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Electric Scooter Accident Attorney in Santa Monica

Top-Rated Santa Monica Injury Lawyers – (310) 692-9582

Electric Scooter

Santa Monica streets and sidewalks have been overrun with Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin electric scooters. The initial thought of our Santa Monica accident lawyers when we first saw them “flying” around the city and haphazardly abandoned on city sidewalks was “This is an accident waiting to happen – a potentially very bad accident.”

Similar to bike share and car share programs, electric scooter companies tout them as an innovative and environmentally friendly form of transportation which gets commuters out of their cars. Scooter companies proclaim them a solution to the “first mile, last mile” problem, i.e., a way to get commuters to and from mass transit stations and work places. Our observation: riders, many of whom are tourists, are using the scooters as toys, not as alternatives to cars. Scooters are not decreasing CO2 emissions; they are decreasing the amount of exercise that pedestrians would otherwise be getting.

Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin electric scooters put not only the scooter riders, but also pedestrians and motorists, at risk of a serious accident.

Watch Attorneys McGee and Lerer on KTLA 5 Live:

Read the class action lawsuit we filed against Bird, Lime, and their manufacturers

on behalf of injured electric scooter riders and pedestrians.

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The potential for accidents is increased by unsafe use of the scooters, including:

  • Children riding the electric scooters
  • People riding the scooters without helmets (Read our simple solution to the helmet problem)
  • People riding the scooters on sidewalks
  • Scooters left abandoned in the middle of sidewalks
  • Scooters left in front of building entrances and exits, and blocking handicap access ramps
  • People tandem riding the scooters

Why Bird, Lime, Jump & Spin Scooters are Dangerous

Electric scooters travel up to 15 miles per hour. If a rider is struck by a car, serious injury, such as a brain injury or paralysis, or death can result.

Some of the risks that Bird, Lime, Jump & Spinriders face include:

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  • Riders are less visible to car drivers: As scooters are quite small, motorists are less likely to see them. Scooters are easily hidden from view by objects on or off the roadway.
  • No barrier between scooter rider and road: Like bicyclists and motorcyclists, scooter riders do not have any protection, like the metal body of a vehicle around them. They do not have seat belts or airbags to protect them. Additionally, most scooter riders do not wear helmets, even though California law requires that they do.
  • Road hazards: Scooter riders may crash as the result of hitting or swerving to avoid potholes, gravel, roadway debris, or uneven surfaces.
  • Less stability: With only two wheels, the scooter can become wobbly, or lock up, especially during emergency braking or swerving.
  • Inexperienced riders: A large percentage of Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin riders have never ridden one before. No special licensing or training is required. Download the app, enter your credit card number, and you are permitted to ride the scooter without proving your ability to safely do so.
  • Panic stop: If a rider brakes hard, the front wheel can lock up, throwing the rider off the scooter.
  • High-risk behavior: Scooter riders are often young and push the boundaries with high-risk behavior, like not wearing helmets. They may also ride on sidewalks, with more than one rider at a time, against traffic, or while intoxicated or impaired.
  • Vandalized scooters: Some people who are not fans of electric scooters are vandalizing them. They are cutting the brake cable. If an unknowing rider hops on one of these scooters, disaster can result. Read More Here

Types of Electric Scooter Accidents

Since Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spine scooters appeared on the scene, our Santa Monica personal injury law firm has been inundated with calls from scooter riders who have been injured in accidents. Even people who carefully ride scooters and react well to pedestrian and vehicle traffic can be caught off-guard and injured, either by a scooter defect or a negligent third party.

Netflix and Buzzfeed have even created a show called, "Follow This," where episode 3, "Scooter Wars," highlights our attorney Catherine Lerer talking about the dangers of electric scooters.

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Watch the video here.

Read about some of the electric scooter accident calls we’ve received and SEE THE INJURIES. We encourage you to share your scooter accident story and injury photos with us.

Learn More

The electric scooter accident calls we are receiving run the gamut:

  • undefinedThe electric scooter accident calls we are receiving run the gamut:

    Scooter Malfunction: The most common call we get is from an electric scooter rider who was injured due to a malfunction of the scooter: the brakes fail or the throttle sticks in the fully depressed position. Riders are also reporting to us that they are crashing when the handlebar stem collapses, the electrical suddenly dies, or issues with the tires. Like rental cars, rental scooters experience heavy wear and tear, and consumer abuse. The scooter companies are not inspecting the scooters between rides to make sure they work properly. Publicly, Bird is on record claiming they check every single Bird every day to determine if it’s safe. Yet their company’s own email to a rider contradicts Bird’s safety claim. In Bird’s email, Bird states that they perform NO PREVENTATIVE DIAGNOSITC WORK on their scooters, and instead rely on riders to bring a safety issue to Bird’s attention. By relying on riders to report mechanical problems to the company after an accident has already occurred, the scooter companies are reactive, not proactive. Being reactive in the transportation industry is very dangerous. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is not going to rely on a customer to report that the brake fluid needs to be changed. Based on what we are hearing from our severely injured clients: an injured rider is in no position to notify the scooter company about a scooter malfunction when the rider is whisked away by ambulance and sometimes taken right into surgery. Thus the defective scooter is left at the accident site, available to the next unsuspecting renter.
  • Scooter rider crash due to road hazards, like potholes, debris, fallen branches, etc.
  • Scooter rider crashes after being chased by an unleashed dog.
  • Scooter rider crashes trying to avoid running into another scooter rider, a pedestrian, a dog, a bicyclist, or a car.
  • Pedestrian hit by scooter rider, or pedestrian falls trying to avoid getting hit by an approaching scooter rider.
  • Pedestrian trips on an electric scooter lying on the sidewalk or just outside a building entrance.
  • Scooter rider is hit by an opening car door, a turning or backing vehicle, or a swerving car.
  • Motorist swerves to avoid a scooter rider and crashes into another car.

