In a Sea of E-Scooters Liability Issues May Be Murky

Bicycle Accident Lawyer Indianapolis, IN

In the spring of 2018, the e-scooter phenomenon caught the attention of injury attorneys in cities where the devices were deployed in mass.  Though still in their infancy, accidents involving scooters are mounting. First responders from a California fire station claimed 38 injuries had occurred in their jurisdiction by the end of a single month.

The damages suffered by e-scooter drivers are similar to those a bike accident lawyer would see from clients involved in bicycle or motorcycle accidents. Doctors, alarmed by the increased number of injuries in emergency rooms, have started tracking scooter-related intakes and are reporting a spike in lacerations, fractures, concussions, blunt force head trauma, brain injuries and death.

It has been my experience as a bike accident lawyer that cyclists, pedestrians and scooter operators often bear the brunt of the most serious injuries because of their bodily exposure to obstacles. Because research has shown that the risk of injury while riding in a restricted bicycle lane is reduced by as much as 99%, cyclists and E-vehicle operators should be encouraged to confine their riding to dedicated bike lanes.

As of yet, there are no statistics referencing scooter-related accidents and injuries. We are, at the very least, a year out before reasonable conclusions can be drawn from hard data. But below are a few examples of situations that have occurred while operating an electric scooter:

  • A child darted out on a path in front of an e-scooter; the driver suffered from two broken arm bones that required a plate and screws.
  • An e-scooter operator inadvertently drove into the path of an oncoming car. He was taken to the hospital and charged with driving under the influence; several days later he passed away after a lung collapse.
  • A number of accidents have involved faulty brakes.
  • A Utah ER claimed most patients reported they were injured when trying to right themselves in a fall.
  • Uneven pavement has been responsible for severe injuries of riders.
  • Electric scooter mechanics and chargers have been injured while test driving scooters on public streets.
  • Inexperience and the disregard of laws has contributed significantly to injuries.
  • Head and spine injuries would be reduced by wearing helmets.

Whether you ride a scooter or drive an SUV, the laws are in place to protect people who are injured by another person’s negligence. Although one jurisdiction is considering holding rental companies responsible for drivers that disobey laws, most municipalities need to address the issues surrounding liability. For example, in California, a pedestrian was knocked to the ground and rendered unconscious when she was hit by an e-scooter driver. According to witnesses, the driver shouted “My bad” before fleeing the scene. How do you hold a person responsible for your injuries, medical bills and lost wages, when the defendant makes their getaway before information can be exchanged? Common sense would dictate the responsible e-scooter driver would have stayed at the scene until the police arrived. What next? Toddlers commandeering their e-tricycles on the avenue?

If you have been involved in an accident caused by the driver of an electric scooter, or were injured while you were operating an electric scooter, 1) note any identifying information about the scooter or vehicle responsible for your injuries; 2) obtain the contact information of the driver as well as anyone who may have witnessed the accident; and 3) call the police; 4) visit a physician as soon as possible for treatment of your injuries; and 5) contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer Indianapolis, IN trusts at Ward & Ward Law Firm before you discuss the accident with your insurance specialist.