A motorized scooter is a powered stand-up scooter that features a small utility internal combustion engine or an electric motor. It is a form of micro-mobility designed with a large deck on which the rider stands. E-scooters have been accepted by many and are a fun way to get around.
However, like motor vehicles, e-scooters pose a risk to riders and pedestrians. The riders are at risk of getting struck by a moving vehicle and sustaining catastrophic injuries. In the United States, there are hundreds of electric scooters on the roads, with companies like Lime and Bird offering rentable scooters.
The high rentals also mean increased chances of accidents. This is why many wonder what their legal options are after an accident involving electric scooters. Our personal injury attorneys at Glenn Law can answer all the questions you have about your legal right as a victim of an electric scooter accident.
Are Electric Scooters Legal in Dallas?
When e-scooter companies took the United States by storm, states had no choice but to enact laws that would accommodate the ride. In Texas, it is legal to ride e-scooters on the roadway. However, an e-scooter rider must maintain a speed of 35 miles per hour.
A rider can use the sidewalk as Texas does not have laws explicitly prohibiting e-scooters from sidewalks. But their municipalities have the right to enact laws banning e-scooters from sidewalks. Dallas has such legislation.
While the city laws allow e-scooters, users can only ride them on public paths or trails set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Also, an e-scooter rental company can only rent scooters to those who are 18 years and above and have a valid driver's license.
Rental scooter companies like Lime and Bird, and Skip require riders to consent to the safety agreement on their e-scooter app. Furthermore, Dallas requires dockless scooter riders below 18 to wear a helmet. The latter is a safety precaution.
The Dallas Scooter Ban
Dallas is one of the cities in Texas and the United States that widely accepted e-scooters as a mode of transportation. But the acceptance meant increased accidents and injuries. In the fall of 2020, a news report revealed that the Dallas Department of Transportation banned scooters.
The move came after city residents complained about the misuse of scooters. However, the ban is temporary, meaning that scooters will be back on city streets once the city addresses safety concerns. So, before that happens, it is wise to keep yourself informed on safe riding tips and your legal options if you get into an accident.
Do Scooter Drivers Have to Obey Traffic Laws?
Electric scooters fall into the same category as road vehicles. It means that the same traffic laws that apply to motor vehicle drivers, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders apply to them. In other words, e-scooter riders must obey traffic signs, stop at lights, and pay attention to right-of-way rules.
Dockless scooter riders have a duty of care to other road users. They must follow the flow of traffic and maintain their legal speed limit. A rider of the motorized vehicle must not operate it faster than is safe for road conditions.
Texas law forbids e-scooters on highways, and as such, riders must stay off those roads. By following this law and staying predictable to other motorists, electric scooter riders can avoid collisions and scooter injuries.
What Are the Risks Associated with E-Scooter Accidents?
Whether it's biking around cities or e-scooters, there is always a high risk of accidents. This is because every collision is a result of negligence. For motorized vehicles like scooters, the risk is higher, but most people believe that the ride is completely safe.
With this belief, they fail to consider all the risks before hopping on a motorized vehicle. Some even fail to study the app tutorial that scooter rental companies provide. All these careless acts amount to negligence and would likely cause accidents.
Below, we list some of the risks associated with scooters.
- Inexperienced riders
- Defective scooters
- Small size
- Distracted drivers
- Drunk drivers
- Lack of protection in a collision
- Poor e-scooter maintenance
- Vulnerability to road defects
- Electrical malfunctions
- Lack of helmet usage
- Brakes locking in transit
- High-risk operator behavior
What Are the Types of E-Scooter Accidents?
The circumstance of a collision determines the type of electric scooter crash. The accident could happen on bicycle paths, sidewalks, or public roadways. An e-scooter rider can collide with a fixed object or with other motorists.
The most common electric scooter collisions are:
- Scooter-Pedestrian Collisions: Although Dallas forbids riders from riding on sidewalks, many people still do it. This creates a competition for space between riders and pedestrians and ultimately causes accidents. A collision between motorized scooters and pedestrians can cause severe damage.
