Los Angeles Scooter Accident Lawyer
Electric scooters have become increasingly popular across Los Angeles and will likely continue to roam the roadways and sidewalks for some time. However, with the prevalence of e-scooters, the number of accidents involving them has also increased. If you have suffered critical injuries in a scooter accident, you may have the right to financial compensation if someone else’s negligence or misconduct is the cause of your injuries.
When you are unsure of what to do next or how to hold the liable party accountable, reach out to an experienced Los Angeles scooter accident lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers. Contact our office today for a free consultation and learn more about what your scooter accident claim could be worth.
Common Los Angeles Scooter Accident Injuries
Although scooter accidents may have a reputation for producing minor injuries, this is often not the case. Until you have been injured in a scooter accident, you may not be aware of how debilitating accidents of this nature can be. It is important to keep in mind that the type of injury you are diagnosed with will not determine whether you have the right to pursue a case against the liable party.
As long as your injuries have had a significant impact on your life emotionally, physically, or financially, you have the right to be compensated accordingly. With that in mind, there are some types of scooter accident injuries seen more frequently in Los Angeles than others. Some of these include:
- Facial injuries
- Broken bones
- Compound fractures
- Road rash
- Organ failure
- Internal bleeding
- Other internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Neck injuries
- Herniated discs
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Lacerations leading to sepsis
- Contusions and abrasions
If you suffered another type of scooter accident injury that was not listed above, you may still have grounds for legal action. To find out what your legal options may be, reach out to a scooter accident lawyer in Los Angeles for legal guidance and support.
How to Know Whether You Have Grounds for Legal Action
When you are lying in your Los Angeles hospital bed after a scooter accident, you may not be sure what to do next. The thought of contacting a lawyer may cross your mind, but the last thing you want is to be accused of attempting to pursue a frivolous lawsuit. For this reason, you may want to consider the following questions:
- Have your Injuries had a significant impact on your life? Today? Are they expected to?
- Is someone else responsible for causing your scooter accident injuries? Could they be? Do you suspect someone else is at fault?
If the answers to any of these questions are yes, it may be in your best interests to reach out to a scooter accident lawyer in Los Angeles to find out whether you have grounds for a claim. Your attorney will need to prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence by proving that the four elements of negligence have been met as follows:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Speaking with a scooter accident attorney about your case is always free. Furthermore, working with a personal injury lawyer is often possible due to contingency agreements. If you have concerns surrounding the costs of hiring an attorney, you do not need to worry. Contingency agreements allow lawyers to handle the legal details of your case without requiring you to cover any out-of-pocket costs. You only pay your attorney’s fees if your scooter accident lawyer produces a recovery in your case.
What You Should Know About Scooter Accidents in Los Angeles
E-scooters have become a popular form of transportation. In September 2018, the city of Los Angeles passed regulations on dockless e-scooter systems, and by March 2019 it began allowing companies with permits to put e-bikes and scooters on the streets. The largest number of vehicles are found in the Westside, Hollywood, Koreatown, and Downtown.
They are fun, inexpensive, and convenient. However, it is no secret that they can be very dangerous. Even while following scooter safety guidelines, a vast majority of all e-scooter accidents are caused by someone’s negligence. If you were injured while using a scooter, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the guilty party for your losses.
Scooters and E-Scooters Defined
There is a difference between a scooter and an e-scooter. A scooter is a device with two wheels and a flat platform between the wheels. A scooter rider stands on this flat platform and propels themselves forward by kicking on the ground to gain momentum. An e-scooter is not propelled forward by a rider’s momentum, but rather by an electric motor.
The other primary difference is that an electric scooter travels at a speed of up to 15 miles per hour, which is much faster than a normal scooter. The potential for injuries or property damage only increases due to an e-Scooter moving at faster speeds. E-scooters, due to their speed and ease of use, have become the go-to choice for most scooter riders.
An e-scooter rider can easily rent an e-scooter using a Smartphone app for as little as a dollar a ride, plus mileage. An e-scooter rider then simply drops off that scooter anywhere on the street once they arrive at their destination.
It is perhaps more appropriate to say that there is a lack of e-scooter regulations in the state of California. In many cities, there simply are no traffic rules or regulations for e-Scooters. There are also areas of Los Angeles which are especially dangerous for e-scooter riders.
There simply are not many rules that control where e-scooters can and cannot go and many of these decisions are left to local governments to decide. This can become confusing, especially as it relates to issues of liability. One city may require their riders to remain strictly on the sidewalk or use helmets, while a neighboring city may allow them to ride on the street, as well.
Determining liability and available damages after an e-scooter accident can be best handled by an experienced Los Angeles scooter accident attorney. If you were involved in a scooter accident, there are important steps to take to help preserve your rights and strengthen your claim.
