When walking or driving around any major metro area, you will likely see an electric scooter riding on the sidewalk or roadway. Electric motors power these motorized micro-mobility vehicles, which consist of a floorboard and handlebars with a throttle and hand brakes.
While electric scooters are a convenient and fun way to explore the city, they have proven controversial. Reports of scooter accidents continue to pile up across the country, with many cities banning these micro-mobility vehicles or imposing restrictions on their use.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries while riding a scooter, you might deserve financial compensation from negligent parties. Speak with a Chicago scooter accident lawyer at Abels & Annes, PC, to discuss your particular situation and explore your compensation options.
According to one study, accidents involving scooters nearly doubled in recent years. Most scooters travel at a speed of up to 15 miles per hour, fast enough to cause serious injuries when they crash.
The following factors make scooters so dangerous:
- Visibility. Scooter riders are less visible to motorists than other vehicles. A car driver may not notice a scooter, especially if something obstructs the view.
- Lack of protection. Unlike motor vehicle occupants, scooter riders do not enjoy the protection of seat belts and airbags. The lack of protection increases the risk of serious injuries in scooter-vehicle collisions or single-scooter accidents.
- Sidewalk riding. While many cities prohibit scooters from riding on the sidewalk, others don’t. In locations without a ban on sidewalk riding, scooters may easily collide with pedestrians or get hit by vehicles when crossing the street.
- Road hazards. Many scooter accidents occur when the rider hits a pothole, cracked pavement, gravel, or crashes into obstacles on the road.
- Scooter instability. Unlike other vehicles on the road, scooters have only two wheels, which makes them less stable due to the higher center of gravity. The lack of stability makes scooters more prone to accidents from losing balance.
- Lack of experience. In many cases, scooter accidents involve an inexperienced rider who has never ridden before. Scooter companies do not require riders to pass a safety course before permitting them to ride.
- Abandoned scooters. The advantage of riding a scooter is that the rider can leave the scooter in any location after they finish riding. Unfortunately, this often results in abandoned scooters on walkways and roadways, which create road hazards for other people.
Many scooter accidents involve multiple contributing factors. An in-depth investigation by an experienced personal injury lawyer may be necessary to determine why the scooter accident occurred and who is responsible for it.
Scooter riders face many safety risks when riding on sidewalks or roadways.
Some common causes of accidents involving scooters include:
- Driver error. When scooters are not allowed on sidewalks, they need to share the road with cars, trucks, and buses. If a driver of another vehicle was negligent or reckless in causing the scooter accident, the injured rider could pursue a claim against the motorist.
- Poor road conditions. Because scooters are two-wheeled vehicles, they are vulnerable to road conditions. Any potholes, cracks in the pavement, debris on the road, and other dangerous road conditions can lead to accidents. When this happens, the injured scooter rider may sue the government entity responsible for road maintenance in the area.
- Scooter malfunction. Not all scooters get adequate maintenance from the rental company. When scooter parts are improperly maintained or defective, the scooter may experience a malfunction, resulting in a devastating accident, especially if the rider was traveling at high speeds when the accident occurred.
- Collisions with pedestrians. Cities that allow scooters on sidewalks create an increased risk of scooter-pedestrian accidents. There have been countless reports of scooters hitting pedestrians from all across the country.
Scooters may suffer life-threatening injuries due to the negligence of other motorists, scooter companies, or the city government. A Chicago scooter accident lawyer will determine what caused the accident and identify liable parties in your case.
Chicago scooter accident victims can obtain compensation for their injuries by taking some sort of legal action against the parties with legal liability to them.
Every scooter accident has unique facts and circumstances, of course, so no single answer will cover who has a legal liability to you if you get injured in one. However, generally speaking, victims of scooter accidents can take legal action for damages against anyone whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or conduct caused their accident and injuries.
Parties who meet that description may include:
- Motorists. Drivers of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and any other motorized vehicle can face legal liability to a scooter accident victim if their imprudent actions (changing lanes and not noticing a scooter is already in the lane, for example) or failures to obey traffic laws (ignoring right-of-way rules, which apply to scooters just as they do to other vehicles, for instance) lead to a crash.
- Bicyclists. Bicyclists can face legal liability for causing a crash in the same manner as drivers of motor vehicles.
- Pedestrians. A pedestrian who causes an accident by, for example, stepping into the path of a scooter without looking, can face legal liability for causing the scooter rider’s injuries.
