Who Pays For E-Scooter Injuries?
Prior to the pandemic, cities across the country were up in arms over the overnight arrival of e-scooters on city streets. Residents reported injuries caused to pedestrians, the e-scooters left on sidewalks where they could cause tripping hazards, and in some cases, drunk e-scooterers severely injuring themselves on public roadways.
Now, several years later, we can finally tally up the reports we have on injuries related to e-scooter accidents. The results are not surprising. The vast majority of those injured on e-scooters were not pedestrians but riders. They had an average age of 34 years and were 58% likely to be male. Of the reported injuries, less than 5% were wearing helmets. A significant number of the injuries occurred to those under the age of 18.
Liability in e-scooter accidents
Because you sign a waiver of liability as part of the process of accepting the e-scooter, there is very limited opportunity to file a lawsuit due to injury. In most cases, these waivers simply prevent the company from incurring the cost of defending the lawsuit. In Florida, it can be very difficult to get a lawsuit dismissed even if it’s a loser. So the companies pay money to defend themselves from bogus lawsuits. Avoiding them is thus preferable. The fact is that the majority of these lawsuits would lose in front of juries if they were allowed to go forward. The scooter company would claim that the rider violated a traffic rule (which happens in the majority of injuries) or that they were riding unsafely. Alternatively, they can blame an obstruction on the sidewalk or a dangerous sidewalk for the injury.
If a pedestrian is injured by an e-scooterer, the e-scooter company can blame the rider for unsafely operating their e-scooter. So, these e-scooter companies have carved out a situation where it is very difficult to sue them.
There is one way to sue an e-scooter company, however. They are strictly liable for the operation of their e-scooters. That means that if the e-scooter abruptly brakes or malfunctions, causing injury, then they are liable. However, they are not liable for the negligent operation of the e-scooter. They are only liable for the proper functioning of the e-scooter.
E-scooters versus vehicles
Bird and Lime are taking a political stance when it comes to their products. They claim that scooters help remove cars from the road which are much more dangerous to pedestrians and cause ecological damage. When asked about e-scooter injuries, they point to statistics involving annual car accidents and posit that their product has actually helped prevent car accidents by taking cars off the road.
Public nuisance and zoning lawsuits against the scooter company have mostly failed, but efforts to restrict the number of e-scooters on city streets have proven successful. But you should not expect the e-scooter companies to take your injuries seriously. They are, after all, saving the world from exhaust and car crashes.
Talk to a Port St. Lucie Personal Injury Lawyer
Eighmie Law Firm represents the interests of Port St. Lucie residents who have been injured due to negligence. Call our Port St. Lucie personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how you can help.