Scooter accidents are on the rise in Chicago. Since more and more people are turning to the cost-effective means of transportation, the number of first-time scooter users on the streets has sky-rocketed.
Add to that the popularity of scooters amongst young trend-setters and the streets of Chicago have seen an influx of these small vehicles on the roads.
With the added scooter traffic, inexperienced riders, and scooter malfunctions, it’s no surprise the number of scooter-related accidents have spiked.
As we see an increase in injuries and deaths from scooter accidents, it’s important to learn about what causes these accidents, how manufacturers can play a role, and how to avoid becoming a victim when you’re out on the road.
Let’s take a closer look at this trending topic with everything you need to know about Chicago electric scooter accidents.
Most Common Injuries in Electric Scooter Accidents
An early study this year showed that electric scooters were to blame for at least 1,545 accidents in the US over a year.
Patients reported being injured from scooter accidents that occurred while:
- Driving a scooter
- Struck by a scooter driven by someone else
- Struck by another vehicle while on a scooter, or on a parked scooters
The following scooter injuries have commonly been reported:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Punctured lungs
- Bleeding of the brain
- Other traumatic brain injuries
- Severe bleeding
- Organ damage
- Nerve or tendon injuries
Injuries related to electric scooters come from a variety of causes, including:
- A bicyclist was injured after a scooter user on the wrong side of the road crashed into him.
- A fatality that resulted when an electric scooter crashed with a flat bed truck.
- Pedestrians becoming injured after tripping over scooters that are improperly parked in the streets or walkways.
- Rider injury from pedestrians driving too fast or driving with little experience of how to operate the scooters.
- Pedestrian injury after having been hit by scooters while walking or running.
- Injuries from scooter malfunction such as loose handlebars, unexpected stopping of the vehicle, or inability to stop.
While the above list doesn’t show all of the injuries that have been sustained over the years as this means of transportation became popular, it does touch upon some of the most common injuries that have been seen in electric scooter accident lawsuits.
Who Is Responsible for Electric Scooter Accidents and Injuries?
Because electric scooters and the rental services associated with them are recent to the last few years, there aren’t many laws and regulations surrounding them.
That means scooter companies aren’t held to certain specifications when it comes to how to operate these machines and what road rules their users must follow.
Some large cities have taken action to regulate scooters and scooter rental companies in their areas. Believe it or not, some cities have even banned this means of transportation all together. For cities that have approved the use of scooters and scooter vendors, regulations range from open to strict.
Some cities don’t offer rules of the roads, while others provide basic guidelines, and others have strict regulations.
When it comes to electric scooters and the accidents that they cause, there are 4 common cause for concern amongst riders:
- Illegal sidewalk riding
- The speed at which a rider operates the scooter
- Car accidents
- Abandoned scooters placed in areas of foot traffic
If you or someone you love have been in an electric scooter related accident, the first thing you might wonder is who is responsible?
It depends on the cause of the accident. Let’s take a look at some common examples of accidents and who is liable.
Who is Liable?
- If a pedestrian is hit by a scooter user, the user is responsible unless the accident was caused by some sort of scooter malfunction.
- If a car and a scooter collide, the liability falls on the person who did not follow the rules of the road. It would be similar to the rules of a bike and vehicle crash. Whichever person did not follow the regulations or laws of the road, would be responsible. In some cases, responsibility may be shared.
- If an accident is the result of a scooter malfunction, the scooter company can be held liable for any injuries to the user, pedestrian, or vehicle that was affected.
- If an injury was caused by a non-operating scooter, the scooter company would be likely to be held liable. For example, if a pedestrian tripped over a non-operating scooter.
- The city can also be held liable in the case listed above, especially if there is an over abundance of scooters in pedestrian walkways. That’s because the city is responsible for regulating these vendors.
- If an accident was caused by an unmaintained roadway, walkway debris, or unmarked hazards, the city may also be liable.
- In the same respect, businesses that fail to maintain their work areas, roadways, or walkways could also be responsible if that is the cause of an accident.
What Should I Do If I’m Involved with an Accident Involving an Electric Scooter?
