Electric scooter ride-sharing companies are operating all over the world. These pick-up and drop-off e-scooters can be fun to zip around town, without having to worry about parking or waiting for the bus. However, e-scooters can be annoying for pedestrians and cyclists who have to share the sidewalks and roads with these inexperienced riders.
Not surprisingly, putting new motorized vehicles in the hands of people without any training or experience can be dangerous. E-scooter riders have a higher rate of injury compared to other transportation modes, including bicycles, e-bikes, and cars. Injury victims can include riders, pedestrians, or cyclists.
A personal injury lawsuit after a scooter accident can allow the injury victims to seek financial compensation for their losses. The e-scooter company may try to blame the accident on the driver. A car and scooter accident may have a driver who blames the whole accident on the rider. When the accident victim is unsure of what to do next, they may just give up.
Before you give up, see the information below about e-scooter accidents in Colorado. If you were involved in a scooter accident, talk to a lawyer about your rights. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your case and work to get you the maximum compensation after an injury accident in Denver. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Electric Scooter Accidents in Denver
According to a survey conducted by Denver Public Works, between August 2018 to January 2019, about 60% of people surveyed have been involved in a crash with an e-scooter or had a “near miss.”
Not long ago, a 26-year-old man was riding an electric scooter in downtown Denver when he was struck by a car, and died from his injuries. The man was not wearing a helmet.
A survey of e-scooters in Austin, Texas found some disturbing numbers about the prevalence of injury and death when e-scooters were introduced to their city. The 2018 study found, of 190 injured scooter riders:
- 33% were injured during their first scooter ride
- Almost half (48%) had injuries to the head
- 70% suffered injuries to the upper limbs, including hand, wrist, arm, or shoulder
- 55% suffered injuries to the lower limbs, including leg, knee, ankle, and feet
- Over 1/3rd of the injuries included a broken bone with almost 20% having multiple bone fractures
- 55% of injuries occurred while the riders were in the street and 1/3rd while the riders were on the sidewalk
In a BMJ article on “The e-merging e-pidemic of e-scooters,” a study of patients examined the incidence of injury, injury patterns, prevalence of helmet use, and use of drugs and alcohol in e-scooter trauma. The study found that e-scooter related trauma increased significantly over time and alcohol and drug use were common in injured riders. Helmet use is rare, and significant injuries were involved in over half of the accidents.
Common Causes of E-Scooter Accidents
There can be many causes of an e-scooter accident, including accidents caused by the riders themselves, caused by drivers, or due to unexpected factors like a malfunctioning scooter. Common causes of e-scooter accidents include:
- Lack of experience
- Poor road conditions
- Icy and snowy conditions
- Careless riding
- Violating traffic laws
- Not wearing a helmet
- Listening to headphones while riding
- Distracted riding
- Riding under the influence of alcohol
- Riding while high
- Riding in the dark
- Not watching out for pedestrians and cyclists
- Riding on the sidewalk
Common E-Scooter Accident Injuries
E-scooter accidents can range from minor scrapes or sprains to serious injuries. Injuries can be made worse because most riders do not use a helmet. Only scooter riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. The dockless scooters do not come with helmets and most of the dockless scooter riders do not carry their own helmet. This can increase the risk of a head injury.
Like trip and fall injuries, e-scooter accidents often involve the rider falling off and landing on the ground. People may try and brace themselves with their hands or arms, causing upper limb injuries. Other riders may fall back, landing on their spine and hitting their head on the cement, causing serious head and back injury. Common e-scooter accident injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken arm
- Broken hand or wrist
- Broken leg
- Broken hip
- Facial trauma
- Internal injuries
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Spinal injury
Personal Injury Claims for E-Scooter Accidents
A personal injury claim allows the injury victim to seek compensation for their injuries. The injury victim may need to show that another party was liable for their injuries and can ask the jury to determine the amount of an award to cover their damages.
Fault in an e-scooter accident may depend on the type of accident. A driver may be liable for causing an accident with an e-scooter. An e-scooter rider may be liable for causing an accident with a pedestrian or cyclist. The e-scooter company may be liable for causing injury to the rider. Talk to your Denver accident attorney about who may be liable for your injuries.
Even if an accident is partly caused by the scooter rider, the scooter rider may be able to claim partial damages. Under Colorado's modified comparative negligence, the damages recovered by the plaintiff will be reduced based on the plaintiff's degree of fault. However, if the plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, the plaintiff cannot recover anything in damages.
Does the E-Scooter Rider Have Auto Insurance?
If an e-scooter rider is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, the rider's auto insurance policy may be able to cover some of the damages. Check with your auto insurance policy to see if it covers injuries involved when the policyholder is not operating a car at the time of the accident.
Damages in a Scooter Accident Lawsuit
Damages in a scooter accident are intended to compensate you for your losses. Damages can include both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Damage to property
Non-economic damages may represent more subjective losses, including:
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Emotional stress
- Impairment of the quality of life
Filing an E-Scooter Accident Personal Injury Lawsuit
After being injured in an e-scooter accident, there is a limited amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations may be different, depending on the type of accident and injury victim. In most personal injury lawsuits, the injury victim has 2 years from the date of the injury or accident to file a claim.
However, there is a 3 years statute of limitations for accidents involving a motor vehicle. Some states categorized e-scooters as “toy vehicles,” not motor vehicles. However, Colorado passed legislation to remove e-scooters as toy vehicles and classify them as vehicles for use on the roadways. Depending on the type of accident, an e-scooter accident lawsuit may have to be filed within 2 or within 3 years from the date of the accident or injury.
If the injury victim is a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the individual reaches the age of 18. This generally means a minor injured in a rideshare accident has up until before turning 21 to file the lawsuit.
However, it is important to contact your Denver lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Waiting too long could mean you lose out on your chance to get compensation. For example, claims against the State of Colorado or city or county agencies generally have a shorter notice requirement and the injury victim may need to file a notice with the state within 180 days from the date of the accident.
E-Scooters in Colorado
The rules and regulations surrounding electric scooters in Colorado are continually changing. Cities like Boulder banned them, in the beginning, to watch how other cities dealt with the new modes of shared transportation. Other cities, like Denver, were forced to deal with the change when thousands of electric scooters were dumped across the city overnight with the Dockless Mobility Pilot Permit Program.
The most common e-scooter companies operating in Denver, Boulder, and other areas, include:
Denver City Council, with a recommendation from Denver Public Works, voted to unanimously ban electric scooters on Denver sidewalks, and required users to stay on the streets or in bike lanes. However, many riders still operate on the sidewalk, leave the scooters on the sidewalk, or stop and block bike lanes. Many tourists who use e-scooters while visiting Denver seem to be unaware of the rules or disregard them with little fear of enforcement.
Denver Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented scooter riders, pedestrians, and cyclists injured on the roads in the Denver area. Our experienced attorneys understand how the insurance and scooter companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.