The use of e-scooters is becoming increasingly common, especially in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Unfortunately, riders do not always operate these scooters with precaution, and they can cause accidents the same as drivers operating any other motor vehicle.
And while California law requires e-scooters to be ridden on the road or in designated bike paths, most e-scooter accidents happen on sidewalks. Unfortunately, this means pedestrians are often the ones injured in these accidents.
Typically, when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, they would simply file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. But there are not many laws yet concerning e-scooter operation, nor are riders required to carry e-scooter insurance, which means recovering compensation as an injured pedestrian can be difficult.
However, if a pedestrian is injured due to someone else’s negligence, they have a right to file a claim to recover compensation. This includes California scooter accidents.
So, how can a pedestrian recover compensation after being hit in an e-scooter accident? Let’s take a look.
E-Scooter Accident Statistics
As e-scooter accidents become more common, experts have started conducting research to understand these types of accidents better. And one recent study found that the annual number of e-scooter accident injuries in the U.S. spiked by 222% from 2014 to 2018! In 2014, there were 4,582 injuries as a result of e-scooter accidents, and in 2018 there were 14,651 injuries reported.
Additional e-scooter accident statistics include the following:
- Emergency room visits for e-scooter accident injuries jumped 70% from 2017 to 2021.
- E-scooter injuries most commonly affect the head, neck, and upper and lower limbs.
- The majority of e-scooter accident victims are between the ages of 18 and 40.
- 91.6% of those injured in e-scooter accidents are the riders themselves, but 8.4% are pedestrians.
- Most emergency room visits for e-scooter accidents occur between 3 pm and 11 pm.
- Less than 4% of e-scooter riders wear a helmet.
- Alcohol consumption is a common contributing factor in e-scooter accidents.
Who Is Liable When an E-Scooter Hits a Pedestrian?
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle, including e-scooters, has a duty to operate the vehicle with care so as not to cause harm to others. Thus, if an e-scooter rider causes an accident and injures someone else, they are viewed as having neglected their duty of care and can be held liable.
Some people wonder if e-scooter companies like Lime or Bird Rides can be held liable, but this is rare. When a rider rents an e-scooter, they must first sign a waiver that essentially states that they are accepting full responsibility for any accidents. This means that if an accident occurs, the rider is responsible for paying out of their own pocket for damages and injuries caused either to themselves or to others, such as pedestrians.
In California, because it is against the law to ride an e-scooter on the sidewalk, if a pedestrian is struck on the sidewalk, it will 100% be viewed as the e-scooter rider’s fault. However, there are potential situations where the pedestrian could be at fault.
For example, pedestrians must also obey traffic laws and are often only allowed to cross the street in designated areas when they have the signal to do so. And even if a pedestrian is allowed to cross the street in an undesignated area, they are still required to do so with caution.
So if a pedestrian were to suddenly dart out into the street in front of an oncoming e-scooter or if they cross when they have the don’t walk signal, they could be held liable themselves.
Recovering Compensation for an E-Scooter Accident as a Pedestrian
Knowing who was at fault for an e-scooter accident is one thing, but actually getting compensated for damages and injuries is another thing altogether.
If the e-scooter rider is at fault, and they were riding a Lime scooter and opted in for accident and liability coverage, you could possibly be compensated for your injuries as a pedestrian through that coverage. However, most e-riders do not opt-in for coverage if it’s even an option in the first place.
So if an e-scooter rider is at fault and they don’t have insurance coverage, you would have to file a claim against them as an individual and they would have to pay out of pocket for the accident-related expenses. But the chances of the rider having enough money to pay for damages out of pocket are slim.
Some insurance policies have something called personal liability umbrella policies (PLUP), which can provide coverage for accidents that are typically excluded from auto insurance and homeowners insurance, such as e-scooter accident coverage. However, it is also rare for e-scooter riders to have PLUP coverage. But it is a potential option if it’s available.
If the accident was not your fault as an injured pedestrian, you could also look into filing a claim through your own uninsured motorist coverage. However, some auto insurance policies may have exclusions for e-scooter accidents, so you will have to double-check with your individual policy language in detail to see if there is an e-scooter exclusion. Some insurance policies will exclude e-scooter riders as uninsured motorists, and some will not.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
If you are injured in an e-scooter accident in California as a pedestrian, your best option is to work with a personal injury attorney.
As there aren’t many traffic regulations regarding e-scooters, and with insurance coverage being questionable, navigating an e-scooter accident claim as a pedestrian can be challenging. You will need the help of an attorney who has experience handling these kinds of accidents to ensure the best possible outcome.
At Sally Morin, we truly care about the people of California. We understand how confusing and uncertain e-scooter accidents can be and are dedicated to helping our clients get the compensation they deserve for their injuries and other damages.
Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.