If you or someone you love is hurt due to an electric scooter, call Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000 or contact our personal injury law firm online to learn how to file a personal injury claim in pursuit of compensation.
Just like bike shares, shareable electric scooters have become extremely popular in cities across the country. Similar to bike and car share programs such as LimeBike, ofo, Zipcar and car2go, electric scooters offer people an affordable and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.
They look like a classic razor scooter, only with a small electric motor.
Most commonly seen in Santa Monica and Los Angeles in California, these scooters are a favorite among the younger crowd. The most popular brand, Bird, just recently received a $1 billion valuation by raising $150 million in funding. The Washington Post said the scooters “might revolutionize urban transport.”
LimeBike and Spin, two bike share companies, have launched scooter programs in San Francisco. Austin and Miami also have electric scooters on their streets.
Why are Electric Scooters Dangerous?
The app-based scooters can travel up to 15 miles per hour. With little to no protection to speak of, these accidents often result in broken bones, brain injury, paralysis, and even death.
Some of the risks involved with electric scooters:
- Visibility: Scooter riders are even smaller than pedestrians and bicyclists. When they’re moving quickly, scooters are extremely difficult to account for.
- Protection: There’s no barrier between a Bird scooter rider and the elements around them. No metal cage or seatbelt to speak of. Additionally, people riding scooters rarely wear helmets.
- Road hazards: Due to their structural design, scooters are susceptible to bumps in the road and other hazards (potholes, gravel, uneven road, etc.).
- Stability: Two small wheels can spell disaster for scooter riders in the case of emergency.
- Inexperience: Because they’re fun and accessible, electric scooters draw people from all backgrounds and experience levels. No license or training is required. Just open up the app and start riding.
- High-risk behavior: Because scooter riders are often young and adventurous, they sometimes attempt maneuvers that are unsafe. This includes hard braking, which can throw the rider off.
Common Types of Electric Scooter Accidents
Even the most experienced scooter riders can experience an accident. No amount of preparation or training can ready all riders for the risks they’ll encounter on the streets.
Some of the most common types of electric scooter accidents:
- Scooter malfunction or defect: Unfortunately this type of accident is all too common with these scooters. Issues with the brakes, tires, throttle, etc. can cause a rider to lose control and crash. Because the scooters are rentals, they are often abused and suffer serious wear and tear. Mechanical defects may occur in these instances.
- Single scooter crash: Potholes, road debris, distraction, etc. can cause a scooter crash.
- Pedestrians hit by scooter riders
- Pedestrians that trip on abandoned scooters
- Scooter riders hit by motor vehicles, car doors, and backing and turning vehicles
6 Steps to Take After an Electric Scooter Accident
If you or a loved one is involved in a Bird scooter accident, stay calm. The steps to take are essentially the same as those after a car or pedestrian accident:
- Call the police: Having a documented crash report is crucial after a scooter accident. The police can determine at fault parties and issue citations, which are key to determining negligence in a possible personal injury claim.
- Take photos/videos: Evidence is key in these cases. Time-stamped photos and videos of property damage and injuries will go a long way toward helping your case.
- Get the driver’s information: If a driver is involved, get their name, phone number, address and insurance information. If possible, take a photo of their ID, insurance card and license plate. You can never have too much information.
- Gather witness information: If you’re able, talk to anyone that might have information about the accident. Get their name, phone number, address and email. Your attorney might reach out to these people for your claim.
- Seek medical attention: Establishing a record of treatment ASAP after the accident is key.
- Contact an attorney: If you have any questions about the direction of the claim, contact a personal injury attorney and set up a free consultation to discuss your case. Victims with a lawyer on average receive 3.5 times more in settlement money.
Who Pays After an Electric Scooter Accident?
Electric scooter riders are not required to carry liability insurance. This leaves victims vulnerable in the event of an accident. Riders are also not able to make a claim under their motor vehicle’s uninsured motorist coverage.
The following people/parties may pay for your injuries after a scooter accident:
- Scooter rider at fault: Pedestrians or bicyclists hit by a Bird scooter rider may pursue compensation from the scooter rider. Proving negligence in these cases is often best left to a personal injury attorney with knowledge of the laws governing scooters.
- Scooter company at fault: Whether it’s Bird, LimeBike or another company, the scooter manufacturer may be liable if the scooter malfunctions or has a defect.
- Car at fault: If a driver causes a scooter rider injury, their insurance may pay out for injuries.
- Pedestrian at fault: If a pedestrian caused a scooter rider injury, their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may coverage the cost. If they don’t have insurance, the victim will have difficulty.
- City at fault: If a pothole or various unsafe surfaces causes a scooter rider injury, the city may be at fault.
Washington State Law for Shareable Scooters
As of June 2018, shareable electric scooters are not legal on Seattle streets. According to the Seattle Department of Transportation, the city has told all scooter share companies that they can’t operate in Seattle until the city gets a permit program in place.
For now, Seattle city law bans motorized scooters from sidewalks, bike paths or bike lanes.
Need an Attorney After an Electric Scooter Accident?
If you have been injured in an accident involving a Bird electric scooter or any motorized scooter in Seattle or Washington state, you may have a case for compensation. It is highly advised that you get professional legal representation as soon as possible.
An experienced electric scooter accident attorney can handle settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure maximum compensation.
Don’t hesitate. Contact attorney Chris Davis and the legal team at Seattle-based Davis Law Group, P.S., today for a free case evaluation. There’s no fee unless we win. Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the contact form on this page.