Along with motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, we now share the roads, streets, and sidewalks with electric scooters, which are the latest means of transportation to hit the streets of major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and others across the country.
Proponents say that electric scooters (also referred to as e-scooters) are better for the environment, easy to operate, extremely convenient, and can ease traffic congestion. But, with so many e-scooters on the streets of some cities in California, legal issues are arising with their use.
The History of Electric Scooters in California
The e-scooter phenomenon in California got its start in September 2017, when a company called Bird began placing e-scooters on the streets and sidewalks of Santa Monica. A bike-share company, Lime, followed suit, placing its scooters in San Francisco.
The scooters were cheap to use, typically costing a dollar to unlock and then 15 cents for every minute of riding. Soon, renting an e-scooter became really popular, pulling in millions of rides and earning Bird, Lime, and their competitors tens of millions of dollars in revenue, and even more money in investment capital. That’s when e-scooters began to appear everywhere you look.
Electric Scooter Injuries
With the rise in popularity of e-scooter rentals, there has been a spike in injuries that is raising safety concerns among lawmakers and the public. Hospitals and emergency rooms are reporting a dramatic increase in injuries involving e-scooters. These injuries include fractures, dislocations of wrists, ankles, elbows, and shoulders, and in the worst cases, life-threatening injuries and death.
E-scooters can travel up to 30 mph, and if the rider hits a rock, pebble, or crashes into something, they can sustain serious injuries. Add to this, the fact that helmets are neither required nor furnished by the rental companies.
But the riders aren’t the only ones at risk of being injured in accidents involving e-scooters. Pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists are equally at risk.
Who Can Be Held Liable For An Electric Scooter Accident?
What happens when someone is injured in an e-scooter accident, resulting in thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages and income, and property damage?
There are essentially four different entities or people who, depending on the circumstances, may be held liable for an e-scooter accident:
1. The E-scooter Rider
E-scooter riders have a duty to ride safely and carefully. If an e-scooter rider causes an accident and harms someone else, they can be held financially liable for the injured party’s damages.
2. The City or Municipality
The cities and municipalities that allow e-scooters also have a duty to keep the streets and sidewalks where e-scooters are permitted to operate in good condition. Streets and sidewalks that are in poor condition raise the risk of injuries to e-scooter riders and others.
Those who drive motor vehicles in areas where e-scooters are permitted to operate now have a duty to drive even more carefully and to look out for e-scooters. The driver of a motor vehicle can be held liable if they cause an accident that harms someone who was lawfully and carefully operating an e-scooter.
4. The E-scooter Company
The companies that rent e-scooters to the public have a duty to provide scooters that are safe and kept in good repair. If an e-scooter rider sustains an injury as a result of a scooter that is defective or in disrepair, the e-scooter company can be held financially liable.
What To Do After Being Injured in an Electric Scooter Accident?
Unfortunately, accidents happen. And they usually happen because somebody else was behaving negligently, carelessly, or recklessly. After being injured in an e-scooter accident, which was caused by somebody else’s wrongdoing, you should treat it the same as you would a motor vehicle accident:
1. Call the paramedics if you or anyone else has been injured;
2. Get the medical attention you need right away;
3. Call the police to the scene to have a police report made;
4. Make sure to exchange information with the other party(s) involved;
5. Take as many photos or videos as you can;
6. Get the names and contact details for any witnesses; and
7. Consult with a qualified California personal injury attorney from eAccidents before giving any statement or signing any documents pertaining to the accident, besides the police report.
To learn more from a knowledgeable and experienced California personal injury attorney, call eAccidents at 844-400-0123, fill out the contact form on the www.eaccidents.com home page or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.