Injured while operating an Electric Scooter?

Electric scooters are very popular right now, and it’s not difficult to see why. You might assume that all electric scooters are basically the same, but this isn’t actually the case. There are variations between top speeds, charge time, weight capacity, and motor wattage. People of all ages have started to enjoy the versatility of scooters. Many adults are using electric scooters to commute, and countless kids and teenagers simply use them for fun.

You may or may not be familiar with dockless (electric) scooters – also referred to as electric rental scooters, rideshare scooters, and motorized scooters – but if you aren’t, you very likely soon will be. As their popularity continues to skyrocket, dockless scooters may flood the streets of your community, just as they have with many other communities. And these scooters are no longer just a headache for major cities; many college communities and smaller towns are now being overrun with electric scooters as well.

Electric scooters are a new form of rideshare transportation. Users access the scooters through an app on their phone, which is connected to the user’s banking information. The user can use the app to “unlock” or activate the scooter. Once the scooter is unlocked, the user has full operational access to the scooter and is able to drive it wherever they want and for as long as they would like. Once the user is done with the scooter, they can simply abandon it at any location (hence the name dockless scooter). The app on the user’s phone uses GPS tracking to track the user’s ride and charge the user accordingly. The app then alerts other users of the scooter’s location, making it available for other users to activate.

Electric Scooter Lawsuit
Electric Scooter Regulations

What are Rules & Regulations for Electric Scooters?

Due to their power level and top speed, electric scooters are generally not classified as road vehicles. This classification makes it illegal to ride electric scooters on the roads of most American states.

Whether electric scooters may be used on pavements or not, depends on the different states and their respective laws. Each state has a slightly different law. Electrical scooters are like conventional bicycles – no extra regulation is required. In most of the USA, you can ride your electric scooter tension free on sidewalks.

Current California state law says that electric scooters are legal with a few restrictions:

  • You must have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit.
  • You must wear a helmet.
  • You cannot ride your electric scooter over 15 mph.
  • You cannot ride the electric scooter on the sidewalk.
  • You cannot ride on the street with a speed limit over 25 mph, unless you ride in a bike lane.
  • If you do ride in the street, you must stay on the right side and ride as close as you can to the curb, with exceptions.

What are Electric Scooter Licensing Rules?

Licensing laws generally depend on the state. In California, for example, scooter-riders need licenses but not a special vehicle registration. Most scooter-sharing startups require users to have driving licenses, and when signing up, you will be required to scan the document. This measure is needed to ensure that users are over 18 years old.

Scooter users need to ensure that their vehicles are fit for use on the streets. Small and toy-like e-scooters designed for recreational use are not fast or even safe for use on the roads. Roadworthy scooters should be powerful and sturdy enough to withstand the traffic on heavily-used roads. These scooters are fitted with various features to make them street legal including a suspension system, steering, lights, review mirrors, horn, and turn signals depending on the state.

Electric Scooter License
Electric Scooter Dangers

What are the Dangers of Electric Scooters?

There are a lot of people who have had some kind of fractures and broken bones as a result of scooter accidents. Countless people were hurt, most while riding an e-scooter, others from merely walking on sidewalks. The most common injuries are fractures, head injuries, and soft-tissue injuries. Studies state that injuries associated with electric scooter use were common, ranged in severity, and suggest low rates of adherence to existing regulations around rider age and low rates of helmet use. Most of the people who went to the ER were able to go home, but a small percentage of people actually had to be admitted to the hospital. About one percent went to the intensive care units.

These are just a few of the headlines that appeared involving scooter accidents:

  • “Head injuries make up 40% of e-scooter ER visits: Study” (ABC News)
  • “Among injured e-scooter riders, only 4% were wearing helmets” (CNN)
  • “Head injuries, fractures common in e-scooter crashes, study finds” (CBS News)
  • “Scooters: The Next Public Health Issue?” (USA Today)

What Safety Measures Can I Take to Avoid an Accident?

Go Slower Downhill

Remember that electric scooters can pick up speed quicker than you realize, especially when assisted by the pull of gravity. Please remember to use the brakes on your electric scooter liberally when going downhill.

Wear A Helmet

Wearing a helmet is one of the most proactive things you can do to protect yourself while riding an electric scooter. It is safe, stylish and collapsible.

Don’t Use Headphones

It is best to pause the music and focus on your surroundings. For the sake of everyone’s safety, leave the headphones disconnected and keep your ears tuned into more important sounds like those emanating from cars, pedestrians, and other riders.

