The evolution of technology has made even the most trivial tasks more efficient and even enjoyable. We can buy just about anything from the convenience of our smartphone and track it by GPS every step of the way to us. Along with the advancement of technology has come experimental innovations in transportation. We have the Uber and Lyft services with the click of an app, and some package handlers have even considered using drones to make deliveries. Part of these most recent innovations is the e-scooter. As the number of accidents increases, we are also seeing a spike in the number of legal claims being pursued by both riders and victims.
e-scooter services are a growing trend
what are e-scooters?
To clarify, battery-powered electric-scooters have been available for several years. However, a new ride-sharing service is equipping them with GPS trackers and wireless connectivity. Currently, a variety of companies offer these services on demand, with easy to rent access through an app.
Now, e-scooters and similar personal mobility devices are rapidly becoming more prominent in major cities. And it makes sense, thanks to their ease of use, availability, and convenience. Back in March, a handful of tech companies implemented thousands of e-scooters across nearly 100 cities across the country. As a result, injuries relating to e-scooters have surged. Trauma surgeons in various states across America are reporting daily occurrences. There have even been a few deaths associated with these accidents. Meanwhile, some have been permanently disabled due to e-scooter accidents.
As a result, tech startups are becoming the focus of more backlash from disgruntled citizens, pedestrian advocates, and even politicians. Law offices in larger cities, including Miami and other parts of South Florida, receive numerous inquiries on a daily basis about e-scooter incidents and claims. As this issue continues to grow across the United States, there is more of a need for residents to understand their rights.
what florida law says about electric scooters
It may come as a surprise to some, but as of now, there is no legal requirement for formal training to operate e-scooters. However, those who operate e-scooters have to share sidewalk space with pedestrians. Considering these mobility devices can go up to 15 miles an hour, that combination can be a bad accident waiting to happen.
Firstly, it is important to consider liability in e-scooter accidents. There are a number of factors to consider in these cases. For instances, the incident may be the result of:
- Faults in the scooter malfunctioning such as brakes and tires
- Rider negligence
- Road hazards
Currently, Bird Rides Inc. is the leading maker of e-scooters. In order to avoid legal issues, the company has riders sign a waiver stating they agree to use the product at their own risk. In doing so, the waiver attempts to limit Bird’s own liability to $100. Nevertheless, many believe that with the increasing rate of lawsuits against Bird, this waiver may not be enough to protect the firm from claims of:
- Gross negligence
- Product liability claims due to faults in their product
Adversely, victims of accidents involving e-scooters face some of the unique challenges found in cases involving bicycles. If a pedestrian on a sidewalk is struck by an e-scooter, riders will often abandon the scene of the accident. Because there is no record or the incident and no exchange of insurance information, it can be extremely difficult to make a claim and seek damages.
e-scooter and vehicle collisions
One of the major issues with e-scooters is the fact that they are a new wild card that drivers are not used to watching for on the road. Across the country, there have been numerous instances of severe personal injuries from motorists colliding with e-scooters. Injuries that are likely to appear in accidents involving e-scooters include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and abrasions
- Serious head injury
As with bicycle accidents, those operating e-scooters who crash into cars or trucks are at a high risk of serious injury. One of the more dangerous effects of a collision being severe head trauma.
For now, the most successful claims involving e-scooters involve a rider being struck by a car. In such cases where there is sufficient evidence, personal injury lawyers are actively able to pursue compensation without facing so many obstacles. We may find that as time goes on and more e-scooters make their way to the market, the laws will be updated to reflect the best interest of public safety.
legal troubles and class-action lawsuits
It is important to note that the legal troubles relating to e-scooters are showing no sign of slowing down. While the service may offer a convenient and cost-effective alternative to the clutter of traffic, it is creating a host of other problems. For example, e-scooters are dockless, meaning there is no specific location to drop them off. Therefore, riders tend to abandon them in places that can be hazardous to others.
According to a recent story in the Washington Post, residents of California have filed a class-action lawsuit against some of the top e-scooter companies, including Bird Rides Inc. Reports indicate the suit alleges the companies are guilty of:
- Gross negligence
- Public nuisance
- Aiding and abetting assault
As South Florida continues to see more and more e-scooters in our own communities, it is hard to tell what will happen next. Whatever the case, the personal injury lawyers at lowercase are committed to defending the rights of those injured due to the recklessness and negligence of others. We understand the unique obstacles these kinds of cases present, and we know how to support our clients with comprehensive and innovative legal guidance.
call us today
If you have injuries as the result of an e-scooter accident, lowercase personal injury attorneys have the skill and the experience to help you navigate the challenges you may face when pursuing compensation. Call us today at 833-LOW-FEE5 (833-569-3335) for a free consultation.