E-Scooter User Agreements
An e-scooter user agreement is a crucial component that can be used to determine liability in an e-scooter accident. All e-scooter users are required to sign this agreement. These agreements are legally binding between an e-Scooter rider and the scooter company. Perhaps the most relevant component of an e-scooter agreement is how much it limits a company’s liability after an accident.
For example, let’s consider Lime's user agreement, which:
- Requires a scooter rider to follow traffic laws, but doesn’t actually specify which laws or how to follow them
- Forces a scooter rider to claim that they are reasonably competent and physically fit enough to ride a-scooter
- Requires a scooter rider to perform extensive safety inspections before going for a ride, and worse, disclaims all liability for a defective e-scooter
Many such user agreements are long and complex documents. However, despite their confusing nature, a rider who breaks a single provision in a signed user agreement can be blamed by the scooter company for any injuries sustained as a result of an accident.
Liability for Scooter Accidents in Los Angeles
Establishing fault is one of the most important responsibilities your Los Angeles scooter accident attorney will have. There are several parties who could share fault for your scooter accident injuries depending on the details of your case.
First, many scooter accidents occur when a motor vehicle strikes someone who is riding a scooter. Negligent driving is often the cause of accidents like this. Some of the more common types of negligent driving you may be able to sue for include:
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Road rage
- Failure to yield to the right of way
- Failure to stop
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving
However, if a motor vehicle hits you, that does not necessarily guarantee that the driver is responsible. If a part of their car malfunctioned or the roadways were unsafe in some way, then auto parts manufacturers, government agencies, and other third parties respectively could be at fault.
Scooter accidents also occur when the scooters themselves malfunction. If the scooter you or someone you love was defective or malfunctioned in some way, thereby causing a serious accident or injuries, you may have the opportunity to file a claim against many parties, such as:
- The scooter manufacturer
- The scooter designer
- Scooter parts producers
- Establishments that sell electric scooters
- Electric scooter technicians
- Electric scooter companies
- Other third parties
An in-depth analysis of the cause of your scooter accident will reveal who is responsible for your damages. Your attorney will ensure that every party who shares fault is held accountable in your insurance and silver claims so you can maximize your scooter accident injury settlement.
California Pure Comparative Negligence Laws
While discussing liability for the scooter accident, it is important to consider what will happen if you are partially responsible for causing the accident or your injuries. Many injury victims hesitate to call a lawyer because they believe sharing fault will prohibit them from pursuing insurance or civil claims.
However, the state of California operates under a pure comparative negligence system. Here, sharing fault does not prevent you from recovering compensation. In fact, you could share up to 99% of the fault for the accident and still be compensated for that one percent of liability that is not yours.
Of course, you will need to be held accountable for your portion of falls. This is done by reducing the amount of compensation you are awarded in correlation with your percentage of the blame. Let’s look at an example:
Emmett and his friends were having a few drinks after work when they decided to take their electric scooters out. While operating their scooters, Emmett was struck by a distracted driver. However, because Emmett was under the influence at the time of the accident, the judge found him 30% responsible for his injuries. The jury awarded him $100,000 for his damages. Since Emmett shared 30% of the fault for his injuries, his $100,000 injury settlement was reduced to $70,000.
As you can see, sharing liability for your accident can have a considerable impact on the outcome of your case. That does not mean you cannot recover the compensation you deserve; but you will need to work closely with a scooter accident lawyer in Los Angeles to be sure that only an equitable amount of liability is placed on you where appropriate.
Types of Scooter Accidents
The more popular e-scooters become, the greater the number of accidents, as well. Below are the most common types of e-scooter accidents.
Single Scooter Rider Accidents
A majority of all e-scooter accidents occur when a rider simply loses control of the scooter. However, even a single scooter rider accident is not always the rider's fault.
Single e-scooter crashes also occur when a rider is following all safety regulations, but then comes across a bump in the road or a cracked patch of asphalt that causes them to lose control and fall. In these cases, the municipality can be held liable for any injuries suffered by the e-scooter rider.
There have also been instances where an e-scooter caused a crash. For example, a sudden outburst of scooter accidents was connected to defective Lime e-scooters. In that case, a rider may sue the company that provided the defective scooter.
Pedestrian Tripping Over a Scooter Accidents
Many e-scooter riders reach their destination and leave their e-scooter in an inconvenient place that can cause a pedestrian to trip over. A pedestrian who was injured after tripping over an e-scooter may be entitled to compensation for their losses, depending on the specific circumstances. Below are a few common scenarios that state who would be liable in these situations:
- An e-scooter rider, when he or she leaves a scooter on the street for a victim to trip over
- An e-scooter company, when the scooter is left on the street for an unnecessarily long period of time
- A premises owner, when the scooter was abandoned on private property
- A city, when it has the responsibility of removing e-scooters
Scooter and Pedestrian Accidents
It goes without saying that an accident between an e-scooter rider and a pedestrian can be very serious, especially when a pedestrian is struck from behind. Let’s consider two examples.
