Dallas permitted electric scooter (e-scooter) rideshare companies Bird and Lime to release about 1,000 rental e-scooters into the city in July 2018. Since then, dozens of victims have suffered road rash, facial lacerations, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries in e-scooter accidents. E-scooters can go up to 15 miles per hour. This can surprise many new riders and contribute to accidents. Negligent drivers are another major threat riders face in Dallas.
E-Scooter Injuries and Deaths in Dallas
In the first three months after rideshare scooters’ debut in July 2018, Dallas police received four motorized scooter accident reports. Not all victims called 911, however, since Dallas paramedics recorded 13 scooter accident patients in the same time period. Parkland Memorial Hospital identified 37 cases involving scooters in the last half of 2018, with a major spike after the release of rentable e-scooters. Baylor University Medical Center says at least seven scooter patients required major surgeries since July.
The first confirmed rentable e-scooter death happened in Dallas, Texas. The rider was not wearing a helmet, and suffered a fatal head injury when he crashed the scooter, potentially in a hit-and-run. The victim, Jacoby Stoneking, took a Lime e-scooter home from a restaurant on September 1st. He soon called a friend to request a Lyft, saying he had crashed and hurt his foot. When the driver arrived, however, Stoneking was lying near the broken Lime scooter and sadly, was unresponsive.
Although the details of this fatal e-scooter accident remain unknown, authorities say the scooter had broken in half when they responded to the scene. While Stoneking’s family always suspected a hit-and-run because of the severity of his injuries, another answer could be that the scooter snapped in half during use. Other reported cases of e-scooters breaking in half have surfaced around the world, making many question a possible product defect. If this is the case, Lime could be liable for victims’ damages.
What Causes E-Scooter Accidents in Dallas?
Electric scooters pose many risks to riders. They expose riders to many potential personal injuries in a crash, with no metal shell to protect the rider from hazards. Although Bird and Lime recommend riders wear helmets, no law in Dallas forces riders to do so. (The law does require helmets, however, to ride mopeds in Dallas.) Lack of helmet use, new riders who underestimate the speed of the scooter, and negligent drivers can all result in e-scooter accidents and injuries.
Drivers in Dallas are still growing used to seeing dozens of electric scooters on roads and bicycle paths in the city. Many do not understand or respect the rights of scooter riders. They may tailgate scooters in traffic, pass too closely, honk, shout, ignore the right-of-way, or otherwise threaten the safety of scooter users. This can cause serious and fatal collisions. Drivers speeding and breaking other roadway rules can also cause e-scooter accidents.
What to Do as an Injured E-Scooter Rider
If you recently rented a Bird or Lime scooter in Dallas and suffered personal injuries in a crash, you may have grounds for a claim against one or more parties. An at-fault driver could be liable for your damages, as could the scooter company, a product manufacturer, or a property owner. More than one party could share fault for your accident depending on the situation. It is up to you as the victim to protect your rights and pursue compensation through the civil system.
You are not the first person to suffer a serious injury on an electric scooter. Resources are available to help you recover fair compensation. Discuss your case with an attorney to find out if your case has merit. You may be eligible to recover money for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the at-fault driver or e-scooter company.