The Legal Impact of E-Scooter Accidents: Liability and Compensation

The Legal Impact of E-Scooter Accidents: Liability and Compensation
Personal Injury |October 05th, 2023

E-scooters have taken New Orleans by storm, offering a quick and convenient way to zip through traffic. Whether visiting the Big Easy or looking for something fun to do locally, there are at least six e-scooter rental companies in the city.  These compact vehicles are especially popular among young adults and professionals looking for an alternative to traditional public transport or car services. However, the rising popularity of e-scooters comes with its own set of challenges, notably an increase in accidents and safety concerns. While these scooters provide an efficient way to get around, sharing the road with cars, bicycles, and pedestrians creates a mix contributing to collisions and injuries. Moreover, not all riders follow traffic rules or wear protective gear, adding another layer of risk.

Common Causes of E-Scooter Accidents: More Than Just a Fall

E-scooter accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, and it’s not always as simple as a rider losing balance. One common cause is equipment malfunction, where a scooter’s brakes or motor fail, leading to loss of control. Road conditions also play a significant role; uneven surfaces, potholes, or debris can make for a hazardous ride. Additionally, rider behavior contributes to many accidents. Speeding, ignoring traffic signals, or weaving between cars increases the likelihood of a mishap. Pedestrians, too, can inadvertently become part of the problem by stepping into the path of an oncoming scooter without warning. Finally, car drivers who are not vigilant about sharing the road with smaller vehicles like e-scooters can cause collisions

Types of Injuries: From Minor Scrapes to Major Trauma

When it comes to e-scooter accidents, injuries can vary widely in severity. On the milder end of the spectrum, riders might experience scrapes, bruises, or minor cuts. However, more serious accidents can result in significant harm such as fractures, dislocations, or even head injuries. In some unfortunate instances, collisions with larger vehicles like cars or trucks can lead to life-altering conditions or fatalities. Facial injuries and dental damage are also not uncommon, especially if a rider is not wearing a helmet or other protective gear. Injuries to the hands or wrists can occur as riders instinctively try to break their fall. With a range of possible injuries, it becomes clear e-scooter accidents are not to be taken lightly. Awareness of these potential outcomes can encourage safer riding habits and more cautious behavior on the road.

Legal Framework: Understanding Liability in E-Scooter Accidents

Liability in e-scooter accidents can be a complex issue, often involving multiple parties. In some cases, the rider might be at fault for reckless behavior or ignoring traffic rules. However, other times, the blame could lie with car drivers who fail to yield the right of way or are otherwise negligent. Equipment malfunction can also introduce the possibility of the scooter company being held responsible. Local laws and regulations further complicate the matter, as different jurisdictions have their own rules governing e-scooter use and liability. For example, some cities require riders to use bike lanes, while others allow scooters on sidewalks. In multi-vehicle accidents, determining fault can become even more complicated. Given these complexities, understanding the legal framework surrounding e-scooter accidents is important for anyone involved, whether as a rider, pedestrian, or motorist.

Insurance Coverage: What’s Included and What’s Not

Insurance coverage for e-scooter accidents can be a gray area, leaving many people uncertain about what is covered and what is not. Traditional auto insurance policies generally do not extend to e-scooters, and not all e-scooter rental companies offer insurance options. Some riders might find partial coverage under their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, but these policies often have limitations. Personal injury protection (PIP) or health insurance would cover medical expenses, but usually won’t address property damage or other liabilities. In cases where another vehicle is involved, the driver’s auto insurance might offer some coverage, depending on the policy and who is found at fault. Given these variables, it’s important for riders and other parties to be aware of their insurance options and limitations when it comes to e-scooter accidents.

Steps to Take Immediately After an E-Scooter Accident

In the moments following an e-scooter accident, taking the right steps can make a significant difference in outcomes. First and foremost, checking for injuries and seeking medical attention if needed is paramount. If possible, moving the e-scooter and any other vehicles involved out of the path of traffic can prevent further accidents. Documenting the scene is also helpful; taking photos of the accident location, the e-scooter, and any other vehicles involved can serve as valuable evidence later. Witnesses can provide additional perspectives, so collecting contact information from anyone who saw the accident is a good idea. Filing a report with local authorities can also be beneficial, as it creates an official record of the incident. Being aware of these steps can help individuals be better prepared in the unfortunate event of an e-scooter accident.

Building a Strong Personal Injury Case: Evidence and Documentation

Building a robust personal injury case after an e-scooter accident often hinges on the quality of evidence and documentation gathered. Photos of the accident scene, the e-scooter, and any other vehicles involved can provide compelling visual evidence. Medical records detailing the extent of injuries and treatments received are also important. Witness statements can offer additional perspectives and may corroborate a claim. In some cases, surveillance footage from nearby businesses or traffic cameras might be available and can serve as unbiased evidence. Keeping a record of any expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills or property damage, can help in quantifying the financial impact. 

Settlements and Court Verdicts: What to Expect in Compensation

E-Scooter Injuries

When it comes to e-scooter accidents, compensation can vary widely depending on the specifics of each case. Settlements and court verdicts take into account several factors, such as the severity of injuries, the extent of property damage, and the circumstances leading up to the accident. In some instances, individuals may receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and even emotional distress. If a rider is found to be at fault, compensation may be reduced or denied altogether. In multi-vehicle accidents, the distribution of fault among parties can also influence the amount awarded. 

If you have suffered an injury on an e-scooter, contact Alvendia Kelly & Demarest today at 504-200-0000 to schedule a free consultation.