Example 1: Mary is waiting to cross a street. She checks for oncoming cars, but doesn’t see a man riding an e-scooter in the bike lane where he is allowed to be. Mary steps out into the street and is hit by the man on the e-scooter. In this case, Mary may be held liable because she didn’t see the e-scooter rider.
Example 2: Sam is allowed to ride on the sidewalk. He is riding at 15 miles per hour, which is too fast for that crowded sidewalk. Jimmy then exits a local bar, steps into the sidewalk, and is hit by Sam, who is going too fast to stop. In this case, Sam is likely to be held liable for the accident.
Scooter and Car Accidents
Fortunately, accidents that involve an e-scooter rider and a car are rare, especially given how severe they can be. A very common scenario is when a driver opens a car door into the path of an oncoming e-scooter. A majority of all cities require that e-scooters need to be ridden in a bike lane or as far to the right side of the street as possible. All drivers must check their side mirrors before opening a car door. A driver who opens their car door suddenly and hits an e-scooter rider can be held liable for that accident.
Defective Scooter Accidents
A vast majority of all scooter accidents are caused by someone’s negligence. However, many scooter accidents are actually caused by defective or broken scooters.
Scooter Accidents Caused by Sidewalk Conditions
There are some scooter accidents that are not caused by either negligence or defective scooters: this third type of scooter accident can actually be caused by poor sidewalk conditions.
California Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Scooter accident claims can often be complex. Although moving forward with your case may be the furthest thing from your mind while you are still recovering from your injuries, it is important to remember that the statute of limitations is already ticking. If the statute of limitations expires before you have an opportunity to file your claim, you will no longer have the right to seek compensation through the Los Angeles civil court system.
Generally, the statute of limitations for scooter accidents and personal injury claims in California is two years. What does the statute of limitations expire two years from the date of the accident? What happens if you were not diagnosed with an injury until days or even weeks after the accident? When does the statute limitations expire then? It is easy to see how the date in which the statute of limitations will run out in your case can be confusing.
Fortunately, when you have a knowledgeable Los Angeles scooter accident attorney advocating for you, procedural details like these should have no bearing on your ability to move forward with your case. However, if the statute of limitation is rapidly approaching in your case, you do not have the luxury of taking time to wait. Get an attorney on your case as soon as possible, or you may lose your opportunity to pursue your case.
How to Build a Powerful Scooter Accident Claim
Scooter accident claims can be one by proving liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means the evidence must show that the defendant is likely at fault for the injuries you sustained. With that in mind, there are many types of evidence that could be used to support your case. However, there are some types of evidence used in scooter accident claims more frequently than others. These include:
- Cell phone records
- Video of the accident
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Chemical blood alcohol test results
- Driving records
- Medical records
- Financial documents
- Accident reconstructionist reports
- Police and crash reports
- Safety inspection reports
- Photos of your injuries
- Photos of the property damage
- Photos of the accident scene
Compensation for Scooter Accident Victims in Los Angeles
After your scooter accident in Los Angeles, you may be feeling as though all hope is lost. When your entire life has been turned upside down by your injuries, it is easy to feel defeated. However, when you have an experienced scooter accident attorney on your side, you may feel empowered and ready to make the liable party pay for their negligence.
You have the right to be made whole. Every single way your life has been affected by your injuries should be taken into consideration when your lawyer calculates the value of your claim. This means your attorney will need to go over your damages in detail to ensure no loss is unaccounted for. To get the most out of your claim, your lawyer will need to separate your losses into categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Economic and non-economic damages are also commonly referred to as compensatory damages. These are the ways your life has been directly affected by your scooter accident injuries. Economic damages refer to your financial or monetary losses, while non-economic damages cover the ways your life as a whole has been affected.
Some of the most frequently awarded types of economic and non-economic damages in Los Angeles scooter accident claims include:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Medical expenses and equipment fees
- Property damages
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Reputational damage
- Loss of household services
These are only a few of the more common types of damages you could sneak in your Los Angeles scooter accident claim. Your attorney can give you a better idea of what your insurance and civil claims are worth after carefully evaluating your damages in detail.
Get in Touch With a Los Angeles Scooter Accident Attorney Today
When the scooter accident claims process has you feeling overwhelmed and confused, you need a trusted legal advocate on your side.
Reach out to an experienced Los Angeles scooter accident lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers to find out who is responsible for your accident and how to recover the compensation you need to get through this challenging time in your life.
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