against public employees. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have successfully resolved dozens of cases in which a public employee has attempted to assert the Tort Immunity Act as a defense. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com . All initial consultations are confidential and free.