Scooter accidents that are not caused by someone’s negligence or a product defect are different and will involve unique considerations. According to California Civil Code 1714(a): “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person…”
This means that a property owner or manager can be held liable if they fail to maintain their premises in reasonably safe conditions. This can of course include a street or roadway that is owned by a government entity.
Determining who’s at fault in a premises liability case is complex. Premises liability lawsuits require an injured individual to prove that he or she was harmed because of a property owner/manager’s negligence. An injured individual must specifically prove that the:
- Defendant leased, owned, occupied, or was controlling the property where the incident took place
- Defendant acted negligently regarding use or maintenance of the property
- Plaintiff was hurt
- Defendant's negligence was the primary factor that caused a plaintiff's injuries
As mentioned, all property owners have a duty of care to reasonably maintain their premises. A duty of care for a property owner essentially encompasses any actions that a reasonable property owner should take or should have taken in similar circumstances. It’s also important to understand that a property owner’s duty of care may vary depending on who is on their property. Also, there are situations where an injured individual contributed negligence towards causing an accident. In such cases, liability may be shared between the property owner and the injured individual. For example, let’s say that a scooter rider was under the influence when the accident occurred. However, the scooter rider did ride over a piece of badly damaged sidewalk, which did contribute towards causing his or her accident. The fact that the scooter rider was intoxicated does not negate the reality that poor sidewalk conditions contributed towards causing his or her injuries. In this case, a court will determine an appropriate way of dividing up liability.
When it comes to deciding if a property owner/manager breached his or her duty of care, the following will be considered:
- How likely is an injury to occur given the circumstances?
- How serious could such an injury be in these circumstances?
- Did the owner know about or should have known about the hazardous condition that caused the accident?
- Where is the property located?
- How much of a burden would it have been to minimize or eliminate the hazardous condition?
- How much control did the property owner have over the hazardous condition?