The e-scooter rental business is booming. Companies like Lime and Bird have started businesses from Los Angeles to Atlanta renting out electric scooters everywhere from cities to college campuses. The process is simple: download the app, find a scooter, give your credit card info, and hop on. Once your destination has been reached, you leave the scooter there for the next person. While the scooters are currently a hot new trend, one question is remaining unanswered: who pays for the injuries suffered when a rider falls off or runs into a pedestrian, injuring them? The Insurance Journal reports on the story.
The fledgling business has grown billion-dollar startups almost overnight. There’s even a gray-market for freelance scooter-charging. As with any new trend, specifically a motorized one, it’s also opened avenues for litigation.
Lawyers who are attempting to litigate both for injured riders and pedestrians now have data from the first study into scooter injuries. It’s a limited study, involving only 249 patients who were seen at two Southern California emergency rooms. The great majority of those seeking treatment were scooter riders as opposed to pedestrians. They were also mostly male.
The study revealed that a great majority of the riders failed to adhere to traffic laws or even wear a helmet, despite being atop a vehicle that can reach 15 m.p.h. Another thing that a great majority revealed: few failed to even read the user agreement, which generally included a liability waiver.
The inclusion of such a liability waiver makes litigation an uphill battle. That still hasn’t stopped a class-action lawsuit from injured pedestrians against the scooter manufacturers and rental companies in California. Lawyers for the litigants claim that the companies should have been aware that making scooters available would trigger the vehicles into becoming a danger and a nuisance to the public.
Another factor, especially in pedestrian injuries, is that the name of the rider of the scooter may not be known, particularly in what is being termed “scoot-and-run” injuries.