Electric scooters are growing in popularity in cities across the country, from the east coast to the west coast. However, as electric scooters—or e-scooters as they are commonly known—become more common among recreational users and even commuters, the rate of personal injury is also likely to rise. Indeed, according to a recent report in CNN News, electric scooters pose serious personal injury risks, and people of all ages are sustaining serious injuries on these devices.
In fact, two electric scooter companies are now the target of a class action lawsuit that alleges the companies engaged in “gross negligence” in providing these products when the companies should have known that they would pose serious injury risks to the public, according to an article in The Washington Post. What do Floridians need to know about electric scooters and the risks they pose? And could the class action lawsuit grow to include additional plaintiffs?
Understanding E-Scooter Injury Risks
As the article underscores, very few people wear helmets when they ride electric scooters, and a fall can quickly result in a debilitating head injury. For some riders who fall from electric scooters, they suffer concussions and a loss of consciousness, not to mention broken bones, bruises, internal bleeding, road rash burns, and severe lacerations.
For example, the CNN News report describes a 28-year-old e-scooter user “who grew up riding dirt bikes and motocross” who sustained potentially life-threatening injuries in an accident. That 28-year-old is also a firefighter and was riding an e-scooter along with five other firefighters. The accident happened when the rider “struck a bump in the road and flew off the scooter.” Since he wasn’t wearing a helmet, a hit to the head resulted in the rider losing consciousness and suffering a brain bleed. Indeed, he had to undergo “emergency surgery to relieve the pressure in his head.”
As the report notes, nonfatal injuries are not the worst injuries that electric scooters have caused. To be sure, at least two users suffered fatal injuries in e-scooter accidents.
Allegations of Negligence Against Electric Scooter Companies
Given the electric scooter users are not always required to wear helmets—even in some states that require bicyclists to wear helmets—many safety advocates argue that users should be required to undergo at least some sort of training in order to be safe on these vehicles. However, electric scooters are extremely easy to rent, and users do not have to acknowledge any safety obligations.
The report underscores how “users can locate and unlock the devices using their smartphones,” and there is extremely limited safety information required before a user can take a scooter. For instance, one of the electric scooter companies only “shows users a series of graphics that tell riders to do things such as ‘bring your own helmet’ and ‘ride in bike lanes.’” Some users have the option of watching a safety video, but it is not required to rent a scooter.
Sometimes accidents happen because users simply do not understand the serious risks associated with e-scooters. In other situations, the scooters have malfunctioned and have caused serious injuries as a result. The class action lawsuit is in its early stages, and it could become larger in the coming months depending upon other potential injury victims. Electric scooters currently are available to rent in 70 different cities.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in West Palm Beach
Whether you were injured on an electric scooter in South Florida or elsewhere, you may be able to file a claim. You should discuss your case with a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC for more information.