- Vehicle-Scooter Collisions: When riders fail to use their designated pathways, they put themselves at risk for collisions with motor vehicles. Drivers can be inattentive, reckless, or impaired and might be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting a scooter rider. Also, in such collisions, the rider is more at risk for catastrophic injuries.
- No-Contact Accidents: This happens when an e-scooter operator moves out of the road to avoid a collision. Although the vehicles won't touch in such situations, the electric scooter rider might still end up crashing. If the vehicle rider were the fault party, they would be liable for damages.
- Defective E-Scooter Accident: Some rental scooter accidents are a result of manufacturing or design defects. The defects can cause brake lines or other malfunction in transit, resulting in crashes. Liability in cases like this would lie with the manufacturer or the e-scooter rental company if they were aware of the defect.
- Fixed-Object Collision: If a rider fails to pay attention to the road ahead or properly control the vehicle, they could crash against a fixed object. The latter could be a guardrail or parked vehicles.
What Are the Common Injuries Sustained in E-Scooter Accidents?
E-scooter accidents have both mental health and physical consequences. A report by Statista revealed that between 2014 and 2018, the United States saw a surge in traffic injuries due to e-scooter use. The number of injuries went from 4,583 in 2014 to 14,641 in 2018.
Injuries sustained in motorized vehicle accidents are similar to those of motorcycle and bicycle collisions. Some of the common injuries are:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Bruising and contusions
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries
- Road rash
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Back, neck, and spine injuries
- Permanent injuries
- Emotional injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Wrongful death
There are many e-scooter ER visits by injured e-scooter riders. These injured riders have to spend thousands of dollars in medical care. This includes long-term care and medical equipment.
Injuries are why you need to know the steps to take after an electric scooter accident. It is important to contact an electric scooter attorney to know about your legal rights. The fault party's insurance company might try to devalue your claim and pay your less than you deserve. But you can prevent it by working with an experienced attorney.
Can I Sue After an E-Scooter Accident in Dallas?
The simple answer to this question is YES. You can sue after an e-scooter crash as long as you are not the fault party. This is because Dallas, like the rest of Texas, uses the fault system.
In the fault system, a traffic accident victim is entitled to compensation from the fault party. This is why it is crucial to identify who the fault party is following an accident. You can do this by taking the following steps after a crash:
- Call the police to the accident scene to investigate
- Gather evidence by taking photos, talking to witnesses, and collecting video footage, if any
- Get a copy of the police report once it's ready
If you are severely injured and can't do any of this yourself, our personal injury attorneys can help you. Our lawyers will speak with the investigating authorities on your behalf and gather all the evidence needed to prove your claim.
Who Can You Sue?
Having established that you can sue for an e-scooter accident injury, the next question is, who can you use? We will look at this as a scooter accident victim and as an at-fault scooter driver.
Firstly, if a car driver is involved and caused the accident, you can sue them to recover compensation. Drivers often carry auto liability insurance, so you can bring a claim against their insurance carrier. If the insurer refuses to pay or the driver does not have coverage, the next course of action is a lawsuit.
Secondly, you can sue the e-scooter company if the accident resulted from a defect with the vehicle. In this instance, you must show that the company had prior knowledge of the defect and failed to fix it. The preceding is also the ground for suing the e-scooter manufacturer.
Thirdly, if the electric scooter driver is at fault, a victim can sue them for compensation. However, you will be unable to join the rental company in the lawsuit. This is because most user agreements free rental companies from liabilities in a rental scooter accident.
A Glenn Law Personal Injury Attorney Is Your Best Option!
Were you involved in an e-scooter accident and don't know how to get compensation for your losses and injuries? A personal injury lawyer from Glenn Law is who you need. Our lawyers have the expertise needed to represent you and get you the maximum compensation. We work on a contingency basis and offer free consultations. Contact us today to get started.