As stand-up electric scooters have rolled into more than 100 cities, many riders are ending up in the emergency room. Along with the trend came numerous safety problems and complaints about regulatory oversight. The largest documented issue are injuries sustained while riding, with many scooter companies struggling to promote safety without compromising the convenience of hopping on a scooter.
A recent study by the University of California Los Angeles found that falls, collisions with riders and being struck by a moving vehicle or object were the most common injuries scooter riders suffered. More than 40% of those seeking medical care had a bone fracture and almost 32% suffered some form of head trauma. Only 4.4% of the individuals injured were wearing a helmet. With electric scooter rentals surpassing that of bicycles and new scooter companies continuing to pop up in cities across the country, the number of injuries is likely to rise.
Recently, six different companies placed electric scooters in Miami’s downtown, Coconut Grove, Wynwood and Edgewater neighborhoods. The scooters are also popular in Fort Lauderdale where over 40,000 trips were recorded last November. The City of Miami currently does not require electric scooter riders to wear helmets.
Many questions are still left unanswered as to who is responsible during accidents in this new legal landscape. Who will pay for the scooter driver’s mistakes when the driver injures someone or hits a pedestrian? Who is at fault if the rider is injured while appropriately riding the electric scooter?
These questions become increasingly complex as electric scooter companies attempt to remove themselves from any liability for an accident by forcing the user to sign a digital agreement through their application. The agreement essentially states that the company is not liable for any accidents and the rider agrees to ride at their own risk and gives up any legal rights. What this means is that there is no insurance available to cover your damages if you suffer injuries in an accident and the rider is at fault. However, if you were injured in an electric scooter accident, and the company is responsible for your injuries, you may be able to seek damages from the company’s insurer.
The Soffer Firm wants you to be safe, regardless of who’s responsible. Although adults are not required to wear a helmet when operating a motorized scooter, you should nevertheless, wear one, and abide my all rules clearly stated in the user agreement at the start of each ride. If injured, what you can claim depends on the nature of the accident, your total damages, and who is responsible for your injuries. A lawyer can help you determine your legal options, and the next steps to receive compensation.