Scooter sharing programs have been popping up in U.S. cities for the past couple of years. For as little as $1, an electric scooter can be rented and reaches speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. Although electric scooters may be good for the environment, they can be bad for consumers. From defective scooters to auto accidents, any Nashville rider could wind up with a severe injury. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we assist personal injury clients throughout Nashville with their scooter accident claims. We will negotiate with the insurance company and, if necessary, represent you in the courtroom to make sure you receive compensation for your injuries.
Dockless Scooter Accidents: What You Need to Know
In the summer of 2018, Nashville Metro Council approved regulations to allow scooter companies Bird and Lime to operate in the Music City. The ordinance sets a cap on the number of scooters each company can have in Nashville. It also forbids riders from operating them on sidewalks in business districts.
Although dockless scooters can help with traffic problems, there may be an increase in personal injury claims. In 2019, Vanderbilt Medical Center’s trauma ICU director explained that it’s getting approximately one brain injury per month after a dockless scooter accident, an injury that the rider will never recover.
Not only are the scooters causing injuries following a car accident, but they can also break apart on a rider. Since September 2018, Lime has been under fire for safety issues after several riders received injuries when a Lime scooter broke apart while in use. Photos throughout social media feature scooters broken into two, often where the baseboard and stem meet. During the fall of that same year, Lime announced that these e-scooters, manufactured by Chinese company Okai are no longer on the streets.
This incident is not the first time Lime has faced safety issues. A 2018 class action lawsuit has been filed in California citing gross negligence on behalf of scooter rental companies which led to many injuries to pedestrians and riders.
Lawsuits on these shared scooter ride systems have continued to pop up across the country as recently as 2020.
Liability in E-Scooter Accidents
Much like ridesharing programs Uber and Lyft, scooter ridesharing has experienced a meteoric rise with little to no regulation. Since this industry is so new, it’s easy to be confused about what your next legal steps should be. Both Lime and its rival Bird make users sign liability waivers. However, these waivers do not bar claims of gross negligence.
For example, if your scooter breaks apart while you are riding on it, you may have a product liability claim. In Tennessee, any party that manufactured, sold, or marketed the defective product can be held responsible for your injuries. So not only can you bring a suit against Lime or Bird, but also the manufacturer of the scooter. It is the responsibility of the scooter company to maintain the vehicles. Failure to do so can result in a scooter riding accident and a subsequent personal injury claim.
But what if you are involved in a car accident while riding a scooter? In addition to filing a claim with your own insurance company, you may be able to file a third-party claim with the driver’s insurance company. You may also file a complaint against Lime or Bird if a malfunction of the scooter led to the accident.
Other examples of liability in e-scooter accidents include:
Scooter operator: If you are hit by an e-scooter driver who is operating the device inappropriately.
Car, truck, or motorcycle driver: If you are utilizing an e-scooter and a driver of a larger vehicle fails to see you, causing an accident.
Pedestrian: Pedestrians who are walking and using their cellphone may have a higher risk of liability in an accident if they cause an e-scooter operator to become injured.
Scooter company: If there is a malfunction in the scooter that causes an accident, there may be ways to negate the liability waiver.
Property owner or municipality: If you get injured because of the road conditions such as debris or potholes, you may be able to sue the individual property owner or municipality.
Damages in Nashville E-Scooter Accidents
If you are injured in an e-scooter accident in Nashville or the surrounding areas, you may be able to recover damages for the following:
Medical expenses: hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, medications, etc.
Lost wages due to missed work related to injuries sustained
Pain and suffering
Our Nashville E-Scooter Accident Lawyers are Here to Help
If you receive an injury after riding a dockless scooter in Nashville, you need to know what legal options are available to you. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we use all the legal tools available to help victims across Tennessee. We understand how life-changing these accidents can be and will make sure you receive compensation from those responsible for your injuries.
The time to act is today. Contact the Tennessee e-scooter accident lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC today for a free consultation.