In the past year or two, electric scooters have skyrocketed in popularity. Some popular electric scooter companies include Bird and Lime. These scooters are run electrically and are shared amongst the people in the nearby vicinity. Using the company’s application, people “rent” these scooters at certain rates to activate them, travel to their destination, and “return” the scooters through the application.
As a relatively new phenomenon, electric scooters are gaining some traction among its users, but they can also be dangerous for many of its users as well as those simply passing by a scooter. People can crash while riding the scooter or an unsuspecting pedestrian can get hit by a fast rider. According to Consumer Reports, over 1,500 people nationwide were injured in an electric scooter-related crash by the end of 2017, the year in which these scooter companies were founded.
The personal injury lawyers at Mike Agruss Law have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured from an electric scooter accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Causes of Electric Scooter Accidents
Electric scooters are a relatively new mode of transportation, yet they have already caused damage due to how many are used given its far and wide availability in populated areas. Some of these accidents occur due to the following circumstances:
- Scooter-pedestrian accidents – Electric scooters are generally meant to be used on the road. This can cause accidents where a scooter user may run into a pedestrian at a crosswalk or emerging from behind a car. A user may also fall off of the scooter. These accidents can be very serious, since these heavy scooters may be going up to 15 miles per hour.
- Scooter-vehicle accidents – Along the same lines, scooter users can be caught in a terrible accident if they collide with a vehicle. The vehicle obviously weighs far more than a scooter, and this can end fatally.
- Electric scooter defect or malfunction – These scooters run on an electric system, so there is room for error in their construction. If the scooter was built with a manufacturing or design defect that causes an accident or the scooter randomly malfunctions, there are several injuries that could result to the person and those around them.
- Improper use of electric scooters – Electric scooters have designated areas where they are meant to be parked or used. Riders may find it unimportant to properly station the scooter in a safe place once they are finished using it, especially due to the lack of regulations and enforcement surrounding these scooters. They may leave it in the middle of a sidewalk, on the road, in a bike lane, or at a building’s entrance. This can cause people to trip over them and seriously injure themselves.
The Laws Surrounding Electric Scooters
These scooters are a new concept for users and legislators alike. Many large cities, where there is frequent and widespread usage of these scooters, are struggling to educate and create laws to govern their proper use and restrictions. If there are laws in a certain area, many are ignored since there is little enforcement of them. Each company’s application on phones has safety rules and precautions that riders are meant to abide by and put into practice. But with the rise in use, and therefore, accidents, it is more and more difficult for them to control and enforce.
While riders are supposed to take a photograph of where they leave the scooter after use, many do so, but with them parked improperly. One can report it if they see it, but not all riders are penalized for this; some simply receive reminder calls or texts.
Federal law classifies electric scooters as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs). States make their own laws regarding PLEV use, such as allowing them on public roads or not. As of February 2020, Illinois is trying to regulate these by introducing an amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code. The amendment essentially states that they must not exceed 20 miles per hour, riders must be at least 16 years old with a driver’s license or identification on them, the scooters must be used only in bike lanes, and they must come equipped with lamps and reflectors for nighttime use. It says that riders will have “all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the rider of a bicycle.”
This is a step in the right direction, but people also must worry about how these will be enforced as officers will be newly familiar to the laws, as well. So far, many people have been injured already and there will undoubtedly be more accidents in the future. Educating the public and law enforcement officers about these laws will be a gradual, but very necessary process in order to improve the safety of electric scooters.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Electric scooter accidents can cause countless types of injuries depending on the type of accident and its severity. An accident with a motor vehicle will likely result in more severe injuries when compared to a trip and fall over an improperly parked scooter. Some scooter accidents could result in injuries such as bruises, cuts and scrapes, broke bones, sprains, concussion, whiplash, disability, and even death in the most severe cases.
You deserve to get justice and be fairly compensated for your damages. After a scooter accident, you should take photographs of any injuries, the scene of the accident, and get contact information of anyone involved. After you seek medical treatment for any injuries you may have following the accident, you can consult one of our attorneys for a free consultation to look into pursuing a claim against who you believe to have caused the accident. It may be a personal injury claim, a product liability claim, or another type; however, we will help you recover from this accident and the losses that you experienced. After a successful claim, you may be able to recover the following as damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one has been injured from an electric scooter accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.