The Trouble With Scooters: E-Scooters and Personal Injury

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on December 11, 2018

Electric scooters have taken Nashville by storm. Since Bird scooters first appeared on the streets earlier this year, hundreds have been using the vehicles to zip around in cities across the state. Although these scooters are beneficial in reducing our reliance on gas-guzzling cars, many officials in the Music City are concerned with the safety of riders, pedestrians, and drivers as e-scooter accidents are beginning to spike.

In August, the Nashville Metro Council had approved regulations that would allow dockless scooter companies to operate in the city. The laws put a cap on how many e-scooters are permitted in the city and forbid riders from operating the scooters on the sidewalks in the business districts.

But according to one Nashville police lieutenant, riders are ignoring this ordinance, causing problems on our city’s streets. In an interview with the Tennessean, Lt. David Leavitt said he has seen several scooters driving down the sidewalks and a “stack” of vehicles were left at the foot of a pedestrian bridge before a recent Tennessee State game.

Scooter Crashes Can Cause “Life-Changing” Injuries

Just last week, a Bird driver was hit by a car in downtown Nashville. According to news reports, although the driver had the green light, the man who was operating the scooter ignored the light and drove out in front of the car. The scooter rider was treated for non-critical injuries following the accident.

This accident is not the first personal injury case seen in Nashville. According to Vanderbilt Medical Center Trauma ICU director Oscar Guillamondegui, many riders have sustained brain trauma after an e-scooter accident thanks to not wearing the proper safety gear. He explained that brain trauma could be “life-changing” since brain function doesn’t return to “baseline.”

Scooter companies have argued that riders are urged to wear helmets while riding scooters. However, Guillamondegui believes people don’t think of the implications of riding without a helmet, especially with the vehicles so readily available.

E-Scooter Accidents and Maintenance Issues

Then there’s the issue of maintenance. Bird and Lime claim to know about severe problems with the vehicles only when a rider flags an issue. Lack of scooter maintenance has led to several operators taking to social media with photos of scooters that had snapped in half while being operated. In response, Lime had recently pulled hundreds of defected vehicles from city streets.

The defective scooters have led to a class action lawsuit filed in California that cites gross negligence on behalf of the scooter companies, where defective vehicles had led to numerous injuries in both pedestrians and riders alike.

Although Bird and Lime have dozens of ads in search of mechanics, the only experience needed to fill the position is “some electronic repair experience,” a vehicle, and a smartphone. According to the Washington Post, these mechanics are trained by watching YouTube videos.

What to Do If You’re In an E-Scooter Accident

If you were seriously injured following an e-scooter accident in Nashville, it’s essential that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn your options. Although all riders are required to sign liability waivers, there may be other legal avenues available to you to receive compensation for your injuries.

The time to act is today. Contact the e-scooter accident lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC today for more information.