Electric scooters and bicycles may look like a lot of fun: At least, from a safe distance. According to the latest data from Consumer Reports, more than 1,500 electric scooter accidents have occurred over the last year alone. Given that about 6,000 pedestrian accidents happen every year, this number is alarmingly high – not to mention that electric scooters only began to arrive in select cities during the summer of 2018. It’s little wonder that doctors across the country have been calling for the CDC to investigate. As if the high rate of injuries weren’t enough, electric scooters are also posing a serious problem for our legal system. Because the vehicle sharing services responsible for these scooters deny all legal liability, it can be challenging to seek financial recovery after an accident. At Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A., we’re committed to helping scooter injury victims get the compensation they need. In this post, we’ll discuss how you may be able to prove liability in an electric scooter accident.
How Can I Prove Liability for My Scooter Injuries?
Unlike most vehicles, electric scooters are directly managed by sharing services like Bird and Lime, which use technology, convenience, and environmental benefits to lure in riders who are tired of traffic. Much like electric bicycles before them, these “micro-vehicles” are rented out by the minute, allowing denizens of crowded cities to pick them up at their starting point and then easily drop them off at their destination once the ride is over. Due to this kind of nontraditional mobility model, it’s not always easy to pinpoint responsibility for an electric scooter accident. Bird, Lime, Spin, and other scooter companies explicitly state on their websites that they are not responsible for any rider injuries, nor for pedestrian injuries that were caused by careless riders. But as more people suffer from catastrophic and even deadly injuries, victims are turning to the civil justice system to hold these companies accountable. Here are the three major ways to prove liability in an electric scooter case:
- Showing that maintenance was lax. In stark contrast to many car rental services, there’s virtually no oversight over the fleets of Bird and Lime scooters that are scattered across American cities. Although the scooter companies may employ people to seek these vehicles out each night and recharge them, they are not necessarily checking for key maintenance issues, such as damaged tires or failing brakes. And because it’s difficult to track the movements of an individual scooter, it’s also difficult to enforce care and maintenance standards for these vehicles, putting future users at risk.
- Arguing that the company failed to provide safety equipment. Helmets are the only real protection against traumatic brain injuries and catastrophic head wounds, and yet none of the electric scooter sharing companies include helmets with their vehicles. Bird and Lime have safety guidelines that reminder riders to wear helmets, but since most individuals don’t carry these devices around with them, the vast majority of riders are unprotected from brain damage.
- Demonstrating that there was a “failure to warn” riders. These electric scooters are advertised to everyone, and there are no particular skill or age requirements you need to meet. In reality, however, the scooters can be very tough to maneuver, requiring a thorough understanding of how your body weight will affect movement at high speeds. Much like ATV and Jet Ski rentals, these vehicles do require some level of ability to use safely — and yet the companies do not account for this fact.
Identifying Additional Defendants
Of course, scooter companies are not the only parties that may be involved in a complex injury claim. From private business owners to car drivers, there could be any number of potential defendants who failed to observe a duty of care towards you as a scooter rider. For example, if your local municipality did not properly mark the bike lanes or maintain an even road surface, you may be able to hold them accountable for serious electric scooter injuries. Some of the other parties involved in a scooter accident can include:
- Local governments
- The city council
- Construction crews
- Private business owners
- Vehicle drivers
- Previous scooter riders
- Residential home owners
Helping Toledo Residents Recover After Accidents
No matter who was responsible for your scooter accident, you can count on Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. to get to the bottom of the incident. Electric scooter cases are complex, but we have the skill and the experience necessary to litigate your case. In fact, our team has over 100 years of combined experience, and with millions recovered for our clients, you can trust that we’ll offer the decisive clarity and rigorous advocacy you need. Contact us at (419) 318-0772 to get started on your Toledo injury claim today.