Scooter Accidents & Injuries: What Do I Need to Know?
Scooter accidents are becoming more of a problem in big cities in recent years. In places like Miami Beach where pedestrian foot traffic mixes with cars and now, scooter traffic, laws surrounding this transportation are receiving more clarity. For many Florida Personal Injury attorneys, the legal requirements for scooter accidents require familiarizing themselves with brand new legal territory. Not only the latter, but lawyers must start becoming familiar with new procedure as quickly as it becomes available. A Board Certified lawyer is no stranger to staying up to date on the laws surrounding new modes of transportation.
In fact, as apps like Uber and Lyft inch their way to the forefront as some of Miami’s preferential means of transportation, it was Board Certified lawyers who first availed themselves to clients sustaining injuries using rideshare. Their peers are following suit, and now nearly every Personal Injury law firm sees their share of Uber and Lyft related cases.
The same will soon be true of Florida scooter litigation. While this mode of transportation is not entirely new (its origins date back to the late 1990s) laws surrounding it are more recent.
This Shaked Law Firm article seeks to provide readers with the most up to date information available on scooter accidents and the legal procedure surrounding such cases. Our lawyer-backed publications promise to provide the facts insurance companies attempt to hide from victims.
What are some safety hazards of electric scooters?
Those who are familiar with the agility it takes to safely handle a scooter while out and about on South Beach will know such skill didn’t come overnight. As with most things, practice makes perfect. Even after practicing, there are still risks involved in the usage of electric scooters. These risks include everything from going too fast to ignoring pedestrians, causing injuries to both the rider and the person walking. Those who feel comfortable riding a scooter around may think they can zip past a pedestrian unharmed, when in fact the inability to slow down quickly enough when moving at a high rate of speed can cause serious and in some cases life-threatening accidents.
What injuries occur as a result of scooter accidents?
Personal Injury lawyers are seeing more scooter accident cases in the last five years, over the last year specifically, when for whatever reason, the use of this type of transportation is becoming more of a hazard. Ease of access to scooters around Miami, the simplicity of the devices, and affordability all play a role. However, scooters pose a serious public safety risk. Not only to the person handling the scooter, but to those around them who may sustain injuries as a result of improper riding. Ease of use is not a synonym for engaging in recklessness!
Accident lawyers are seeing numerous injuries resulting from Florida scooter accidents. Some of those accidents are in the list below:
- Road rash; road burns
- Broken bones
- Herniated disks
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury
Sustaining an injury in a scooter accident can be as severe as those resulting from motorcycle accidents. This is due to the open nature of the device. While cars provide decent amounts of bodily protection in the event of an accident (airbags come to mind, for example), scooters, like motorcycles, do not offer such 360º protection.
What is the legal side of Florida scooter accidents?
In the recent surge of electric scooter accidents, many injuries were avoidable. Unsafe driving practices play a large role in the surge of scooter accidents over the last five years. Pedestrians tripping and falling over scooters with parking violations was another serious cause of injury. Due in part to lack of standard regulation during this spike in accidents, class action litigation was brought in October of 2018 against two of the largest scooter rental companies. Scooter manufacturers are also named in these lawsuits. These companies face accusations of “gross negligence”.
Read more: What is Negligence in Personal Injury Law?
The two scooter companies with litigation against them are attempting to circumvent any harsh penalties by inserting liability waivers as well as unfair arbitration clauses inside rental agreements. This unfair practice is an attempt to dissuade any form of lawsuit against the companies for injuries occurring while using the companies’ scooters. Accident lawyers are now finding these cases even more complex, and are dedicating long hours to resolving them in favor of the clients who sustain serious injuries.
What legal recourse is occurring for scooter accident claims?
The slow but steady first step to providing legal recourse for clients with scooter accident injuries is here. Class action lawsuits are currently proceeding on behalf of clients who sustain scooter injures. Lawyers are also working on eliminating the use of arbitration in such Florida accidents. The practice of arbitration as an Alternative Dispute Resolution method is unfair and does not side in favor of the party with injuries, by default. Using the arbitration method, clients never receive fair compensation, because this method favors companies.
It’s important to scooter safe, South Florida!
It’s important for those choosing to use a scooter while out on the beach to know its proper handling. Driving a scooter, much like riding a motorcycle, requires long term practice.
In conclusion, there are several things a new driver can do to ensure their, and everyone else’s, safety while cruising Miami sidewalks.
- Practice in daylight. It’s important to practice riding in well lit areas or, more preferably in the daylight hours. Riding a new vehicle in the dark can cause life-threatening injuries. Both for the rider and anyone out on the street who can’t see them zip by.
- Practice in less busy areas. South Beach is not the place to practice scooter riding. The crowds, and people constantly rushing to cross the street or sitting at restaurant tables outside. Small children, pets, and other distractions can cause those with little experience to end up in a crash. Practice in places where the streets are mostly empty of foot traffic.
- Read, read, read! One of the most important things a new rider must do is read all instructions for proper handling of the scooter. Read any rental contract BEFORE signing it, and then, read it again prior to use. Ignoring safety precautions or failing to understand what’s being signed can pose a serious threat to public safety. Accident lawyers see too many injured pedestrians due to lack of proper scooter usage.