It’s no secret that the rise of electric scooters from companies like Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin have led to a flood of accidents; but do you know what to do if you’ve been involved in one? These vehicles can be extremely dangerous, for both riders and pedestrians, which is why it’s imperative that you know the law if you were injured. At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we represent victims of electric scooter accidents, and we will fight to make sure the responsible party is held accountable in the event of an accident that causes you harm.
Given our commitment to this growing field of law, we have received a lot of attention from media outlets, including a profile by BuzzFeed on both their website and their Netflix show, Follow This, for an investigation into the recent slate of scooter accidents in California and across the country.
As discussed in the Buzzfeed/Netflix video, daily injuries are now being reported at emergency rooms throughout Los Angeles County. In other cities, things have gotten even more serious. In Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, electric scooters have been banned entirely, and doctors willingly discuss that scooter-related injuries were prominent in the months leading up to the ban. In Cleveland, one woman died after being hit by a car while on a scooter.
As BuzzFeed and Netflix reported, our firm has taken on scores of clients with scooter injuries, including broken legs, broken arms, broken pelvises, broken teeth, and torn rotator cuffs. Some of the incidents we talked to BuzzFeed about involved scooter malfunction, such as the throttle sticking or handlebar stems breaking off. One of our clients fell testing a scooter that did not have any brakes, resulting in a broken collarbone and scalp staples. We have also taken on the cases of several elderly clients, who have tripped and fallen trying to get around scooters parked on the sidewalk.
Because plenty of people don’t like these scooters, vandals are throwing them in the street, knocking them over, and even running over them with cars. Scooter companies know this vandalism is happening, and in fact, that the vandalism is celebrated on social media. The scooter companies’ knowledge of this vandalism puts an even greater onus on the companies to inspect the scooters before every use. Instead of fulfilling this obligation, it is our understanding and belief that the scooter companies rely on riders to inspect the scooters for safety. Putting the responsibility on a layperson for inspecting a motorized vehicle for safety, is, in our opinion, not only unreasonable, but dangerous.
What You Should Know About Scooter Accidents
As long as electric scooters are on the road, it’s important for you to stay informed. At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we want you to know your rights, both as a pedestrian and a rider, and what you can do should you end up injured.
Under California Vehicle Code Section 21235, motorized scooter operators must:
- Wear a helmet. (This requirement ends on December 31, 2018.)
- Have a valid driver’s license/instruction permit
- Pilot their scooter without any other passengers
- Ride on the street, not the sidewalk
Even if people obey all of these regulations, a lot of things can make operating an electric scooter unsafe. Their small wheels, short wheelbase, and the rider’s high center of gravity combine to make the scooters unstable and susceptible to an accident if the rider encounters even the smallest roadway debris or imperfection. Additionally, riders who panic and stop too quickly are prone to flying off these vehicles. Because of their size, scooters can also be hard to see, which can leave them at greater risk for collision with cars.
Scooter injuries increase when people:
- Don’t wear a helmet/other safety gear
- Ride with more than one person at a time
- Ride on sidewalks and in crowded areas
- Ride over gravely roads
- Leave scooters in unsafe places
- Let riders who are too young pilot scooters
- Brake too quickly
- Don’t pay attention to their surroundings
Holding the Right Party Accountable
Different parties who may be sued in scooter accidents include:
- Scooter riders
- Motorists in cars, trucks, or motorcycles
- Businesses who don’t clear scooters which obstruct their visitors’ access
- The electric scooter companies
- Scooter manufacturers
At McGee, Lerer & Associates, our personal injury attorneys have been serving clients in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Long Beach for years. There’s a reason why Catherine Lerer has been interviewed for her knowledge regarding scooter accidents, and there’s a reason our firm is trusted with personal injury cases all over the Los Angeles area. We provide free second opinions, and all cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if we collect money for you.
Have you recently been injured in a motorized scooter accident? Looking for a personal injury lawyer to take on your case? Call McGee, Lerer & Associates at (310) 692-9582 or contact us online today.