Electronic scooters, or e-scooters, have been coming more popular over recent years. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) found in its annual report that e-scooters accounted for more than 38 million trips out of 84 million total trips in bikeshare/rideshare programs not involve motor vehicles. Part of this is due to companies like Lime or Bird who offer app-based services for people to locate an e-scooter and rent it for a ride around a city.
Other manufacturers like Kaabo, Apollo, Dualtron, EMOVE, and Segway have also tapped into this market promoting e-scooter use not just in cities, but to get around more suburban or rural areas including recreationally at parks. But while these products can both help individuals get around a city or park, our e-scooter accident lawyers in Pennsylvania know that they can also pose a serious risk to riders.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), e-scooter accidents have resulted in an estimated 133,000 emergency department visits and at least 41 fatalities between 2017 and 2019. However, the true number is likely to be higher because many hospitals are either not keeping track of e-scooter accidents or miscategorizing them because they have no applicable code.
The CPSC report also provides that most e-scooter injuries are to the upper limbs, neck, and especially the head. The CPSC cites a lack of wearing a helmet and understanding the safety issues with an e-scooter as the main causes. This is corroborated by Consumer Reports providing statistics that only 2% of all e-scooter riders wear a helmet, versus 66% of cyclists.
If you or a loved one have suffered serious personal injuries after an e-scooter accident in Pennsylvania, call our experienced personal injury lawyers at Ostroff Injury Law to learn how we can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other damages.
Our Pennsylvania e-scooter accident lawyers understand that these types of accidents present novel challenges in many ways that ridesharing accidents first did because there is limited statutory, regulatory, and decisional law available. But with our skilled, knowledgeable, and prepared legal team, you can rest assured that we have the resources and capabilities necessary to prove your case. Learn how we can help you during a free consultation.
Common Causes of Electronic Scooter Accidents
E-scooters are new for both riders and other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Given that Pennsylvania law has not kept up with the meteoric rise of e-scooters, there is little regulation governing where and when a rider can use an e-scooter and what, if any, safety precautions must be taken. Moreover, others who are non-riders are not going to be familiar with these products and may fail to see or lookout for them resulting in a crash.
Some of the most common causes of e-scooter accidents and personal injuries include the following:
- Being hit by a car that did not see the rider
- Pedestrian knockdowns
- Road hazards or sidewalk hazards causing a rider to fall
- Collisions with cyclists
- Recklessly crossing intersections or speeding into blind corners of sidewalks
- Product defects, including tire malfunctions, braking failures, or steering lockups
- Rider inexperience
- Intentional harm, such as a third-party attempting to steal the e-scooter through robbery or assault
- Excessive speed, and
- Many other common causes.
A skilled lawyer in the area could help an injured party determine the cause of their e-scooter accident.
Liability in E-Scooter Collisions in Pennsylvania
Proving fault, or liability, is tricky in e-scooter accidents. This is because the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code does not specifically address e-scooters. There is also limited case law regarding e-scooters. However, this does not mean that others can be reckless, careless, or downright negligent in causing harm to riders.
Victims injured in an e-scooter accident will need to establish liability against a defendant. Most claims will be based on a negligence cause of action, or a claim in a lawsuit. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances in avoiding foreseeable harm to another. A victim seeking to hold a defendant liable for negligence will need to establish the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty of care
- Damages, and
- Defendant’s breach of the duty of care was a substantial factor or proximate cause of the victim’s injuries.
Proving Negligence in an E-Scooter Accident Against Motorists
There are many possible ways that negligence could be proven against a defendant in an e-scooter accident in Pennsylvania. Even though there is a lack of statutory, regulatory, or decisional law, that does not mean that a defendant can act with reckless disregard towards e-scooter riders. All motorists must use reasonable care in the use or operation of a motor vehicle. A driver who fails to drive as a reasonably prudent person and injures an e-scooter rider will have breached that duty of care.
Some common examples of negligence from a motorist include the following:
- Jumping the curb
- Failing to yield to an e-scooter rider
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Drunk driving or drugged driving
- Distracted driving
- Failing to lookout for a rider
- Aggressive driving
- Unsafe U-turn
- Improper left turn, and
- Many other types of negligence conduct our e-scooter accident attorneys in Pennsylvania could recover compensation for you.