If you or someone you love is involved in an accident with an electric scooter, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can help determine who is truly at fault of the accident. If you are entitled to compensation, a personal injury attorney will ensure you get the amount you deserve in the time you deserve it.
Take these steps when being injured on a scooter:
- Immediately seek medical attention.
- Gather as much evidence as you can from the scene.
- Make a note of the exact location, time of day, what was going on around you.
- Take down the information of any witnesses who may be able to retell exactly what happened.
- Take pictures.
- Call the police to make a report.
- Keep track of all repair and medical expenses.
Keep Yourself Safe with These Great Tips
In addition to making sure that you get the money you deserve if you are a victim of an accident, it’s important to follow the necessary steps to make sure you aren’t the cause of an accident. Many first-time electric scooter users are the reason accidents happen.
The lack of experience and little knowledge of the rules of the ride and how to operate the vehicle can leave you at risk of hurting yourself or others.
If you decide to operate an electric scooter, follow these safety measure to avoid an accident:
- Wear a helmet at all times, even when the law doesn’t require you to do so.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Be courteous of pedestrians, cars, and other vehicles.
- Watch your speed.
- Follow the rules of the road. If you don’t know them before you take off, ask or research them.
- Be sure you have a proper license.
- Do not operate a scooter under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Try to stay off the road at night.
Top 10 Chicago Electric Scooter Companies in 2019
Electric scooters come from a variety of different manufacturers today. That’s because the industry has become so popular. In addition to manufacturers releasing products, there are large number of scooter rental providers all over the United States.
This is particularly popular in large cities and tourist areas, like Chicago, where people need a fast means to get around.
When it comes to manufacturer malfunction, it’s important to know what you’re buying before you purchase a scooter. You always want to choose the safest option when you’re on the road. But how do you know this is the case when you choose to use a scooter rental company?
It is the obligation of scooter rental providers to ensure their rental scooters are safe and that riders are properly informed of risks before they take the road.
Here’s a look at some of the most well-known electric scooter companies and rental providers on the market today.
Bird scooters are available in over 100+ cities worldwide and the company claims to “care deeply about improving mobility in cities across the globe.” Whether you purchase their scooter or rent from one of their many Bird Rides Inc. providers throughout the world, their products are sleek, good-looking, and innovative.
But, are they safe?
Bird representatives have been quoted many times over the years as saying they put safety first. However, they were also one of the major proponents in the passing of a September 2018 California law that removed the legal requirement for scooter riders to wear helmets.
While the company stands by the safety of their products, they have also been cited in a number of lawsuits throughout the US. This includes a class-action lawsuit from 2018 in Los Angeles that claims Bird Rides Inc. and Lime were responsible for injuries to 9 people.
Bolt Scooters is a convenient app that pairs up riders with scooters to rent in their area. The company is more popular outside the United States, but made its official US launch in Richmond, Virginia. Although scooter-related lawsuits are on the rise, Bolt is not one of the major players commonly named in these lawsuits. The company does put a major emphasis on safety when you log on to the app or visit their website. They even give a few quick tips on how to ride with scooters, including where’s the safety place to be when you’re on the road.
This year, grüv is one of the 10 vendors Chicago approved to supply 250 scooters each for transportation around the city. Like most of the scooter rental apps, you can plug in your location and find the latest scooter to rent and ride.
The start-up does seem to place an emphasis on safety, but that’s based on their trendy website. They use a play on their company name by featuring a whole page of content titled “Safety is grüvy.” It talks about the importance of helmet safety and cites local laws requiring the use of helmets when riding. It also talks about where to ride, where to park, and the rules of the road.
The company has not been directly cited in any major lawsuits as of July 2019.
As if it’s surprising, Uber has gotten in on the scooter-sharing operation as well with Jump. Their scooters are designed in Brooklyn and San Francisco to transform the means of transportation in busy cities and tourist areas.
As with many other scooter companies, Jump claims to put an emphasis on safety. Their app and website offer helpful tips that encourage you to wear your helmet, inspect your scooter before riding, and know the road and traffic laws. They even partner with popular helmet companies to offer discounts to Jump riders.
As the company expands into cities all over the United States, they have yet to become at the forefront of scooter accident lawsuits.
