E-scooters are becoming increasingly common in cities throughout the United States. However, as with any motor-operated mode of transportation, e-scooters can be dangerous and result in serious injuries. Most e-scooter accidents are a result of the rider’s negligence. If you’ve been injured in an e-scooter accident, you may be eligible for compensatory damages that include medical bills, property loss, emotional distress, and lost wages. Here we discuss what e-scooters are, the liability and agreements related to riding e-scooters, common types of scooter injuries and accidents, and what to do if you’ve been hurt as a result of an e-scooter accident.
What are scooters and e-scooters?
Scooters and e-scooters are two different types of vehicles. A scooter is a device that has two wheels and a flat bottom where someone stands on and propels forward using their foot to gain momentum. An e-scooter, which is the type of scooter we refer to in this article, is a vehicle with a similar shape and purpose of a scooter but is propelled by an electric motor. E-scooters can move at up to 15 miles per hour and come with a much higher potential of accidents and injuries compared to the traditional scooter.
E-scooters have become very common, especially in larger cities such as Miami and Tampa. There are several different e-scooter brands you can find in these cities, with the most popular scooter rental brands being:
Companies that make e-scooters you can rent on the street are called electric scooter sharing rental companies. These scooters are easy to use and simply require the user to download the company’s app and scan the barcode on the scooter. Once the barcode is scanned, the e-scooter is unlocked and ready to ride. These types of scooters are considered “dockless” because users don’t rent or return them from docks, but rather from the last place they were left by the most recent rider.
Many dockless scooter companies rely on employees or paid volunteers to collect the scooters and return them to a station where they are charged overnight. This makes it easier than ever for riders to rent scooters without the hassle of having to return them to be charged. This method of transportation is considered to be more eco-friendly than driving or using another vehicle that requires gas.1
The regulation and rules surrounding the use of e-scooters vary from city to city. In Florida, motorized scooters such as those created by Lyft and Uber are not street legal. This means that these scooters cannot be ridden on the street where cars and other motor vehicles drive. Each county or municipality has the ability to enact control, permits, and regulations regarding the operation of motorized scooters; however, all motorized scooters allowed are restricted to a maximum speed of 15 mph.
Other regulations related to the use of e-scooters include:
- Individuals do not have to have a driver’s license to operate motorized scooters in Florida.
- E-scooters cannot have seats or a saddle.
- Riders must be at least 16 years of age.
There are several additional regulations that vary depending on the city.
Scooter user liability and agreements
In addition to city-based regulations related to operating e-scooters, there are also user liability and agreements set forth by the e-scooter company. The regulations and liabilities vary from company to company, but many companies enforce agreements very similar to the following:
- Scooter riders must follow traffic laws according to the location where the scooter is being ridden
- Scooter riders must be competent to operate an e-scooter
- Scooter riders must be physically fit enough to operate and ride an e-scooter
- Scooter riders must assess the scooter and ensure it’s safe to ride before riding it
These regulations and liabilities are put in place to prevent the e-scooter company from being held liable in the event of an accident. Breaking even one of these provisions can discount a rider’s ability to hold to scooter company accountable for an accident. However, there are several situations in which the scooter company can be blamed for an accident. These situations will vary based on the city and the company.
The most common types of scooter accidents
The following are a few of the most common types of e-scooter accidents seen:
- The e-scooter rider loses control of the device and a crash occurs. Losing control of the e-scooter is not always the rider’s fault. For example, cracked asphalt, potholes, or bumps in the road can result in a loss of control. In this event, the municipality where the scooter crash occurs may be held liable for the accident.
- An e-scooter rider collides with a pedestrian. Again, this is not always the e-scooter rider’s fault. For example, if a pedestrian crosses the road and doesn’t see an oncoming e-scooter and a collision occurs, the pedestrian may be held liable for the accident because they didn’t see the e-scooter.
- An e-scooter rider collides with a car. While rare, collisions between cars and e-scooters do occur. The most common type of accident seen in this case is when a car driver opens their car door and an e-scooter ride collides with the door. In this instance, the car driver may be held liable because they did not check first to ensure there was no oncoming traffic or pedestrians before opening their door.
- A defective e-scooter results in an accident. In these events, the e-scooter company will likely be held liable for an accident.
- A pedestrian trips over an e-scooter. Pedestrians may be able to seek compensation from an e-scooter company or another party if they trip over an e-scooter. There are several regulations that surround this scenario, so it’s important to be aware of the rules in your area if you are a pedestrian and have been injured from tripping over a scooter on the street or sidewalk.
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The most common types of scooter injuries
Injuries incurred from an e-scooter accidents will vary depending on the severity of the accident and how the accident happened. The following are the most common types of injuries seen as a direct result of an e-scooter collision:
- Head injuries, including lacerations, fractures, and abrasions
- Skull fractures
- Bone fractures
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
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Potential compensatory damages after an electric scooter accident
There are a few different types of compensatory damages that an e-scooter accident victim may be able to seek. The most common types of damages sought include:
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Property damage or loss
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
The exact damages you can seek following a rental scooter accident is highly dependent on the cause of the accident, the company that the e-scooter belongs to, and the at-fault party.
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What to do if you’ve been injured in a scooter accident
If you or a loved one have been injured in an e-scooter accident, it’s important to reach out to a trusted personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at the law firm of Florin|Roebig are dedicated to helping our clients get the compensation they need and deserve following road-related accidents. We will help you recover any financial compensation available to you for the losses you have suffered as a result of an e-scooter collision. Give us a call today for a free consultation.