In addition to these causes, if the motorist violated a Pennsylvania Vehicle Code section he may be held automatically liable under the doctrine of negligence per se. This doctrine allows the victim of a motor vehicle crash to hold a defendant at fault where the defendant violated a statute that was meant to protect the victim from the harm that occurred. This allows a victim to focus on proving damages only and often means a quicker resolution in court.
Personal Injuries from an E-Scooter Crash
Both the CPSC and Consumer Reports noted that personal injuries from e-scooter accidents typically include broken bones, neck injuries, or head injuries. These injuries are often incredibly painful and may require surgical treatment. Some serious head injuries could develop into traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. All of these injuries could be debilitating and result in lost wages.
Broken Bones or Fractured Bones
One of the most common injuries in any type of motor vehicle accident, particularly e-scooter accidents, are broken bones. This is when the force of an impact causes the bone to fracture or crack. There are several different types of broken bones which include the following:
- Stable fractures – a break but the edges of the break remain close together and not out of place
- Open fractures or compound fractures – a break but the edges separate and pierce through tissue, including the skin
- Compression fractures – often in the vertebrae, this type of break occurs when two ends of the bone are crushed inwards
- Spiral fracture – when the break occurs in a corkscrew pattern, usually when the ends of the bone are being pulled in opposite directions
- Transverse feature – a break across the bone in a horizontal line
- Oblique fracture – a break at an angle across the bone
- Linear fracture – when the bone is broken horizontally up and down
- Comminuted fracture – when the bone breaks into three or more pieces
- Greenstick fracture – when the bone bends and then breaks at the area of the bend, most common in children
- Avulsion fracture – when a piece of the bone breaks away from the main bone, usually in the ankle when a tendon pulls and yanks the bone when an ankle is twisted
There are several different types of neck injuries. Most neck injuries involve damage to the spinal cord itself or the nerves originating from the spinal cord and extending outwards to the rest of the body (peripheral nervous system). The main body of nerves extending out of the neck are the brachial plexus nerves, which govern sensation, movement, and other function in the upper shoulder/chest and down the entire arm. Thus, spinal cord injuries could result in paralysis such as paraplegia or quadriplegia.
Common neck injuries include damage to the disc between the vertebrae which pinch on or damage the nerves. This is called radiculopathy. Other damage can include an annular tear (or rip in the disc’s covering), cord compression, spinal stenosis, or other damage to the spinal cord or vertebrae.
Soft tissue issues are also common. These are micro tears that occur in the muscle, tendons, and ligaments in the neck and around the spinal column. Sometimes the tears are large enough to need surgical require.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
A traumatic brain injury or TBI after an e-scooter accident in Pennsylvania should always be evaluated by an experienced lawyer like one or our attorneys at Ostroff Injury Law. All TBIs, even if a doctor calls it “mild,” are serious injuries and should be properly handled. An e-scooter rider could suffer a TBI even if he or she is wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. A pedestrian hit by a rider is particularly susceptible to a TBI.
The CDC defines a TBI “as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” Sometimes symptoms are immediate such as a headache, confusion, double vision, and speech problems. But other times symptoms could take days, weeks, or even months to manifest themselves including memory issues, loss of balance, problem-solving issues, and personal changes.
The challenge with a TBI is ensuring that a victim’s pain and suffering is adequately compensated for both now and in the future. This requires using experts such as life care planners, vocational experts, and economists to ascertain the damages a victim will endure.
Ask Our Resourceful and Experienced Pennsylvania E-Scooter Accident Attorneys for Help
Whether you suffer a TBI, neck injury, broken bone, or any other type of personal injury after an e-scooter collision, call Ostroff Injury Law for a free consultation to learn how we can help recover compensation for you under state law. Our well-trained and compassionate Pennsylvania e-scooter accident lawyers can work with your treating providers to support your damages claim, while our lawyers use leading experts to help prove liability.
We offer a no win, no fee guarantee meaning you only pay us after we recover compensation for you in a settlement or court award. Call us today or contact us to send us a secured message.