Electric scooters (e-scooters) continue to increase in popularity throughout California. Companies like Bird and Lime first introduced e-scooters in Santa Monica in 2017 and 2018. As the popularity of e-scooters skyrocketed with shared and dockless rentals, both companies reached $1 billion valuations within a year. E- scooters are touted as an inexpensive, convenient and environmentally friendly way of getting around town or traveling that last mile. Negative stories about e-scooters have also come to light though. They’ve been thrown into rivers, lakes and the ocean. They’re also scattered, abandoned or used on city sidewalks, creating hazards for pedestrians, especially those who are exiting commercial buildings.
Riding E-Scooters Can Be Dangerous
These alternative sources of transportation are a growing source of serious personal injuries and deaths, especially when riders use them as toys. E-scooters are nearly silent, and they present thin profiles in traffic. Motorists who caused scooter accidents often remark that they either didn’t see the scooter at all, or they didn’t see it until it was too late. Although state law requires riders to wear helmets, the overwhelming majority of them don’t wear one. In the event of an accident, they’re exposed and physically vulnerable.
Here are some examples of a few common causes of e-scooter accidents:
- Drivers who fail to stop at traffic signals, stop signs or otherwise fail to yield the right-of way.
- Drivers who swerve into or turn into scooter riders when changing lanes or turning left or right.
- Drivers and passengers opening doors into e-scooters when preparing to exit from vehicle.
- Road, bike lane or other riding surface hazards like cracks or even shallow potholes. Most e-scooters only ride on relatively unstable eight-inch wheels.
- Poor e-scooter maintenance by rental companies that can include brake failure or a throttle being stuck on full speed.
Common Injuries Suffered by Electric Scooter Riders
Regardless of the fact that e-scooters in California are limited by law to speeds not to exceed 15 mph, some of them are capable of speeds of nearly twice that. A recent study published by the American Journal of Otolaryngology revealed the fact that over the last 10 years, serious injuries caused by e-scooter accidents and injuries tripled with nearly 1,000 cases of head and facial trauma leading the list. Those head injuries included a clinically significant number of traumatic brain injuries like bruising or bleeding of the brain. Other serious head injuries included skull and nose fractures.
Here are some other common injuries suffered in e-scooter crashes:
- Fractures of the neck and face.
- Jaw fractures.
- Hip, leg, ankle, arm and hand fractures.
- Joint dislocations.
- Lacerations and road rash leading to infection and scarring.
Don’t Give a Statement After an Accident
The insurer of the person who you believe caused your accident will be looking for any number of reasons to try and push some or all of the fault for your accident over onto you. Don’t put it in a better position to do that by agreeing to give its adjuster a written or recorded statement about your accident and injuries. California law doesn’t require you to give any type of a statement, so don’t give that insurer an opportunity to use your own words against you in order to attack your credibility. Even if the opposing insurance adjuster threatens to close out your claim for want of a statement, politely refuse to give one and call us instead for a free consultation and case evaluation with our California e-scooter lawyer. Anything that you say to us is privileged and confidential. We can have your claim opened again in short order.
Don’t Try to Bring a Personal Injury Claim on Your Own
The legal process involved in bringing an e-scooter personal injury claim gets complicated quickly. You’re likely to begin making mistakes from the onset if you try to represent yourself. California’s rules of evidence can allow mistakes that you made in the claim stage before trial into evidence at the time of trial. Don’t risk prejudicing your case and any settlement or award that you might receive by taking a single step while unrepresented. As soon as you retain us to represent you in connection with your injuries and damages, your best interests will be protected and asserted to the fullest extent possible.
Comparative Negligence in California
The law of comparative negligence in California can significantly affect any settlement or award that you might receive after being injured in an accident. Expect the insurer of the person who caused your accident to argue that you were goofing off or being otherwise careless and negligent while riding an e-scooter. Most states operate under what’s known as modified comparative negligence. If it’s determined that a claimant was partially at fault for their accident, the percentage of negligence attributed to that claimant is deducted from any settlement or award. In some modified comparative negligence states, the claimant receives nothing if he or she is 50% at fault. In some other states, a 51% rule applies. California is what’s known as a pure comparative negligence state where claimants might be more than 50 or 51% at fault for an accident but still be able to obtain compensation for their injuries and damages.
The Statute of Limitations
The general rule in California is that you have two years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you believe that a governmental entity or agency caused your injuries, you must file a proper claim notice with the designated legal representative of the entity or agency within six months of the date of the accident. The entity or agency then has 45 days to respond, if it responds at all. In most cases, it doesn’t. If no response is received, it’s our recommendation that a personal injury lawsuit be filed immediately after the 45-day period has expired.
We encourage injury victims to invoke and protect their rights as soon as possible rather than sleep on them. Don’t file any claim notices or lawsuits on your own, and don’t give a statement of any kind without our California e-scooter accident lawyer being present on your behalf. After being injured in an e-scooter accident anywhere in California, contact our offices for that free consultation and case review. You can tell us about what happened and how it happened. In turn, we can give you a complete legal assessment on the viability of any claim or lawsuit that might be brought. We take these cases on a contingency fee basis. What that means is that upon being retained to represent you, no legal fees are even owed unless we obtain a settlement or award on your behalf. Our goal is to obtain the maximum compensation for you that you deserve.