Were you injured in an accident involving an electric scooter? Get a free consultation with our Santa Monica personal injury attorneys today by calling (310) 692-9582.


Who Pays in a Scooter Accident?

Finding a source of compensation for injuries resulting from Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin scooter accidents is a big problem. People are suffering serious injuries and often there is no source of liability insurance that will cover their claims. Though the law requires vehicle drivers to have liability insurance, there is no such requirement for electric scooter riders.

If you were injured in an accident involving a Bird, Lime, Jump, or Spin scooter, who pays for your injuries depends on who was at fault:

  • Rider at fault for someone else’s injuries: If the scooter rider was at fault for an accident — for example, a pedestrian is hit by a rider, or a driver swerves to avoid hitting a negligently driven scooter and crashes — the rider is legally accountable for your injuries. If the scooter rider had homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, their insurance company may cover your claim. If the rider had no homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, you may be out of luck. Although, legally speaking, the negligent rider is responsible, an attorney is unlikely to take the case if there is no insurance policy to pursue for compensation.
  • undefinedScooter company at fault: If the scooter malfunctions, then the company may be at fault for your injuries. The problem here: the Bird and Lime apps contain a draconian user agreement which releases the companies from all liability. We know that Bird has already denied these claims, taking the position that under the user agreement, the scooter rider has assumed responsibility for any injury caused by use of the scooter and has agreed to hold Bird harmless from any injury claim. See the denial of liability letter from the adjusting company for Bird Rides, Inc.
  • Car at fault for hitting scooter: The vehicle driver’s auto insurance carrier will pay if the car driver’s negligence resulted in injury to a scooter rider.
  • Pedestrian at fault: If a pedestrian is at fault for injuries suffered by a scooter rider — for example, a pedestrian suddenly negligently steps into the rider’s path — then the homeowner’s or renter’s insurance owned by the pedestrian may pay. If the pedestrian has no homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the injury victim will have a hard time getting an attorney to take the case.
  • Business at fault for creating a hazard with gravel, debris, or construction materials: If a scooter rider is injured due to gravel on the roadway, or improperly placed construction material or signage, the business’s insurance carrier may pay.
  • City at fault: If a pothole or other road defect causes a scooter rider to be injured or killed, the city may be at fault. The problem here: the City of Santa Monica is requiring that all scooter companies operating in Santa Monica include release language in the app’s user agreement which releases the City and its employees from any liability
  • Dog owner at fault: If an unleashed dog chases an electric scooter rider, and attacks the rider, or causes the scooter rider to crash while trying to get away, then the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy will apply. If the dog owner has no insurance, a law firm may be unwilling to take the case.

California Law That Applies to Electric Scooter Riders

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Bird, Lime, Jump, and Spin scooters are considered “motorized scooters” under California law. California Vehicle Code Section 407.5 defines a “motorized scooter” as any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, a floorboard that is designed to be stood upon when riding, and is powered by an electric motor.

California Vehicle Code Section 21235 requires that motorized scooter operators:

  • Wear a helmet — applicable to both minors and adults. (Only a tiny percentage of riders wear helmets. This is a huge problem. But electric scooter companies can solve this problem. Click here to see the simple solution they should implement immediately.)
  • Have a valid driver’s license or instruction permit. (The Bird scooter company requires that riders be 18 or over.)
  • Do not operate the scooter with any passengers.
  • Do not carry any package, bundle, or article that prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Do not operate the scooter on a sidewalk, except as necessary to enter or leave adjacent property.
  • Do not leave the scooter lying on its side on any sidewalk, or park it on a sidewalk in any other position that would not leave an adequate path for pedestrian traffic.
  • Do not attach the scooter, or the operator, while on the roadway, to any other vehicle on the roadway.

According to California Vehicle Code Section 21223, if riding at night, the motorized scooter must have a front light that is visible from the front and sides, and reflectors that are visible from the rear and sides.

Why You Need a Lawyer After an Electric Scooter Accident

Because they are a new form of transportation, electric scooter accidents can involve tricky and unsettled legal issues. You want a lawyer who has experience handling electric scooter accidents. For example, if you were injured on a Lime electric scooter, and are considering making a claim against Lime, you probably don’t know that the user agreement you signed when you downloaded the Lime app shrinks the deadline to file an injury claim from two years to one year. Unless you read Lime’s 261 page user agreement, you wouldn’t know this. Nobody’s reads the ridiculously long user agreements that these scooter companies require riders to sign. Yet the scooter companies will attempt to use the user agreements against injury victims as a basis to deny a rider’s claim.

An electric scooter accident can result in serious injuries that can affect you and your family for the rest of your life. If someone else was at fault, they should pay for your medical bills, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering. You want a tenacious personal injury lawyer on your side to demand fair compensation for your losses. At McGee, Lerer & Associates, our husband and wife team of Santa Monica attorneys specialize in helping victims of particularly serious injuries.

Initial consultations at our law firm are free. If you decide to hire us, you pay us nothing up front. We are only paid if we recover money for you. Learn more about how we’re paid here.

Contact McGee, Lerer & Associates today by calling (310) 692-9582.

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