As Popularity of Sharable Scooters Increases, So Do Injuries
Sharable electric scooters are the latest rage in major cities across Florida and the country. These sleek motorized scooters work in many ways like the rideshare services which have become such an ingrained part of America’s transportation industry. Similar to rideshare services, scooter users can download and use a smart phone app to find available scooters nearby, scan and unlock them, and ride them for as long as they please. Admittedly, electric scooters can be a fun, affordable, and convenient way to get around town – but their rise in popularity has also brought an increase in injuries and new types of accident risks to our roads.
As extensive media coverage has noted, many cities across the U.S. are reporting increases in problems involving electric scooters. Hospitals and emergency room departments have also reported significant surges in scooter-related injuries, which commonly include lacerations and road rash, ankle and knee injuries, broken bones and fractures, and brain injuries. There have also been several reported fatal accidents involving scooter riders and motor vehicles.
While some cities have taken to banning electric scooters entirely, others are struggling to find ways and laws to better regulate their use and their impact on public safety. For the time being, and even following any meaningful regulatory changes, sharable electric scooters are still and likely will continue to be considered motor vehicles by law. Additionally, the companies behind the scooters (including Bird, Lime, and other startups), riders, and all those with whom they share the road still have legal obligations when it comes to their conduct and avoiding the negligent and wrongful acts that can lead to preventable accidents.
Types of Scooter Accidents
Accidents involving electric scooters can involve a number of different situations, including:
- Auto accidents and wrecks involving commercial vehicles
- Distracted drivers and DUI accidents
- Failures to yield, unsafe lane changes, and other traffic violations
- Pedestrians or bicyclists injured by scooter riders
- Defective products / scooter malfunction
- Roadway defects and hazards that cause scooter riders to fall
- Trip and fall accidents caused by abandoned / unattended scooters
- Improperly maintained or service scooters
While scooter accidents can be caused by the mistakes or inexperience of riders who cause their own injuries, others may result from the negligence of others. In these situations, even when victims are not riders themselves, there may be the potential for victims to recover financial compensation for their losses. A few examples of parties that may be held liable in these accidents include:
- Negligent drivers – Negligent drivers can be held accountable for causing preventable accidents, particularly when they strike motorists as a result of driving distracted, driving under the influence, or violating other traffic laws requiring them to safely share the road.
- Scooter companies – Scooter companies have an obligation to ensure their products are safe for consumers, and to regularly keep scooters in proper working order. Poorly maintained and defective scooters that lead to accidents can be grounds for a product liability claim against the company.
- Negligent riders – Electric rental scooters can travel at speeds up to 15 mph, which makes them a danger to others on public roadways. When negligent riders cause injuries to bicyclists or pedestrians or commit violations that cause motorists to swerve and be involved in injury-causing collisions, they can potentially be held liable for damages.
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Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin is an award-winning personal injury and civil trial law firm in West Palm Beach. Over the years, our talented team of trial lawyers has proven an ability to apply our knowledge and legal skills to even the toughest of cases, and help victims and families secure over a billion dollars in compensation for their losses. If you have recently been injured in an accident involving an electric scooter – either as a rider or any other party – our team is available to help evaluate your potential case, discuss your rights and options, and explain how we can guide you through the personal injury claim process.
To request a free case evaluation with a member of our team, contact us today. Clark Fountain is proud to serve victims and families across Florida and beyond.