Electric scooters are becoming a very popular method of transportation. Whether you rent an electric scooter or use your own, riding an e-scooter is a fun, convenient, and budget-friendly way to travel. But though there are plenty of benefits to e-scooters, there’s no getting around the fact that they can be dangerous. Even when e-scooter riders follow the recommended safety guidelines, they’re still at risk of getting in an accident. And when a rider or pedestrian is involved in an e-scooter accident, they can be seriously injured, since they have little to no protection in the event of a fall or collision.
E-scooter accidents are often caused by negligence and, unfortunately, they can also be caused by malicious behavior. But if you’ve been injured in an e-scooter accident due to the negligent or malicious actions or another party, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against that party and pursue compensation for your losses. Victims who are injured in an electric scooter accident can recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, and more.
If you’ve been injured in an electric scooter accident in Los Angeles, contact the personal injury attorneys at LA Lawyers Group today to receive a free case evaluation. Our scooter accident attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and the steps you should take after being injured in a scooter accident. Note that our legal services are provided on a contingency fee basis. You never have to pay legal fees until we settle or win your case.
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Scooters vs. E-Scooters
Scooters and e-scooters look similar, but work differently. Scooters are vehicles with a platform, two wheels, and no motor. To propel a traditional scooter, the rider keeps one foot on the platform, then kicks the ground with the other foot to move the scooter forward. E-scooters are motorized scooters that feature an electric motor. Riders who use e-scooters stand on the scooter’s platform and balance while a motor propels the scooter forward.
Due to how they work, traditional scooters and e-scooters are typically used differently. Non-motorized scooters are more commonly used for recreation, while electric scooters are more commonly used for transit. The motor on an e-scooter allows it to move at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour with little effort on the part of the rider, making electronic scooters an easy and convenient option for traveling longer distances. This high speed, however, also makes e-scooters more dangerous than non-motorized scooters. The speed of electric scooters increases the likelihood of more serious damage or injuries in the event of an accident.
E-scooters have been available for decades, but they’ve become much more popular in recent years due to the spread of e-scooter companies. Companies like Bird, Bold, Jump, Lime, and Lyft have made electric scooters easily available for rent. These e-scooter companies place their motorized scooters around a city and allow individuals to rent them using a smartphone app. For a low fee plus mileage, a person can rent an e-scooter they find on the street, use it to travel to their destination, and then simply leave the e-scooter outside on the street when they are done using it.
Unique Elements of a California E-Scooter Case: Regulations and User Agreements
E-Scooter Regulations in California
The prevalence of e-scooter usage is fairly new. Because of this, there’s a lack of state-wide e-scooter regulation in California, which means that e-scooter regulation is left to local governments.
Electric scooter regulations can vary widely from city to city. Some cities may have absolutely no regulations for e-scooters, while others can have regulations that are unique to their city. For example, one city may allow e-scooter riders to ride in bike lanes or in the street, while the next town over may require that e-scooter riders stay on sidewalks. Or, one city may require that e-scooter riders wear helmets, while another leaves helmet usage up to the rider’s own discretion.
The lack of state-wide e-scooter regulation can make determining liability in a California scooter accident case more complex. To determine liability in a personal injury case that involves e-scooters, you need a full understanding of the local laws and regulations that could apply to your case. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been injured in an e-scooter accident and you’re considering filing an accident claim, it’s wise to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney that has experience handling e-scooter cases in your city specifically.
E-Scooter User Agreements
Before riders rent a Lime scooter, a Bird scooter, or another company’s e-scooter, they must sign a legally binding user agreement. These user agreements can vary in content, but they generally contain components that are designed to limit the company’s liability in the event of a scooter accident. For example, Lime’s user agreement states that users agree to follow traffic laws and that users agree to perform an extensive safety inspection before they ride a Lime scooter.
User agreements are long and complex documents that can be confusing for riders. However, regardless of their confusing nature, these agreements are legally binding. If a rider breaks a provision in one of these user agreements, the scooter company could blame the rider for any damages or injuries caused by an accident.
If you rented an e-scooter and you’re considering filing a scooter injury claim, it’s wise to consult with a personal injury attorney before discussing the accident with a scooter company or an insurance company. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand the content of the user agreement you signed, how that aligns with the circumstances involved in your accident, and the steps you may want to take to protect your legal rights.
