The electric scooter craze is paired with a flood of electric scooter accident stories wherever riders can be found. Recently in Oakland, California, a toddler of just two-years old was struck by a racing electric scooter rider, resulting in some bad scrapes and bruises. In Texas, a man has died after what authorities believe to be a fatal electric-scooter-and-automobile collision (https://nypost.com/2018/09/04/man-dies-after-electric-scooter-accident/). Even more stories can be found just with a quick search for news.
Despite the severity and frequency of electric scooter accidents, it is still taking people a while to become aware of the dangers. At the same time, electric scooter ridesharing companies are trying to avoid accountability for crashes and damages. This is a problem that Attorney Catherine Lerer of McGee, Lerer & Associates in Santa Monica recently had a chance to discuss with The San Francisco Chronicle — which you can view in full by clicking here.
Forced Arbitration Clouds Rider Rights & Responsibilities
Within the article, the growing prevalence of electric scooters was highlighted, backed by statements from medical professionals who have treated a disproportionate amount of electric scooter riders in recent weeks. The possibility of new city- or county-specific legislation to limit or control electric scooter use was also covered.
Yet, electric scooter companies like Bird and Lime have been hesitant to offer reassurance or compliance, mainly because they are trying to shield themselves behind arbitration clauses each user “signs” whenever they rent an electric scooter. An arbitration clause states an injured rider cannot seek a jury trial for damages, and must go through private arbitration with the company instead. Historically, forced arbitration has put consumers and injured parties at the bottom of an uphill legal battle, usually resulting in massively undervalued collections or compensation.
Attorney Lerer told The San Francisco Chronicle that the scooter companys’ user agreement, which contains liability waivers, assumption of the risk, and forced arbitration clauses, are “draconian.” For decades, companies have tried to shirk responsibility for injuries and wrongdoing by hiding conflicts in arbitration. The persistence of personal injury law firms like McGee, Lerer & Associates and safety groups throughout the years have steadily whittled away at the power of forced arbitration, showing the clauses as the unjust, one-sided advantages they are.
Filing Injury Claims for Electric Scooter Accidents
In the meantime, as she told in the article, she and the law firm have received approximately 100 calls from injured clients involved in electric scooter accidents. 75% of them were caused by defects in the scooters, like brake failures or handlebar collapses. Many others come from hit-and-run electric scooter victims, who have no immediate way of tracking down the rider who hits them. Attorney Lerer has actually reached out to Bird and Lime to get more information about negligent riders, but neither company has been helpful.
Do not let the lack of cooperation and regulations deter you, though. If you or a loved one were hurt in an electric scooter accident in Santa Monica, please let our team of personal injury attorneys from McGee, Lerer & Associates know. With our help, you may be able to collect fair compensation from the liable parties, as well as help pave the way for others to file successful electric scooter accident claims.
Find out more about your options and our services today. Call (310) 692-9582 for a free case evaluation scheduled around your convenience.