A drive through downtown Visalia can be a pretty quick trip in a car, and the same journey on foot may seem like a marathon. An electric scooter may be a nice compromise for travelers wanting to get across Mainstreet or up Church Street.
The rideshare scooters that have shown up on streets around Central Valley from companies like Lime, Bird, and Lyft can be a fun way to get around. However, riders who rent them with their phones need to be aware of the risks involved with these zippy little devices, especially when venturing out into traffic.
E-Scooter Accident Dangers in Visalia
These scooters can appear to be the simple toys you might have had as a child, but the added motor and boost of speed up to 15mph can take a few rides to get used to. The accelerator can be a bit hard to control and you can easily go much faster than you intended. Slowing and stopping with a hand-brake or a foot pedal can also be hard to remember as you’re quickly approaching a busy intersection.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco posted the results of their scooter injury study in 2020. They found that in a recent three-year span scooter crashes resulted in nearly 3,330 hospital stays for riders. What’s more, almost a third of the patients suffered from head trauma. That’s more than twice the rate of head injuries to bicyclists.
Scooter riders are at risk for two major types of accidents. They can be hurt in an accident involving only themselves by falling off their scooter or running into an object or wall. They can also suffer severe injuries while in the street contending with much bigger and faster vehicles like cars and SUVs.
E-Scooter Accidents Insurance Coverage
An important question if you are ever on a scooter and suffer an injury, will a scooter company help pay for the recovery? As you might have guessed, a rideshare company loves to accept your money for each mile on their app but they aren’t as eager to pay out when riders get seriously hurt.
Your options after an accident will depend on if you are the only person involved in your crash or if it involved a collision with a vehicle.
- Moped Only Accidents – A collision with a cement pylon or wall, or being sent to the ground by crumbling pavement can leave riders with a serious injury. Unfortunately, if you signed up for your ride on the Lyft or Lime app you’ve already agreed to a waiver of liability. This means the scooter company won’t help you with hospital bills and rehabilitation costs. Your car insurance coverage likely won’t extend to a scooter ride either. You may still be able to make a claim against a scooter company if you have evidence that a scooter malfunction caused your crash. An issue with the brake or a torn tire would be the scooter rideshares responsibility. A rideshare attorney can help you determine what options are available to you.
- Moped Vs. Vehicle Accidents – If a careless driver hits you while your traveling in a lane or turns in front of you and causes your collision, the aftermath will play out like a normal auto accident. You are eligible for compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance. An attorney can assist you in collecting evidence for your scooter accident case. You’ll also need to gather accident and medical reports to prove you were not to blame for your collision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get injury compensation if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
You can still get compensation if you’re hurt while riding a scooter without a helmet. California does not require anyone 18-years-old or older to wear head protection. E-Scooter rideshares do strongly encourage all users to wear a helmet, but, of course, they don’t provide helmets with their machines. Not wearing a helmet may cause you to receive a smaller award for damages in some cases, but you can still receive sizable compensation from an at-fault driver or a scooter provider.
Can I get injury compensation if I was partially to blame for my accident?
You can still get compensation for your injuries in a scooter accident even if you share some of the blame. First of all, never admit fault at the accident scene. Let your attorney determine just who should be held responsible for a collision. Also, in California, two or more motorists can share the blame in an accident. If you weren’t wearing a helmet in the crash you might be assigned a small percentage of the blame. The driver would still owe you damages, but before you would receive compensation your part in the accident will be subtracted.
Do I need an attorney when suing a scooter company?
You don’t need an attorney, but it can certainly help a lot to have one. Rideshare companies are national entities with corporate headquarters and their own team of lawyers. The lawyers can be unleashed on you to try to diminish your claim and offer you as little money as possible for your accident. They may even call you trying to get you to make certain statements about the accident so they can use it later to cast doubt on your account of what happened. A rideshare attorney with experience handling corporate lawyers and insurance agents can make sure they can’t ignore the suffering your injuries have caused. Your attorney also won’t allow them to get away with making you a low ball offer.