Electric scooters have recently become incredibly popular to ride because they are affordable, easy to operate and generally economic- friendly. Cities are crowded with them and people are enjoying their convenience. However, states are still struggling to regulate these electric scooters especially because they pose danger to the pedestrians.
Depending on the state you live in, it may be useful to look up the local regulations and guidelines regarding electric scooters. They differ on their laws regarding them such as what speed to ride them and where it is permissible to ride them.
What Happens When an Electric Scooter Accident Occurs?
Generally, if you are riding an electric scooter and an accident occurs the party who is at fault will pay for the damages for the injuries resulting from it. However, the traditional avenue of receiving compensation from automobile accidents would be through the insurance company.
But with the electric scooters there is no insurance registration requirement and most electric scooter companies have the users sign a waiver to release them from any liability occurring from accidents. Courts may not agree with this, but nevertheless it will be challenging to bring a claim against the company and get them to pay for the injuries sustained during the accident. It may be possible that you would need to cover the bills from out of pocket because of the insurance issue.
Furthermore, malfunctions can also occur while riding the electric scooters. Most of them go as high as 20 miles per hour, but this speed is enough to lose control and hit a pedestrian or an object while riding. Cities like the idea of using the e-scooters to reduce traffic, but they still pose a risk to the riders and to the pedestrians.
For example in Washington District of Columbia, many riders enjoy the electric scooter experience. In this area, they are considered to be mobility devices and are allowed on the sidewalks. The city does not mandate that a helmet be worn when riding the e- scooter nor does it have the insurance registration requirement. Also riders can be 16 years of age or older to ride them. Although they provide a convenient way of transportation for the locals and tourists, they still pose a risk of injuries.
Many of the electric scooter companies such as Lime or Bird have rules in place for the riders of theirs scooters:
- The person must be at least 18 years of age or older;
- Must obey all the traffics regulations and laws;
- Cannot allow any passengers;
- Posses a valid driver’s license and;
- Some states require a helmet to be worn but most do not, it is advised to wear one to lower the risk of head injuries.
What Are Some Possible Sources for Liability Coverage for Electric Scooters?
There are some other types of possible insurances that can cover for the damages resulting from the electric scooters, however it is still not guaranteed:
- Health insurance can assist in the payment of the medical bills for the injuries;
- Automobile insurance generally does not apply only to vehicles that have fewer than four wheels;
- Homeowners’ or renters’ insurance may provide coverage while outside the home but there will be limitations for elective scooters;
- Personal liability umbrella insurance is available when other forms of liability are exhausted and;
- Scooter insurance may be offered by electric scooter companies.
Who is Liable for Electric Scooter Accidents?
It is difficult to determine the liability under the electric scooter accidents because they are not covered under the traditional automobile laws. Therefore, negligence and other legal notions may not apply when considering bringing a lawsuit for personal injuries sustained during an electric scooter accident. Here are some actors that may be considered liable when an accident occurs:
- The driver may be liable if they were guilty of violating a roadway rule. For example, failing to yield, or acting recklessly to endanger the life of others around them;
- The electric scooter company may be liable if there was a manufacturing issue which caused the rider getting injuries for example, a brake malfunction that caused the scooter to abruptly stop and;
- The city can be liable if there are dangerous road conditions such as potholes or loose gravel.
When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?
Before getting on an electric scooter there are several things to take into consideration to have a safe and enjoyable ride. Try to research the local laws for electric scooters in your city to make sure you follow their guidelines for riding an electric scooter.
If an accident occurs, it will be useful to seek out a motorcycle accident lawyer to assist with the case of recovering for damages. It is also challenging to determine who is liable and therefore a lawyer will be able to assist in this process.