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Riding E-Scooter on Sidewalk. Hit by Car Exiting Driveway.

Q: I was riding an e-scooter on the sidewalk and was hit by a car exiting a driveway. I broke my pelvis. The driver is blaming me. Do I have a case?

A: Yes, you have a case. The auto insurance company likes to try to convince you that you have no case. An adjuster will blame you for the accident because you were riding the electric scooter on the sidewalk.

You should know that under California Vehicle Code Section 21235(g), it is illegal to ride an e-scooter on the sidewalk unless you are entering or leaving the adjacent property. So, if you were riding on the sidewalk, and not entering or leaving the adjacent property, you were violating the Vehicle Code. That does not mean, however, that the motor vehicle driver bears no fault for the accident. It just means that “comparative fault” applies to you. You and the motorist each bear a percentage of fault for the accident.

Even if the police report puts you at fault for the accident, that does not mean that you don’t have a claim. The motorist had a duty to be attentive and watch for approaching vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and e-scooter riders, whether they were approaching from the street or the sidewalk. Had the exiting driver been attentive, the driver would have seen you.

This type of accident is especially common if you were approaching from the driver’s right. The motorist was likely focused on traffic approaching from the driver’s left, and the driver never looked right to make sure the coast was clear.

How Comparative Fault Works

Your comparative fault (for riding on the sidewalk) is not a total bar to your claim. Instead, the value of your claim is reduced by your percentage of fault. The percentage of fault attributable to you will be based on the facts specific to your accident. Ultimately, if the claim does not settle, a jury will decide your percentage of fault. Relevant factors include:

  • How visible were you? Did the accident happen during the day or at night? What were the lighting conditions? Did anything obstruct the driver’s view of you?
  • What was your speed?
  • Did you make eye contact with the driver before passing in front of him or her?
  • Was the driver distracted by his or her passengers?
  • Was the driver on his or her cell phone?
  • Did the driver never stop before attempting to exit the driveway?

There is a duty on all parties to exercise reasonable care to prevent accidents and collisions. The law recognizes, however, that the amount of care required by a motor vehicle driver is greater than the amount of care required by a pedestrian, bicyclist, or e-scooter rider. A motor vehicle is a dangerous instrumentality capable of inflicting fatal injuries, thus the driver of a motor vehicle is charged with a greater amount of care.

In the case of a scooter rider on the sidewalk getting hit by a car exiting, a reasonable apportionment of fault may be 50-50: you and the motorist each being placed 50% at fault. That means that if your claim is worth $100,000, and you were 50% at fault, then the value of your claim is reduced to $50,000.

Injuries to an E-Scooter Rider Hit by a Car

If an e-scooter rider is hit by a car, the rider’s injuries can be very serious. Electric scooter rider injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Brain injury
  • Severe road rash
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Death

What Losses Can an E-Scooter Rider Hit by a Car Claim?

An injured scooter rider can make a claim for medical bills (past and future), lost earnings (past and future), and pain and suffering. The medical bills that a scooter rider incurs can be astronomical. The bills may include hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation facility, plastic surgery, orthopedic specialists, pain management, and physical therapy. In addition, an injured rider will likely be unable to work for an extended amount of time or may never be able to return to their prior job.

If you were an e-scooter rider hit by a car, you have a claim, even if you were riding on a sidewalk. Do not let an insurance adjuster convince you otherwise. Contact an electric scooter accident attorney at McGee, Lerer, and Associates for a free consultation.