Dockless electric scooters have exploded in popularity in the past two years, with more and more of these app-based devices appearing for rent on city streets across the U.S. They are touted as eco-friendly transportation options that are convenient and fun to ride for tourists, students, and commuters alike.
With the scooters’ soaring popularity, a noticeable increase in accidents involving these vehicles has occurred, with catastrophic and sometimes fatal consequences. New safety and legal questions have been raised regarding dockless electric scooters.
What Are Electric Scooters?
Electric scooters are motorized scooters that do not require a dock to charge. Instead, the companies pick the scooters up and charge them, usually overnight, and then deploy them on sidewalks across the city for riders to rent. Using a mobile app, riders pay a fee to begin individual trips, plus a small per-minute charge.
Some of the biggest and most notable scooter rental companies are Bird and Lime. Others include Skip, Spin, and Scoot. Major players in the rideshare industry, Uber and Lyft, have also launched dockless scooter rentals.
Causes of Electric Scooter Accidents
Electric scooter accidents can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of them include:
- Low visibility
- Slippery or wet roads
- Potholes, cracks, etc.
- Malfunctioning scooter brakes
- Driver or rider negligence
Electric Scooter Accident Statistics
Scooters help alleviate issues common to major cities like traffic and pollution. However, the ubiquity of electric scooters has led to drastic, unintended consequences, such as:
- The accident rate around the country is potentially over 1,000 injuries a month, with fatalities on the rise.
- Bird vocally supported a California law loosening helmet requirements for electric scooters.
- Hundreds of scooters are “repaired” nightly by mechanics with no professional experience requirements.
Types of Scooter Accident Injuries
Electric scooter accidents can result in injuries ranging from mild to catastrophic. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Trauma to the head and face
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Abrasions and cuts
Unfortunately, the first deaths were reported in Dallas, Washington D.C., and Cleveland in 2018. In 2019, there has already been an electric-scooter-related death reported in Austin, Texas.
Who Is Liable When an Electric Scooter Crashes?
The major electric scooter companies’ user agreements require riders to waive away “class-action” lawsuits. Instead, users are forced to undergo arbitration outside of a formal court process.
However, states and courts differ on recognizing these user agreements. Several class-action lawsuits have been filed by people injured from faulty scooters or by reckless riders. The lawsuits’ purpose is to hold companies accountable for gross negligence and endangering others.
However, the majority of electric scooter crash litigation is between the drivers, riders, and pedestrians who may be at fault for the accident. Negotiations are the first step in seeking compensation, but litigation may be required if the individual’s insurer refuses to offer fair compensation.
How Can Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. Help Me?
If you’ve been injured in an electric scooter accident, the Virginia Beach personal injury lawyers at Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. are prepared to fight for the compensation you are owed.
Call us or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our team members today.