When Can I Sue for an E-Scooter Accident?

By Peter DePaolis

Electric scooters have replaced walking and biking for many people in major cities around the world. With dozens of scooters available on-demand for low prices locally, it is no surprise ridership has skyrocketed since the debut of rentable dockless e-scooters. Yet many organizations have expressed concerns over the safety of e-scooters, especially as the injury and death tolls continue to climb. According to Consumer Reports, eight people have died in e-scooter accidents since the fall of 2017.

If you get into an e-scooter accident, you may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit for damages depending on the circumstances. Contact our office today if you have questions regarding your legal options after an e-scooter accident.

If a Driver Caused the Collision

As an e-scooter accident victim, you may have the right to file a lawsuit if you suffered serious injuries because of a driver’s negligence. A driver may owe you compensation for your injuries if he or she collided with you while you were riding an e-scooter and if a prudent driver would not have. Texting and driving, drunk driving and drowsy driving are examples of actions that could make a driver liable for a crash.

If you live in a fault-based car insurance state, the insurance company of the driver that caused the e-scooter accident will take your claim. In a no-fault state, you will file with your insurance company, regardless of fault. A personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate if an e-scooter accident involved catastrophic injuries, wrongful death or a broken law, such as drunk driving.

Serious accident cases may require lawsuits instead of insurance claims for victims to obtain fair compensation. An insurance claim alone cannot reimburse a crash victim for losses such as physical pain, mental anguish or punitive damages. A lawsuit may be in your best interest if a driver or another negligent party caused your accident and if you suffered life-changing injuries.

If the E-Scooter Contained a Defect

Defective e-scooters have caused dozens of serious injuries, including bone fractures, broken teeth, road rash, burns and lacerations. Lime has been one of the top culprits, with issues such as electric scooters catching fire from defective batteries and abrupt braking. The company announced in late 2018 that a manufacturing defect was causing vehicle batteries to smolder and burst into flames. In 2019, Lime issued a safety update for a separate problem that was causing the e-scooters to brake unexpectedly.

If your e-scooter contained a defect, and this caused your accident, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the scooter company and/or part manufacturer. Strict product liability laws protect consumers by eliminating the burden of proof. Your lawyer generally will not have to prove the manufacturing company’s negligence. Instead, your lawyer must only show that the e-scooter contained a defect and that you suffered an injury as a result.

If a Dangerous Roadway Condition Contributed

Electric, motorized and standard scooters are more vulnerable to roadway defects than passenger vehicles. A minor pothole could be enough to send a scooter user to the ground. It is the city government’s responsibility to adequately maintain its roadways, bicycle paths and sidewalks. Failure to do so could lead to roadway defects and hazards that cause e-scooter accidents.

Most states have passed tort claims acts to enable citizens to bring negligence claims against the government outside of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity protects government entities from liability claims in most situations. If the government or one of its employees negligently contributed to someone’s injuries, however, most states permit the victim(s) to seek financial recovery through an injury lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit against the government in your city for an e-scooter accident may come with different rules than a typical tort claim. You may have a shorter statute of limitations to file, for example, or additional steps to take before filing a claim with the county court. Work with an attorney for assistance if you believe the government could be responsible for your recent electric 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.