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Electric Scooter Craze Brings Personal Injury Risk, Lawsuits

Laura Thomas Nov. 26, 2018

The newest public transportation trend aims to cut down on short vehicle trips, therefore eliminating unnecessary pollution. Electric scooters have been placed in over 100 major cities worldwide, including Kansas City, for citizens to rent. The intent for these scooters may be to solve a growing problem, but personal injury lawsuits filed in reference to these scooters are starting to pile up.

The Beginning of the Electric Rental Scooter Fad

Earliest reports of these scooters available for rental were made in October of last year, but the trend did not gain momentum for several months. The scooters appear to be reducing pollution like they were meant to do, as they have already replaced millions of short car trips, according to The Denver Post.

Several different “e-scooter” companies exist, such as Bird, Lime, and Skip. Kansas City is one of a few cities in America that has both Lime and Bird scooters available for rental. Lime descended their scooters on the city in September and are already dealing with local concerns on their recent recalled scooter models. According to the Kansas City Star, Lime refuses to comment on which models have been deployed to Kansas City streets or how many of said scooters have been decommissioned. This means riders have no way of knowing for certain if the models they are operating have been recalled. The models in question have been recalled for breaking while in use and batteries that catch fire. Lime has stated they are replacing these defective scooters with newer, safer models.

Current Lawsuits and Reports

Hundreds of riders and pedestrians have landed in hospitals with injuries ranging from severe gravel rash to knocked-out teeth, ripped out toenails, and detached biceps. In September, three people even died while riding scooters in Dallas, Cleveland, and Washington D.C.

Nine people injured by electric scooters filed a class-action lawsuit last month in Los Angeles. Bird Rides Inc. and Lime, as well as their manufacturers- Xiaomi Corp. and Segway Inc., are being sued for gross negligence. The nine injured parties claim the companies knew the scooters were dangerous and deployed them anyway; knowing they would cause injuries. According to Insurance Journal, these two companies alone have handled more than 20 million rides combined.

According to the lawsuit, two of the plaintiffs were injured by tripping over scooters that were left on the sidewalk. Four injured parties were struck from behind as they were walking, including a 7-year-old child who suffered damage to eight of his front teeth and needed stitches on his lip.

Since this lawsuit was filed, the personal injury attorney who represents the plaintiffs in California has received calls from over 75 people who have sustained injuries from these scooters, one of which is a 67-year-old man with a brain injury.

To view the entire 62 page California lawsuit, click here.

Moving Forward

Citing public safety concerns, San Francisco and Santa Monica are two cities that have temporarily banned electric scooters. Both cities have also filed criminal complaints against various electric scooter companies that have operated them in their areas without a business permit. Concerns with recalls for previously stated issues, as well as accelerators and brakes locking up, also contribute to pulling the plug on these scooters.

As the previously mentioned California lawsuit states, “while acting under the guise of the commendable goals of furthering personal freedom and mobility and protecting the environment, the defendants…are endangering the health, safety, and welfare of riders, pedestrians and the general public”.

In the event of injuries resulting from these electric scooters, whether a pedestrian or a rider, contacting an experienced personal injury attorney is important. Biesterveld & Crook, LLC offers free initial consultations to injured parties.