Florida Electric Scooter Accident Lawyers
Krupnick Campbell specializes in complex civil litigation in Fort Lauderdale
In recent years, electric scooters have become an enjoyable and convenient method of transportation for neighborhood teens, university students and city dwellers alike. Unfortunately, this convenience sometimes comes at a very steep price, as the serious risks scooters pose to riders, pedestrians and motorists are increasingly realized. Emergency rooms nationwide have reported an alarming rise in injuries stemming from scooter accidents in recent months, and those numbers are expected to grow exponentially in coming years, due to the increasing popularity of these devices. If you’ve been injured in such an accident in Florida due to someone else’s carelessness, contact a Fort Lauderdale electric scooter accident attorney at Krupnick Campbell to help navigate you through this tricky type of personal injury case.
Even manufacturers have taken note of the surge in accidents. Recently, Lime, an electric scooter company, recalled an undisclosed number of scooters due to the risk of them breaking apart from wear and tear of use. This potential design flaw can put many riders – and those around them – at significant risk of injury. However, in perhaps a foreshadowing of the challenges courts will face with electric scooter accident cases, Lime subsequently denied being responsible for accidents caused by its scooters, instead suggesting that faulty parts from a supplier were to blame. Further adding to the complexity is that Lime is based in China, meaning international laws likely will further murk the legal waters of related scooter accident cases.
Who’s financially responsible for scooter accidents?
Because motorized scooters are not considered “motor vehicles,” issues will arise when determining how the law applies. Adding to the confusion is that each Florida county can implement different ordinances, meaning laws surrounding scooter accidents in Broward County could be very different from Miami-Dade County’s laws for the same type of injury case.
Is the manufacturer to blame?
Electric scooter companies disclaim any liability for the scooters they provide to the public. In their User Agreements, they put the risk of loss and injury on the user. But what happens when an electric scooter user falls and suffers a head injury? Though the terms agreed to by riders state that they must wear helmets, scooter companies do not provide helmets, nor do all states have laws that require helmets to be used. Who, then, is responsible?
What about insurance?
Insurance companies often point the finger of blame at one another when it comes to paying for related injuries. This type of back-and-forth is most common between health insurers and auto insurers, and a strong case must be made on your behalf, factoring in the few local and state laws that exist.
Because electric scooters are so new, they carry few regulations, meaning that recovering compensation in a civil suit after an injury can be extremely complicated, given that many factors must be considered. For example, if an accident is caused by poor conditions of Fort Lauderdale roads or sidewalks that the scooter’s tiny wheels can’t handle, is the City liable or is a private company that created the condition responsible? These types of legal questions are increasingly asked, making it imperative for electric scooter accident victims to consult with an experienced Florida electric scooter accident lawyer immediately after being hurt.
What types of injuries are possible?
In addition to severe head injuries, lacerations, broken bones and serious road rash, numerous cases involving the following have been reported throughout Florida and nationwide:
In September 2018, a Texas man died after suffering blunt force head trauma after falling off his scooter, becoming the first official scooter-related fatality in the country. Just two weeks later, a Washington D.C. man died after his scooter was dragged under an SUV. Since then, a handful of other scooter-related fatalities have been reported nationwide.
Electric scooters pose significant tripping hazards, especially in downtown areas. They often are scattered all over the sidewalk with no specified parking area. Store owners or passers-by are increasingly falling over them, suffering moderate and even severe injuries.
Because they are compact, scooters often can be difficult to spot if they’re left in the middle of the road by a careless rider. This could force a driver into a last-minute swerve that could injure the driver, another driver or pedestrians. Scooters are frequently transported from one area to another on vehicles like pickup trucks. If they’re not secured properly during transport, they could easily fall to the road or highway without the driver noticing, creating a new and unaccustomed hazard that other drivers must watch for.
At first thought, it’s easy to dismiss scooters as vehicles that could cause expensive property damage. However, being that scooter use is most prevalent in urban areas where real estate is tight and structures are closer to the street, it becomes easier to imagine a scenario where a car maneuvers away from a careless scooter rider and into a Fort Lauderdale storefront or house, causing a fortune in damages.
What makes scooters so dangerous?
There are three main factors that make electric scooters hazardous:
Lack of training
No training is provided to scooter operators. Inexperienced drivers place everyone around them at risk – especially those who are not used to being around scooters.
Sidewalks are universally understood to be the safest areas for pedestrians, as they’re off-limits to cars, trucks, motorcycles and mopeds. Because they are electric, scooters are relatively quiet, and pedestrians often see them for the first time after they’ve zoomed by. One sudden move by either party could result in disaster.
Late for school or work, scooter riders often navigate through busy sidewalks at unsafe speeds. Scooters are deceptively fast, with the ability to reach roughly 20 miles per hour. Speed becomes infinitely more dangerous when coupled with inexperienced drivers.
Don’t go it alone. Retain an injury lawyer.
Given the lack of specific legal guidelines for scooters, civil litigation is extremely tricky. If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident involving a motor scooter, you need an injury law firm by your side that will sort through the myriad of red tape, then identify and pursue the responsible parties, while you focus on your recovery.
Krupnick Campbell understands that the last thing you need at this difficult time is added stress and frustration. Talk to our Florida scooter accident attorneys about your case today and discover how our extensive experience can help you recover monetary compensation for your pain, suffering and lost wages.