Common Injuries Caused By Scooter Accidents
Electric scooter injuries can be much more severe than many people might assume. Since motorized scooters can travel at high speeds and their riders often forgo wearing helmets, serious injuries are common in e-scooter accidents.
Two notable studies done on electric scooter accident injuries come from the Journal of the American Medical Association and the CDC. Both of these studies found that head injuries were the most common type of scooter accident injury. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that 40% of the scooter injuries observed in their study involved the head area, while the CDC found that 48% of the scooter injuries observed in their study involved fractures, abrasions, or lacerations to the head.
Head injuries are the most common type of electric scooter injury. Other common injuries in scooter accidents include neck injuries, broken bones, lacerations, blunt chest trauma, blunt abdominal trauma, and road rash.
Common Types of Scooter Accidents
Single Rider Scooter Accidents
Most e-scooter accidents are single vehicle accidents in which only the rider of the electric scooter is harmed. These types of accidents generally occur when the rider loses control of the e-scooter, which results in a scooter crash. Note, however, that the rider isn’t always responsible for losing control of an e-scooter. Electric scooter accidents can also occur due to elements that are outside of the rider’s control, such as the condition of a road or sidewalk or a defective scooter. If a scooter accident is caused by poor sidewalk or road conditions (such as potholes, cracks in the road, etc.), a government entity could be responsible for the accident if they were negligent in maintaining the road or sidewalk. If a scooter accident is caused by a defective scooter, the scooter company that provided that scooter could be responsible for the accident.
Pedestrian Trip and Fall Scooter Accidents
A surprisingly common type of scooter accident is a pedestrian trip and fall. Rented e-scooters are left on the street after the rider has finished their trip. If a scooter is left in an inconvenient place, a pedestrian may trip over the scooter and become injured.
In this type of case, a pedestrian could be entitled to compensation for their injuries depending on the unique circumstances involved. Some parties that could potentially be liable for this type of accident include:
● The e-scooter rider who left the scooter, if it was foreseeable that someone could trip and fall over the scooter ● A property owner, if the scooter was abandoned on their private party ● An e-scooter company, if they had a legal obligation to collect the scooter ● A government entity, if the city was responsible for collecting the scooter
Pedestrian and Scooter Accidents
Pedestrians and electric scooter riders often occupy the same public spaces, so many scooter accidents involve both pedestrians and scooter riders. Who is responsible in the event of a pedestrian and scooter accident depends on the specifics of the accident and the electric scooter regulations in the area in which the accident took place.
Car and Scooter Accidents
Accidents that involve both cars and scooters can cause severe injuries. While a variety of circumstances could cause a car and scooter accident, the most common type of car and scooter accident is a “dooring” accident. In this type of car accident, a person in a parked car opens their door into the path of a scooter rider. The rider may then collide with the door or they may attempt to take evasive action, causing them to move into the path of other cars. In California, “dooring” accidents (which are also a common cause of injury among bicyclists) are often determined to be the fault of the person who opens the door due to California Vehicle Code 22517.
Defective Scooter Accidents
In some more rare cases, electric scooter accidents can be caused by a defective scooter that malfunctions. For example, the company Lime has had issues with defective scooters in the past. In previous instances, Lime has had e-scooters break apart during a ride, e-scooter batteries that caught fire during operation, and e-scooters that allegedly had brake issues.
Damages Available to California Scooter Accident Victims
In California, victims who have been injured in a scooter accident may be able to collect compensatory damages for:
● Medical Bills ● Property Damage ● Lost Wages ● A Loss of Earning Capacity ● Emotional Distress ● Pain and Suffering
Contact a Los Angeles Scooter Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in a scooter or e-scooter accident in Los Angeles, contact LA Lawyers Group to receive a free case evaluation. The expert personal injury attorneys at our law firm are well-versed in the varying scooter regulations that are in place in different parts of Los Angeles, such as the regulations in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Venice, and Hollywood. Our injury attorneys can help you understand your legal rights as an accident victim and help you recover the compensation you’re legally entitled to for the losses you have suffered.
Call LA Lawyers Group today at (213)LAWYERS (529-9377) to receive your free consultation with one of our Los Angeles scooter accident lawyers.