If you live in a major city, you’re likely familiar with motorized scooters. The number of e-scooters on the road has grown exponentially in the last few years due in part to the growth of certain scooter rental companies, like Bird and Lime.
While electric scooters offer a fantastic way to travel and commute, riders also face numerous dangers.
When you get hurt on an e-scooter, and it’s another party’s fault, you may have a valid claim for compensation. A personal injury attorney can review the specifics of your accident and provide quality guidance and representation to get you the most favorable case result.
What Is an E-Scooter?
An electric scooter, called an e-scooter for short, is a stand-up scooter. A chargeable motor powers it and features two wheels connected by a platform for the rider to stand and handlebars for steering and balance. They travel at various speeds, with most scooters having the capacity to travel at max speeds of 15-25 miles per hour.
Owning vs. Renting Scooters
Electric scooters have increased in popularity, especially in populated cities. Instead of traveling by foot, many individuals prefer riding scooters to get to their destinations that much faster.
While you can purchase your own scooter, several rental companies exist in cities all over the U.S. Through these scooter rental apps, it’s easier than ever to access a scooter all over your city.
Scooters are typically scattered throughout the larger areas of cities. When you find a scooter that’s not in use, all you need to do is go through the scooter company’s app to validate and pay for your rental, and you’re free to go.
You can take your scooter to your destination and leave it on any corner, so long as it doesn’t interfere with traffic. Your account will then be charged either for miles traveled or rental time, depending on the company.
Easy access to scooters is a positive for many, but it can also have a downside. More electric scooters on the roads means more chances for accidents and devastating injuries.
What Makes E-Scooters so Hazardous?
While e-scooters don’t travel at excessively high speeds, they are still dangerous for several reasons.
First and foremost, the wheels on e-scooters are small, and the scooter itself is thin, making it particularly unstable. It’s easy for riders to lose control or balance, fall off, and suffer injuries. Because electric scooters are small and electric, they’re also quiet. Drivers and pedestrians may not notice a scooter until it’s too late.
Additionally, riders don’t wear helmets or protective gear while riding scooters, so in an accident may cause more severe injuries.
Despite the benefits to riding electric scooters, the dangers are a significant disadvantage worth considering.
Do E-Scooter Laws Exist?
E-scooters are still relatively new, so there are not many overarching laws associated with their use. However, some states have created their own motorized scooter laws to promote safety.
For example, in Florida, a person must be at least 16 years old to operate an electric scooter. In addition, only one person is allowed on a scooter at once, and there are no licensing requirements to operate an e-scooter.
While there aren’t any federal e-scooter laws, it’s still wise to research any local laws that may impact your riding experience.
Why Do E-Scooter Accidents Happen?
Unfortunately, riders often face the blame for electric scooter accidents. It’s easy to point the finger and blame an inexperienced or reckless scooter driver, but that’s not always the case. In many situations, another party causes a collision with an e-scooter rider.
E-scooter accidents often happen because of negligent drivers.
Dangerous driving behaviors can result in collisions, including:
- Distracted driving
- Running stop signs and red lights
- Failure to yield
- Opening their car door without looking
- Unsafe lane changes
- Driving under the influence
Other situations can significantly contribute to an e-scooter collision, including:
- Lack of scooter maintenance
- Dangerous road conditions
- Defective or malfunctioning scooter or scooter parts
- Hazardous road construction sites
Figuring out the cause of your e-scooter accident is one of the first steps in your journey toward compensation. Once you know what caused your collision, fault becomes clearer.
Who Can You Hold Liable for an E-Scooter Accident?
You can hold several parties financially liable for your electric scooter crash based on the details of your incident. One party alone may be at fault, or multiple parties may share responsibility.
The Scooter Rental Company
The scooter rental company you rented your scooter from can be liable if you suffer injuries. These rental companies owe their users a duty of care to provide safe scooters in good working order. When they fail to do so, they can face liability.
A motorist can be at fault for your accident if their negligent or intentional actions caused you harm. If a driver engages in dangerous driving behaviors like speeding, aggressive driving, or distracted driving and causes you harm, you can hold them accountable for their wrongdoing.
Certain governmental entities can play a role in your e-scooter collision. For example, if the street or sidewalk is improperly maintained and you lose your balance or you’re hit by a city bus, you can hold the appropriate governmental agency accountable for their negligence.
