It’s easy to see the appeal of electric scooters. They can be fun to ride, don’t emit any carbon fumes that could harm the environment, and thanks to rental services like Lime and Bird currently operating in several large cities, they are a convenient way to get from one place to another.
However, many people do not realize the potential dangers posed by electric scooters. Due to the smaller wheels and a shorter wheelbase, they are less stable than a bicycle, and at least one expert says that they are no safer than any other motorized vehicle. Many scooter accidents are caused by malfunctioning equipment, such as throttles that stick and brakes that don’t work. Automobiles also pose a danger to scooter riders. Drivers may have difficulty seeing people on scooters sharing the road until it is too late.
An informal survey of medical facilities by Consumer Reports found that there were at least 1,545 scooter-related accidents that caused injuries last year. Due to the unscientific nature of the study and the limited availability of data, the actual number is likely much higher.
The Law Has Not Caught Up With the Technology
Because the electric scooter technology is relatively new, there are few laws in place that govern its use, and the laws that do exist are sometimes contradictory and confusing.
For example, scooter riders may be confused by the different laws governing where they can be ridden in different municipalities. In some communities, scooter are forbidden from operating on the sidewalk, while in others, the sidewalk is the only place they are permitted.
The law has yet to establish firmly who is liable in an electric scooter accident. Due to the novelty of the technology, many insurance policies do not include specific coverage related to e-scooters. The scooter rental services require users to sign an agreement agreeing not to hold the companies liable for injuries. However, the legal validity of such agreements are in question and may require a court decision to establish a precedent. A lawsuit challenging the companies’ terms of service will soon be brought in California.
Options Are Available To Accident Victims
In the meantime, if you suffered injury in an accident between an electric scooter and an automobile, you may be able to seek personal injury damages, such as medical compensation, pain and suffering, property damage, etc., from the driver of the vehicle if there is evidence that he or she acted negligently. If you were injured due to a malfunction of a scooter that you own, you may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
An experienced Newark personal injury attorney, such as from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., can help determine which damages may be available to you based on the laws in your jurisdiction. Contact a law office for more information.