Lime electric scooter sharing company has been at the top of the discussion when it comes to scooter accident lawsuits. Along with Bird Ride Inc., Lime was one of the main players in e-scooter rentals since 2017. Although the company puts an emphasis on safety and helmet wearing, like most scooter share companies, they don’t provide the helmets for riders.
They do, however, provide a video tutorial on their website for riders to see how to safely use the scooters.
Just like Uber, it wouldn’t be long until Lyft moved into the scooter-share industry. But it has had a surprisingly late introduction compared to other companies. Maybe that’s why Lyft hasn’t been at the center of many lawsuits, but it’ll be interesting to see how each of these companies come around with the recent rise in scooter-related accidents and deaths.
While the company does emphasize safety, it also shares features like “up to 15 MPH” on its home page. For an inexperienced rider, this could be a dangerous speed.
Sherpa scooters are definitely on the lower end of popularity in the big cities. For example, the maximum number of scooters allowed to operate on the streets of LA from Sherpa are only 670 compared to Bird’s 6,500 and Jump’s 2,750.
While Chicago is keeping everything the same across the board (allowing each vendor to bring in 250 scooters), there isn’t much information on Sherpa scooters like there is the other popular vendors.
Spin hasn’t just taken the large cities by storm, they’ve also opened their scooter share operation to campuses in Alabama, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Michigan, and California. The Ford owned company has kept its name clean so far.
This could be because of the emphasis they put on safety, including a major statement on their website encouraging riders to stay away from carrying passengers.
The Veoride scooter’s claim to fame is its introduction to the market as the only electric scooter with a swappable battery. The company was started by a team that noticed the lack of reliable and convenient transportation when they were students on college campus.
Since one founder had a background in engineering and the bike industry, and another had a background in business and finance, the two came together to create Veoride.
Having just been released in February of this year, there are no lawsuits currently pending for this company.
Wheels is a little different than most electric scooter companies on the market. That’s because their product is one you sit on and ride rather than stand and ride.
Despite the fact that the company is backed by some prominent professionals, it was already the center of controversy since its January 2019 launch date. That’s because the company was illegally staging its bikes for rent around the city of Santa Monica without authorization.
Let’s hope this is the only bump in the road for the new company, and they aren’t the center of controversy for more serious charges.
Frequently Asked Questions About Electric Scooter Accidents
Finally, take a look at some of the frequently asked questions about electric scooter accident lawsuits. They should provide you with quality insight into your rights and what to do if you are victim of negligence in a scooter accident.
Who Can File a Electric Scooter Injury Lawsuit?
If you’ve been hurt during an electric scooter accident, you have the right to file a lawsuit if the accident was caused by:
- The negligence of another motorist
- Malfunctioning electric scooters or their parts
- An electric scooter rider
While it’s sometimes difficult to tell who is at fault during an accident, the police should be able to determine that for you.
Hiring an experience personal injury attorney who has deal with electric scooter cases can also be beneficial.
What Type of Evidence Should I Gather?
If you are trying to file an electric scooter claim, try to gather the following bits of information:
- The scooter that was involved
- Accident scene photos
- Witness statements or information
- Police reports
- Doctor reports
- Medical treatment records
How Quickly Do I Need to File an Electric Scooter Claim?
In most states, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Talk to your personal injury attorney as soon as possible to see what the rules and regulations of your state may be.
You should file your claim as soon as possible to increase the strength and value of your case and get your compensation in the timeliest fashion.
What Type of Compensation Am I Entitled To?
If it can be proved that another party is liable for your accident, you may be entitled to the following compensation:
- Medical bills from injuries related to the accident
- Future medical bills for continued recovery
- Lost wages
- Permanent disability
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
How Should I Get My Electric Scooter Lawsuit Started?
If you or someone you love have been a victim of an electric scooter lawsuit, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Be sure they are ready to evaluate your potential claim and go over your options.
Find an attorney you can trust to give you sound advice and work on your behalf.
When you find a great attorney who knows the laws and can bring your case to a successful resolution, you’ll get the compensation you deserve so you can recover from your accident quickly and easily.