Over the last few years, tens of thousands of dockless electric scooters have poured into Washington, D.C. from seven different companies: Bird, Lime, Spin, Lyft, Skip, Jump and Bolt. Three additional companies (Hopr, Razor and Ridecell) have received conditional approval to start operating in the city in 2019.
E-scooters can be a convenient and cost-effective way to get around town for residents, tourists and commuters. However, the increase in e-scooters on D.C.’s roads has also led to an upswing in related car accidents and e-scooter injuries. One study based in Austin, Texas reported 271 injuries in the city over 3.5 months. If a vehicle strikes you while riding an e-scooter in D.C, find out whether you have the right to file an injury claim against the at-fault party. Your injuries could qualify you for compensation.
Controlling the thousands of people who use e-scooters in D.C. daily has been a challenge for lawmakers. The district has enacted several laws specifically targeting electric scooters since the start of rentable scooters in the city. For example, scooter operators must be 16 or older, and they must have valid driver’s licenses. If you were breaking a scooter law at the time of your collision, this could negatively impact your claim.
For the most part, e-scooter users have the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users. They must stop at red lights, yield the right-of-way to others and operate their vehicles prudently. Breaking the law or operating an e-scooter negligently could hurt your chances of securing compensation. Under Washington D.C.’s contributory negligence laws, if the courts find you responsible for causing your e-scooter collision, you could receive a smaller compensation award. If you were more than 50% at fault, you may not recover anything at all.
Driver error causes many collisions in D.C. through texting and driving, drowsy driving, speeding, aggressive driving, drunk driving and other acts of negligence. To qualify for compensation through an insurance claim or car accident lawsuit after an e-scooter collision, you or your attorney will need to prove the other driver’s negligence, as well as other elements of a case.
If the other driver did not cause your collision, the defendant in your case could be a different party, such as the e-scooter company, a part manufacturer or the city government for an unsafe roadway. Regardless of the identity of the defendant, the four elements of proof needed to have grounds for a claim remain the same.
If you have the elements to bring a personal injury claim against the driver that struck you while riding an e-scooter, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of your accident in Washington, D.C. A successful insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver could result in compensation for your related damages. The driver’s insurance company could be financially responsible for your health care costs, lost income, disability expenses, chronic pain, lost capacity to earn, wrongful death damages and other losses.