William W. Hurst
Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC
50 S. Meridian St., Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204
E-Scooters are becoming overwhelmingly popular and they are creating a new legal landscape. Bird and Lime companies have both stated safety as a top priority. However, studies have shown riders and pedestrians have suffered scooter related injuries. A small study showed that about 40% of scooter related injuries were head injuries and about 32% suffered broken bones.
Disregarding warnings by scooter companies and ignoring traffic laws have been cited as main reasons for injuries. Although, injuries have been linked to pedestrians tripping over scooters or being hit by scooter riders as well. One user was riding a scooter when the handlebars came loose which caused him to fall. There have been various injuries linked to e-scooters, whether suffered by a pedestrian or rider. These injuries have caused multiple lawsuits to be filed, though the question remains who, if anyone, is liable.
In order for a user to ride most e-scooters, they must agree to the scooter operating agreement. By agreeing to the scooter operating agreement, users waive liability. After waving liability, scooter users will have a very difficult time pursuing a lawsuit against e-scooter companies. Though, pedestrians injured by these scooters may have an avenue to recover for their injuries.
A class action was filed by people injured by scooter users in California against Bird, Lime, and other E-scooter companies. The plaintiffs allege gross negligence and that e-scooter companies should have known their scooter would become “an unsafe, dangerous, and damaging public nuisance.” Even though pursuing a lawsuit on behalf pedestrians is easier than filing on behalf of scooter riders, it is not without complications. On some occasions, a pedestrian may not know who the scooter rider is that hit them, a “scoot and run” may have occurred.
Other avenues exist for holding riders responsible for their own negligence in riding the scooters, but many of those theories are untested at this time. There could be possible claims against the individuals in which the homeowners/renter insurance policies or auto insurance carriers would provide indemnity. The last possible avenue would be going after the individual without an indemnifying entity, but those lawsuits are often more trouble than they’re worth as collecting from an individual who doesn’t have the money to pay a judgment often proves impossible.
The injuries related to e-scooters will continue along with their popularity and an increase in the number of lawsuits will likely occur. The outcome of these lawsuits will dictate the new legal landscape surrounding e-scooters and who may be held liable.
If you were in an e-scooter accident, you will need a lawyer who is not only staying current with all of the new laws regulating the industry but who knows how Indiana courts may interpret existing laws to cover e-scooters. Our experienced personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of William W. Hurst can help. Contact us today at (317) 636-0808 or online for a free consultation.
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