Getting Help After a Scooter Injury
The law is always slow to catch up with emerging technologies. It has not yet fully caught up with the complexity of rideshare companies. Now there is a new technology to accommodate: Rideshare scooters.
You may have noticed these scooters out and around the Denver area. People can grab one and scoot away. But are they considered vehicles under the law? Do they follow the same basic rules as bicycles? Who is liable when someone gets injured? An experienced Scooter injury lawyer can help you with your claim.
These are all questions that are somewhat difficult to answer. Since the craze began in California, there have been calls to ban the scooters on the streets, calls to reduce the number of available scooters, and just a general sense that they are a major nuisance to everyone.
But there are those that enjoy them. They scoot responsibly. They make sure to leave their scooters in an area where they won’t cause a tripping hazard. And they don’t injure anyone while scooting.
On the other hand, there are many who carelessly use the devices, causing injuries to others. Since scooter riders are not required to carry scooter accident insurance, the question of liability can be difficult to parse out. When is the scooter company responsible for an accident and when is it the fault of the individual operating the scooter?
Scooter Regulations in Denver
Initially, Denver banned scooter share companies from distributing scooters in the city. That lasted for about a month. The idea was to get some semblance of regulations passed in order to ensure the safety of the general public. What does that actually mean?
Denver passed a Dockless Mobility Vehicle Pilot Permit Program, which sounds like a tongue twister but is actually now the law. This new law classifies scooters as “toy vehicles.” Unlike bicycles, they are only allowed to operate on sidewalks. While this keeps scooterers safe, the scooters themselves are capable of traveling at 15 mph. Most pedestrians cannot move that fast.
In addition, Denver has made certain areas off-limits to scooters. There is the added stipulation that those on scooters must yield to pedestrians at all times. This is one step closer to creating a “rules of the sidewalk,” similar to “rules of the road”. In addition to these regulations, scooter-riders are “urged” to watch their speed. They’re also “required” to deposit their scooter in a place that won’t block other pedestrians.
Understanding Dockless Scooter Liability and Accidents
Who is responsible when an accident occurs between a dockless scooter and pedestrian or vehicle? Dockless scooter riders have the same rights and responsibilities as a pedestrian. The only thing is, they must yield to other pedestrians when operating their scooter. So if a scooter rider his you while you’re walking on the sidewalk, it’s generally going to be their fault. But the question of liability does not end there.
Different Types of Scooter Accidents
There are a few different types of scooter accidents. Some of the most common include:
- Accidents in which the scooter itself malfunctions. If you’re a scooter rider, the scooter company has a duty of care to rent you a functioning scooter. If the brakes lock up while you are scooting along, it can send you hurtling head-first into traffic or another pedestrian. The chances of a severe scooter injury are very high. In this case, the scooter company can be held liable for your injuries.
- Accidents in which the scooter rider is responsible for damage to person or property. Since Denver has passed expanded rules regarding scooters, it clarifies who is responsible in the case of a scooter accident. In most cases, it will be the scooter riders responsibility to avoid pedestrians and yield the right of way. Except for extreme cases in which a pedestrian hurls themselves into a scooter rider, the scooter rider will be held liable for any injuries they cause.
- Accidents in which a third party injures a scooter rider. If injured by a car other vehicle, a scooter rider can file a claim against the driver’s insurance. If it’s determined that the scooter rider is less than 51% liable for the accident, they can recover damages for their injuries.
Electric Scooter Deaths
Since electric scooters can go up to 15 mph, there is a chance that severe injuries and even death can occur. Often, this is a result of either a careless scooter rider, a careless motorist, or, in some cases, a defective scooter.
If a defective scooter is responsible for the accident, then the company is responsible for injuries. In the case of a death, the family of the victim can file a wrongful death suit against the scooter company.
It’s important to understand that electric scooters can be dangerous. Those who get into an accident are six times more likely to die than those who ride bicycles. This has a lot to do with rules certain cities have imposed on scooter riders. Thus far, there have been no fatal accidents here in Denver. This may be due to the fact that Denver prohibits scooter riders from operating scooters in traffic.
Contact a Personal Injury Scooter Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured by someone on a scooter, were injured by a driver while riding a scooter, or were injured because your scooter malfunctioned, the scooter injury attorneys at the Law Office of Steve Roberts can help. Our attorneys have been managing personal injury lawsuits for decades and understand how new technologies can impact future legislation and regulations that keep us all safe. Give us a call or talk to us online to set up a free consultation today.