Designer, Manufacturer, or Distributor
Product defects and malfunctions can cause you to lose control of your e-scooter, leading to an accident. Depending on the issue with the scooter, you might hold the product’s designer, manufacturer, or distributor responsible.
Construction is constantly happening, especially in busy cities. Companies must keep certain areas safe for others, which includes putting up appropriate signs to notify others and keep them free from harm.
You might blame a pedestrian for your electric scooter accident, sometimes for negligence, sometimes because of intentional actions.
What Types of Damages Can I Claim in an E-Scooter Crash?
The damages you deserve depend on the losses you experience after your e-scooter crash. Damages provide compensation for the economic and non-economic impacts of your accident.
In your compensation claim, you pursue financial recovery for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Income loss
- Pain and suffering
If the party responsible for your accident acted in an intentional, reckless, or malicious way, you can also potentially seek punitive damages. Instead of compensating you for your losses, these damages serve as punishment for the defendant’s wrongful actions.
To accurately evaluate your claim, an attorney can carefully review several factors that directly impact your damages, including the severity of your injuries, the total cost of your medical expenses, and the impact your accident has and will have on your life.
When another party causes you harm, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden alone. Obtaining a fair settlement can help make you whole once again.
Can I Pursue Compensation Through Insurance for an E-Scooter Accident?
Generally, you can pursue financial recovery through insurance if the responsible party is insured.
For example, if an insured motorist causes your e-scooter collision, you can file a third-party collision claim under their auto insurance. After filing your claim, the insurance company will investigate the accident and either approve or deny your claim. If approved, they’ll make you a settlement offer.
In a perfect world, you will get the compensation you deserve through an insurance claim, and that will be the end. However, insurance companies are known to be difficult and regularly put up a fight to limit their liability and avoid paying you what your claim is worth.
If your claim gets denied or the insurance company refuses to settle your claim for the value of your damages, you can continue your pursuit for compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
By filing a lawsuit, you’re getting the courts involved in your battle. This often encourages a settlement, as most personal injury cases settle before trial.
A personal injury lawyer can navigate your claim and determine the best way to pursue compensation on your behalf.
E-Scooter Accidents – What To Do
Experiencing an e-scooter crash can be shocking and traumatizing. Nonetheless, keep as calm as possible, prioritize your physical well-being, and protect your rights.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The first and most crucial step after an e-scooter crash is to prioritize your health. Even if injuries seem minor initially, some may manifest later. Visit a healthcare professional promptly for a thorough examination and necessary treatment. Documenting injuries is crucial for both your health and any potential legal claim.
Report the Incident
Notify the appropriate authorities or property owners about the accident. If the crash occurred on public property, report it to the local police. If on private property, inform the property owner or management. This documentation can serve as crucial evidence later.
Preserve any evidence related to the accident. This includes photographs of the crash scene, your injuries, and any property damage. Obtain witnesses’ contact information. This evidence can build a strong case.
Do Not Admit Fault
Avoid making any statements that may be construed as admitting fault, even if you believe you may have contributed to the accident. Admissions can complicate your ability to seek compensation later.
Contact an Accident Lawyer
Always consult an experienced accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can provide essential guidance on how to proceed and protect your rights. An attorney will assess the circumstances of the crash, determine liability, and advise on the best course of action.
Keep records of all medical treatment, expenses, and any correspondence related to the accident. This includes bills, receipts, doctor’s notes, and insurance communications. This documentation will establish damages in your legal claim.
Do Not Speak With Insurance Adjusters Alone
If the e-scooter company or any insurance adjusters contact you, avoid providing statements without legal representation. They want to minimize liability, which could hinder your ability to receive fair compensation.
Understand Your Rights
An accident lawyer will ensure you understand your rights and options. They will advise you on potential avenues for seeking compensation, such as pursuing a personal injury claim against a negligent party or exploring insurance coverage.
Prioritize your health by seeking immediate medical attention and diligently documenting the incident.
Consulting an experienced accident lawyer is equally vital. They will navigate the legal complexities, safeguard your rights, and advocate for fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Remember, time is of the essence in these cases, so do not delay in seeking the assistance you need to navigate this challenging situation.
Some E-Scooter Collisions are Unavoidable – After Your Accident, Consult with an Experienced Attorney
When you’re a frequent e-scooter user, the danger of suffering injuries in an accident is ever-present. If you suffered an injury in a collision due to a negligent party, don’t wait to get legal help.
Get a consultation with a local personal injury lawyer right away and start on the path toward fair compensation right away.