In urban areas across California and other states, electric scooters, or e-scooters, have become a popular mode of transportation. Scooter companies like Bird, Lime, and Spin have made it easier than ever to hop on a scooter and get from point A to point B. With this convenience comes a new set of dangers on our roadways. Whether you're a scooter rider or a pedestrian, understanding your rights and options after an e-scooter accident is important.
Common Causes of E-Scooter Accidents
E-scooter accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:
What To Do After an E-Scooter Accident
After a scooter accident, you should:
- Seek immediate medical attention for any accident injuries
- Report the accident to the scooter-sharing company
- Take photos, write down what happened, and gather witness contact information
- Contact an experienced electric scooter accident attorney
Injuries and Medical Expenses
The consequences of a motorized scooter accident can range from minor scrapes to serious injuries. These include broken bones, lacerations, head injuries, and even traumatic brain injuries. Medical expenses can add up quickly for injury victims, from initial emergency care to ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.
Experiencing an e-scooter crash can have significant financial repercussions due to medical bills. However, you don't have to shoulder this burden alone. If you were not at fault, you could recover these costs.
First, determine who was at fault. If a motor vehicle driver, another e-scooter rider, or a pedestrian caused your accident, you might have a personal injury case against them. If a scooter malfunction causes your accident, the scooter company might be liable.
In any case, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial. They can help identify the responsible party, gather necessary evidence, and guide you through the legal process.
If your case is successful, a personal injury claim can cover:
- Medical Expenses: This includes costs of ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any future medical costs related to the accident.
- Lost Wages: If your injuries caused you to miss work, a personal injury claim could recover those lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering: Courts can also award damages for physical discomfort and emotional distress.
- Property Damage: If your personal belongings were damaged, such as a smartphone or headphones, you might receive compensation for these too.
Remember, every case is unique. The amount you might recover depends on the details of your situation. Keep all documents related to your medical treatment and expenses. These will be vital evidence for your claim.
When Pedestrians Are Involved: What You Need To Know
For pedestrians struck by e-scooter riders, understand that you also have rights. Scooter riders have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely. If they fail to do so and cause a scooter injury, they can be held liable.
In many accident cases, pedestrians may bear the brunt of the damage, with injuries ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious conditions like broken bones or concussions. In the aftermath of such scooter crashes, accident victims often face not only physical pain and recovery but also the financial burden of medical bills and potentially lost wages.
In such scenarios, filing a scooter accident claim can be an important step to take. By doing so, you seek to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. These claims can cover damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Loss of earnings
- Non-economic damages like pain and suffering
Remember, time is of the essence after an accident. In most places, there is a statute of limitations that governs how long you have to take legal action. In California, for example, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Insurance Issues After an E-Scooter Accident
In the aftermath of a scooter accident, understanding which insurance policies may apply can be complicated. Many motor vehicle insurance policies do not cover e-scooters. Scooter rental companies may offer some coverage, but it's often limited.
Let's break it down. Most of the time, if you're driving a car and you get into an accident, your car insurance can help cover the costs. With electric scooters, it's different. A lot of the insurance plans that cover cars don't cover e-scooters, so if you were hoping that your car insurance would help out after an e-scooter accident, you might be out of luck.
There's insurance from scooter rental companies like Bird or Lime, which you might think would help cover the costs of the accident. However, their insurance often only covers a small part of the costs and kicks in under very specific conditions.
What's more, some e-scooter riders might think their homeowner's or renter's insurance would cover an accident, but these policies often do not cover accidents that happen when you're on a motorized scooter.
This all may sound scary, but there are still options out there. In the event of an electric scooter accident, several insurance options could come into play depending on the specifics of the accident:
- Auto Insurance: Auto insurance may cover accidents involving electric scooters if the scooter rider is hit by a car. However, not all auto insurance policies cover these types of accidents, especially if the scooter rider is at fault.
- Health Insurance: If you've sustained injuries from an e-scooter accident, your health insurance should help cover the costs of medical treatment. However, this does not address other losses, like property damage or lost wages due to time off work.
- Umbrella Insurance: An umbrella policy is designed to provide an additional layer of liability coverage above and beyond the limits of your homeowners, auto, and boat insurance policies. It may cover certain liabilities that those policies may not, potentially including electric scooter accidents.
- Insurance from Scooter Rental Companies: Companies like Bird, Lime, Lyft, and Spin may provide some liability insurance coverage, but it is often limited and might not cover all costs associated with an accident. Additionally, riders may have to opt into this coverage.
If you're hurt in a scooter accident, talking to a personal injury attorney can be a good first step. They can help you understand your options. They might be able to help you get money to cover your medical bills and any other costs from the accident.
Remember, every case is unique. What worked for someone else might not work for you. That's why talking to a lawyer who knows about your specific situation can be helpful.
Why You Need a Scooter Accident Attorney
Whether you've suffered personal injuries in an e-scooter accident or you're dealing with property damage and medical bills after being hit by a scooter operator, a scooter accident lawyer can help you. An experienced personal injury attorney understands personal injury law and can work with insurance companies, other responsible parties, and handle wrongful death claims if you've tragically lost a loved one in a scooter accident.