Poor California Road Conditions and Scooter Accidents
Who’s Liable if Poor California Road Conditions Cause Your Scooter Accident?
Electric scooters are now one of the most exciting and popular forms of transportation in California. And this is hardly surprising, because there are so many positives to renting a scooter. Scooters are a fun, cheap, and convenient alternative to driving. A user can practically rent a scooter on the spot -- and they seem to be everywhere -- and then simply leave it on the street once they arrive at their destination. Plus, they’re eco-friendly.
However, it should come as no surprise that an electric scooter can also be very dangerous, especially given how ambiguous the rules that regulate their usage are. While it’s true that a majority of scooter accidents are caused by negligence, many scooter accidents can also be caused by defective or broken scooters. And then there are some scooter accidents that are caused by neither: this third type of scooter accident can actually be caused by poor sidewalk conditions.
Below, our experienced scooter accident lawyers will discuss scooter accidents that are caused by poor sidewalk conditions. If you or a loved one suffered injuries as a result of a scooter accident, West Coast Trial Lawyers is always here to answer any questions you may have about claims and damages available to you.
Premises Liability and Scooter Accidents
Scooter accidents that are caused by someone’s negligence or a product defect are two very different circumstances that 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 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. Furthermore, 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?
Who Do I Sue?
It depends. A scooter rider who was hurt on another person’s property can typically file a premises liability claim for damages against any person or company that owns, leases, occupies, or controls the property where the accident took place.
Property owners or managers cannot completely shield themselves from liability by delegating the important task of maintaining their property in safe conditions. A property owner or manager is always responsible for the safety of their premises, even if they delegate maintenance tasks to an employee or hire an independent party who is then found guilty of negligence.
In summary, anytime a hazardous condition contributes to causing injuries, the property owner or manager can be held responsible for the resulting damages. According to respondent superior laws, the principal will be held liable for the negligence of one of their agents.
If you or a loved one was involved in a scooter accident, our qualified scooter accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There are no financial risks involved when using our services.
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