Scooter accidents have become a problem many cities never assumed they would have. In cities like Miami Beach where an equal mix of pedestrian foot traffic and a large new “wave” of scooter riders share the same sidewalks, the actual laws surrounding this more recent mode of transportation are only beginning to become more clear. For many Florida Personal Injury lawyers, the litigation requirements for scooter accidents require a deep dive into brand new legal territory as well as becoming familiar with updated procedure as it’s issued. A Board Certified lawyer is no stranger to staying up to date on the laws surrounding up and coming modes of transportation.
In fact, as apps like Uber and Lyft inched their way to the forefront as some of Florida’s preferred means of transportation, it was Board Certified lawyers who first availed themselves to clients that sustained injuries using the rideshare services. Their peers followed suit, and now nearly every Personal Injury law firm has seen their share of Uber and Lyft related cases.
The same will soon be said about scooter litigation. While this mode of transportation has been around since the late 1990s, the laws surrounding it are much more recent as related accidents have risen in places like Miami Beach, Los Angeles, and other sunny spots where a scooter ride would be preferential. That’s why this writeup will seek to provide our readers with the most up to date information available on scooter accidents and the legal procedure surrounding these cases. Our lawyer-backed writeups promise to provide the facts insurance companies attempt to hide from victims.
The unsafe side of electric scooters
Those who are familiar with the agility it takes to safely handle a scooter while out and about on South Beach will know such skill didn’t come overnight. As with most things, practice makes perfect. Even after practicing, there are still risks involved in the usage of electric scooters. These risks include everything from going too fast to ignoring pedestrians, causing injuries to both the rider and the person walking. Those who feel comfortable riding a scooter around may think they can zip past a pedestrian unharmed, when in fact the inability to slow down quickly enough when moving at a high rate of speed can cause serious and in some cases life-threatening accidents.
Injuries from scooter accidents are wide ranging
Personal Injury lawyers are seeing more scooter accident cases in the last couple of years and specifically, over the last several months, when for one reason or another, the use of this type of transportation has become more of a hazard than it may be worth to utilize. Scooters pose a serious public safety risk. Not only to the person handling the scooter, but to those around them who may sustain injuries as a result of improper riding. Accident lawyers have seen numerous injuries resulting from scooter accidents. We’ve listed some below:
Injuries sustained in scooter accidents can be as severe as those sustained in motorcycle accidents due to the open nature of the devices. While motor vehicles provide a decent amount of protection to drivers and passengers in the event of an accident (airbags come to mind, for example), scooters, like motorcycles, do not offer this level of protection.
The legal side of scooter related injuries
In the recent surge of electric scooter related accidents, many injuries were found to have been sustained due to unsafe driving practices. Pedestrians tripping and falling over improperly parked scooters was another serious cause of injury. Due in part to lack of any real regulation during this spike in accidents, Class Action litigation was brought in October of 2018 against two of the largest scooter rental companies. Scooter manufacturers were also named in the lawsuits. These companies were accused of what’s known as “gross negligence”.
The two scooter operators named in litigation have attempted to circumvent any harsh penalties by inserting liability waivers as well as unfair arbitration clauses inside their rental agreements. This unfair practice is an attempt to dissuade any form of lawsuit being brought against the companies for injuries sustained while using their scooters. Accident lawyers are now finding their clients have little legal recourse after being hit by a car while on a scooter, and have called for drastic change.
The slow but steady first step to this change has already been taken by a group of experienced lawyers. With Class Action litigation allowing lawsuits to be filed on behalf of clients who have been injured by or while on a scooter, progress is being made toward eliminating the use of arbitration in these accidents. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, the practice of arbitration as an Alternative Dispute Resolution method is unfair and does not normally side in favor of the injured party, by default. Using the arbitration method, clients will never receive fair compensation, because it’s designed to favor the business.
Stay scooter safe, South Florida!
It’s important for those choosing to use a scooter while out on the beach to know its proper handling. Driving a scooter, much like riding a motorcycle, requires longterm practice. There are several things a new driver can do to ensure their, and everyone else’s, safety while cruising South Beach sidewalks:
- Practice in daylight: it’s important to practice riding in well lit areas or, more preferably in the daylight hours. Riding a new vehicle in the dark can cause life-threatening injuries for the rider and anyone out on the street who doesn’t see them zip by.
- Practice in less busy areas: South Beach is not the place to practice scooter riding. It’s crowded, people are constantly rushing to cross the street or sitting at restaurant tables outside. Small children, pets, and other distractions can cause a new rider with little experience to misjudge a situation, causing a crash. Practice in places where the streets are mostly empty of foot traffic.
- Read, read, read!: one of the most important things a new rider must do is read all instructions for proper handling of the scooter as well as any rental contract signed prior to use. Ignoring safety precautions or failing to understand what’s being signed can pose a serious threat to public safety. Accident lawyers see too many injured pedestrians due to lack of proper scooter usage.