- Scooter manufacturers. If a defect makes a scooter unreasonably dangerous to ride, then the scooter’s manufacturer can face legal liability for any resulting accident.
- Scooter-sharing companies. Companies that provide scooters for public use have a basic responsibility to inspect, maintain, and repair their fleets of scooters. Failure to take these essential safety measures can saddle companies with liability when a scooter breaks down and causes an accident.
- City government. Our tax dollars are supposed to go, in part, toward keeping our streets safe for the public, including scooter riders. If a government agency fails in its responsibility to repair or warn about unreasonably dangerous street conditions, then it could face legal liability for a scooter rider’s injuries.
These are just some of the parties who could face legal liability to you. To identify the specific parties who you can hold financially accountable for your injuries, contact a Chicago scooter accident lawyer.
Scooter accidents are associated with a wide range of injuries. The severity of injuries suffered by scooter riders depends on many factors, including whether or not the scooter was hit by a motor vehicle, the speed of the scooter at the time of the accident, and many others.
A report found that injury to the head accounted for 32 percent of all scooter-related injuries.
Other common types of injuries in scooter accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of a limb
- Injuries to the lower or upper extremities
Seek immediate medical attention after the scooter accident. You need detailed documentation of your injuries to seek fair and full compensation for your injuries and losses. If you do not go to a doctor immediately after the accident, the insurance company could deny your claim arguing that you suffered your injury somewhere else.
Every claim has unique characteristics that determine how much money a victim has a right to seek as damages. The value of scooter accident injury claims can range from thousands to millions of dollars if there are catastrophic injuries.
In general, scooter crash victims can often sue for:
- Medical bills and
- Lost income, both past and estimated for the future;
- The lifetime value of earnings, if the accident caused disability (inability to work at a former occupation); and
- Property damage, if your personal property sustained damage in the accident.
- Pain and suffering;
- Harm to personal relationships; and
- Diminished quality or enjoyment of life.
Damages may vary widely from case to case and victim to victim. The severity of the injury, the prognosis for recovery, and the victim’s age, income, and overall state of health all play a role.
Seeking compensation after a scooter accident can be a daunting task because the insurance company may not be willing to provide a reasonable settlement offer. The insurer may argue that you were injured somewhere else, that your injuries are not as severe as you claim, or that you were partially or fully at fault for the accident.
Consider hiring a Chicago scooter accident lawyer to handle all communications with insurance companies and fight for the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will estimate your case value and determine what settlement amount would be fair to compensate you for all your losses and damages.
These factors may affect your scooter accident
- The nature and extent of your injuries
- The cost of medical treatment, physical therapy, and rehabilitation
- Whether or not you will fully recover
- The loss of income
- The diminished earning capacity
- The impact of the injury on various aspects of your life
- The loss of enjoyment of life
Determining the value of your scooter accident claim presents challenges to those without legal training. Thus, speak with an experienced lawyer to consider all the factors involved and calculate a fair settlement offer.
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence, and claims stemming from scooter accidents are no exception.
However, when alleging that another party was negligent, the injured party must prove:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
- Causation (the breach caused the accident)
A Chicago scooter accident lawyer can examine your case recover damages on your behalf.
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to offer a quick settlement to the injured party. However, the injured person may not know whether or not they should settle their claim so quickly. As a rule of thumb, a quick settlement offer is a lowball offer that does not compensate the victim for all their losses and damages.
However, once you accept the settlement offer, you automatically give up your right to pursue further legal action in connection with the scooter accident. For this reason, you might want to speak with a Chicago scooter accident lawyer before you accept the insurance company’s settlement offer or sign any documents.
Your lawyer will accurately assess your case to ensure that the proposed settlement amount would be fair and reasonable compensation for all your losses and damages.
An experienced lawyer can assess your situation and plan a strategy for the best way to get you the money you deserve.
That strategy may involve:
- Investigating to identify all parties who may be liable and how much money the law permits you to seek;
- Gathering and preserving all available pieces of evidence for your legal claim;
- Negotiating with those parties and their representatives to achieve a favorable settlement of your claim, if possible; and
- Litigating in the courtroom, if necessary, to convince a judge and jury to award you damages in the event negotiation settlement alone does not produce results.
Get started by speaking with a Chicago scooter accident lawyer from Abels & Annes, PC, right away. Our experienced legal team will advise you on your legal rights and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Get ahold of us at (312) 924-7575 or through our contact page and we will provide you with a free claim evaluation right away.