The Growing Issue of E-Scooter Accidents: Who’s Liable and How to Pursue a Claim

By Peter DePaolis

Electric scooters or e-scooters have become more prevalent in large and small cities throughout Virginia. Many people use e-scooters because they are easy to operate, eco-friendly, and less costly than traditional forms of transportation. However, with the increased use of e-scooters, there is an increase in the risk of e-scooter accidents. Our Virginia e-scooter accident attorneys explain the growing issue and how to pursue an e-scooter accident claim. 

The Growing Issue of E-Scooter Accidents

Nationwide, there were more than 190,000 emergency room visits related to micromobility products (including e-scooters) from 2017 through 2020. The numbers grew steadily by 70% from 2017 through 2020. Much of the increase in emergency room visits involved e-scooter injuries.

E-scooter injuries can significantly impact a person’s quality of life when the injuries cause permanent impairments. Common injuries in e-scooter accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Amputations and loss of limbs
  • Neck injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Internal organ injury
  • Paralysis
  • Wrongful death

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles does not list a separate crash category for e-scooter accidents. However, some cities and organizations in Virginia have tracked e-scooter accidents and/or injuries. 

The Alexandria Health Department reported ten confirmed, probable, and suspect e-scooter injuries over six months in 2019. The Virginia Beach EMS reported 65 patients received treatment during one year because of e-scooters. If the Virginia numbers mirror national numbers, we can expect an increase in e-scooter accidents since 2019. 

Understanding Liability in E-Scooter Accidents

Anyone who contributes to the cause of an e-scooter accident can be held liable for damages. Damages can include economic damages, such as lost wages and medical bills. Non-economic damages include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, pain, and suffering.

Parties that could contribute to the cause of an e-scooter accident include:

  • The e-scooter rider
  • Motorists 
  • Pedestrians
  • The e-scooter company
  • Bicyclists
  • Cities and government agencies

In most cases, victims of Virginia e-scooter accidents must prove the legal elements of a negligence or product liability claim. Negligence cases require the victim to prove the alleged at-fault party owed them a duty of care and breached the duty of care. Then, they must prove that the breach of duty caused the e-scooter accident and the victim’s damages. 

How to Pursue a Claim After an E-Scooter Accident

Steps to take immediately after a Virginia e-scooter accident include:

  • Report the accident to the police.
  • Take pictures and make a video of the accident scene.
  • Ask witnesses for their names and contact information.
  • Seek immediate medical treatment for injuries. 
  • Document damages by keeping copies of all documents related to the accident, including receipts for out-of-pocket expenses. 
  • Contact a Virginia e-scooter accident attorney as soon as possible.

Proving liability for an e-scooter accident can be challenging. The at-fault party might allege that you contributed to the cause of the e-scooter accident. If so, Virginia’s strict pure contributory negligence law could bar you from recovering any money for your claim. Being slightly at fault bars you from receiving compensation.

Additionally, when you rent an e-scooter, you agree to the terms of a user agreement. The user agreement could require your case to go to arbitration or waive other rights to bring claims. Furthermore, the different e-scooter laws and regulations for cities and counties throughout Virginia could impact an accident claim.

The statute of limitations for filing e-scooter claims is typically two years from the injury date. However, the circumstances of the case could alter the filing deadline. Therefore, it is best to talk with a lawyer as soon as possible after an e-scooter accident in Virginia. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer 

Because of the complexity of e-scooter accident claims, it is crucial to seek experienced legal advice. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with a Virginia personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one sustained injuries in a Virginia e-scooter accident.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.