Follow Traffic Laws

Riding an electric scooter means obeying the same traffic laws as other vehicles on the road. This includes stopping at stop signs and traffic lights and yielding to pedestrians.

Stay In Your Lane

Always use the bike lane! Google Maps has a feature that will show you designated bike trails, lanes, and other recommended streets for those traveling on two wheels.

Electric Scooter Safety Measures

What is the Scooter Accident Lawsuit?

People in Los Angeles banded together to file a class action lawsuit against scooter rental companies like Lime and Bird. They cited “products liability and gross negligence,” alleging that the dockless scooters from these companies are not safe for their intended purpose. Some of the plaintiffs were riders, others were pedestrians, but all were injured in some way by what they claim were malfunctioning scooters.

Scooter rentals may be popular throughout Southern California, but they are now facing a growing number of legal concerns, from injury claims to proposed regulations.

Can I Sue if Someone Riding a Lime Scooter Crashed into Me?

Yes, although you have to show that something that is not inherently dangerous about the activity happened and caused the accident. If you fall off the scooter and hit your head on the ground, that falls under the assumption of risk, but you can have a case if you can show that these things are malfunctioning, and unforeseeable things to the rider have happened.

Lime Scooter Accident
Steps to take after scooter accident

What Are the Steps I Should Take Following an Electric Scooter Incident?

Steps you can take after an accident include:

  • Get to a safe area, especially if you were riding in the road at the time of the accident. By staying within the road, you increase your risk of being involved in a secondary accident.
  • Check on Anyone Else Involved in the Accident. Electric scooter accidents may involve the scooter and a motor vehicle. After a crash occurs, and you have moved yourself and your scooter to a safe location, you should immediately check on anyone else involved in the accident and assess for injuries.
  • Try to move yourself and the scooter to a space that is off the road and away from passing traffic.
  • Call the Police. It is important that you report the electric scooter accident to the police. This is especially true if the accident has resulted in bodily injury to anyone involved, or if any property damage has occurred.
  • Seek Medical Care. If you don’t receive medical attention at the scene of the accident, you should visit an emergency room after filing a police report. At the very least, you should see your family doctor within 24 hours of the accident.
  • Talk to a Lawyer. You should always schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer following an accident as soon as possible. In a car, bike or pedestrian accident, you may have a pretty clear understanding of your rights, how liability works and which insurance company should handle your accident and injury claim. Because the use of electric scooters is a relatively new phenomenon, you may be less sure of what your rights are or who is liable for a crash.

Who Is Liable in an Electric Scooter Accident Lawsuit?

This depends on the circumstances around the injury and the various parties that may be considered liable.

Product liability.

Brake failures, stuck throttles, and difficult controls are some common examples of scooter defects. Product liability may apply whether a scooter is defective by design or by a single mechanical error. This could mean that the scooter rental company is responsible for the injuries and other damages arising from the defect.

Premises liability.

This legal term refers to a property owner’s responsibility to keep their premises safe for visitors. That means if you were legally riding within someone’s property – like a driveway or a parking lot – and the property was left unsafe by the owner, causing you to crash, you may have a claim against this owner.

If you feel that many other people have suffered while using scooters from the same company, you may consider consolidating your case with theirs in what is called a class action. By joining together with other plaintiffs, you can share the resources needed to pursue the case.

Scooter Accident Product Liability
Scooter Personal Injury Law

What Can I Claim for After an Electric Scooter Accident?

Personal injury from negligent rider.

If you were a pedestrian who was injured due to the irresponsible actions of a scooter rider, you may be able to claim compensation from him or her.

Claims against the government.

Certain government agencies or offices have the responsibility of keeping public spaces safe. If they fail this task, we might see poorly maintained streets and broken sidewalks, which invite accidents.

How Shamis & Gentile P.A. Can Help You with Your
Rental Scooter Accident Lawsuit

Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney at Shamis & Gentile P.A. can provide you with the information you need in order to pursue a case in court.

A personal injury attorney can help you recover damages by helping you prove fault. If fault is successfully proven, the plaintiff may be awarded monetary damages. Medical bills, losing the ability to work, permanent disfigurement, as well as other economic damages, are all very real costs of personal injury. These consequences are at times a result of someone else’s wrongdoing.  Furthermore, just because you are partially at fault doesn’t mean you lose your ability to sue.

Contact Shamis & Gentile P.A. today and speak with a Miami rental scooter accident lawsuit lawyer who can help you today.