Electric scooters, or e-scooters, are the latest transportation trend in Dallas. Local laws permit Bird and Lime rentable electric scooters within city limits as of July 2018. E-scooter users have the right to ride on the roads and bicycle paths in Texas, but should not operate them on sidewalks. An e-scooter accident could cause the rider serious personal injuries and expensive medical bills.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Dallas e-scooter accident, contact the attorneys at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. You could be eligible for financial compensation. Why do clients choose us?
- We focus on personal injury law in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, giving us in-depth knowledge and experience.
- We have a lead attorney who is one of less than 2% of attorneys in the state to have board certification in personal injury trial law.
- We operate on a contingency-fee basis, meaning we do not charge legal fees unless we win the client a financial award.
Why Do You Need an Attorney?
An e-scooter accident claim may involve multiple insurance companies: that of the victim, the driver, and the e-scooter company. Knowing which insurer will hear your claim may take help from an attorney. While you focus on recovering from your serious personal injuries, an attorney can take care of legal processes for you. An attorney can also ensure an insurance company does not take advantage of you during the claims process. Your attorney can prevent lowball settlements and take your case to trial if necessary for fair compensation.
Why Do E-Scooter Accidents Happen?
Negligence causes most e-scooter accidents. Riders who rent Bird and Lime e-scooters may not understand the best safety practices or applicable traffic laws. Many users may have never ridden an electric scooter prior to renting one in Dallas. E-scooters can achieve speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. Riders must be at least 18 and have valid driver’s license to start. Riders do not have to wear helmets on e-scooters in Texas. It is a scooter rider’s responsibility to obey traffic laws and to reasonably prevent collisions.
Unfortunately, accidents can still happen even when the e-scooter rider operates prudently. Negligent, distracted, drunk, and reckless drivers can crash into scooter riders and cause major personal injuries. Drivers who do not pay attention to the road, text and drive, speed, run red lights, and ignore others’ rights-of-way all put e-scooter riders at risk. The increase in e-scooters on the roads in Dallas could cause a corresponding increase in e-scooter accidents and injuries.
Who Is Liable?
In a collision between a motor vehicle and an electric scooter, the vehicle will always win. A scooter rider could suffer severe injuries, even when wearing a helmet. Some of the most common e-scooter accident injuries include broken wrists, skull and facial fractures, lacerations, broken jaws, traumatic brain injuries, and internal bleeding. Victims may require emergency medical care and long recovery times out of work. The total cost for an e-scooter accident could be in the thousands for the scooter rider.
Liability for a Dallas e-scooter accident depends on who caused the crash. If a motor vehicle driver negligently caused the accident, the injured scooter rider will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If a defect or problem with the electric scooter contributed to the accident, such as a defective scooter part or lack of adequate safety warning, the scooter company or manufacturer could share liability.
How To Prove an E-Scooter Accident
If a negligent driver causes an e-scooter accident in Texas, that driver will be financially responsible for the victim’s damages. Proving fault for an e-scooter accident may take gathering evidence against the reckless or careless driver.
- Photos of the scene of the accident
- Video footage
- Police reports
- Eyewitness interviews
- Accident reconstruction
- Vehicle information (such as the black box of a commercial truck)
If a police officer charged the driver with an infraction for speeding or another broken roadway rule, this could serve as evidence in your e-scooter accident case. Your attorney can help you search for and collect any available evidence connecting another party to your e-scooter accident.
The Comparative Negligence Defense
A common problem car accident victims encounter in Texas is the comparative negligence defense. Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning lawmakers permit victims who contribute to their own accidents to still receive some compensation from the party mostly at fault. If an at-fault driver uses the comparative negligence defense during your case, he or she will allege that you contributed to your own injuries through some act of negligence, such as breaking one of Texas’ traffic laws.
A successful comparative negligence defense could reduce your award or completely bar you from recovery. If the courts determine you were more than 50% responsible for the accident, you will lose any right to financial recovery. It is up to you and your attorney to minimize your percentage of fault by proving the defendant’s majority fault. Aggressive legal representation can help you maximize the odds of a successful lawsuit, even if the defendant tries to use the comparative negligence defense against you.
Am I Covered By Insurance for a Scooter Accident?
Unlike operating a vehicle, insurance is not a requirement to ride an electric scooter in Texas. Auto insurance companies do not offer e-scooter liability insurance. Your auto insurance coverage (if you also own a car) will generally not cover anything that happens to you on an e-scooter. Standard auto insurance policies have gaps in coverage that do not apply to e-scooters and other alternate modes of transportation. Your auto insurance most likely will not cover your e-scooter accident injuries.
If you own your electric scooter, your homeowner’s insurance may cover damages. Renting a Bird or Lime e-scooter, however, will make it an exception under your insurance policy. One route you may be able to take toward coverage is contacting your health insurance company. If you carry personal health insurance, this may help you pay for the costs of your e-scooter accident medical bills.
If you were not at fault for your scooter accident, the other driver’s liability insurance may cover your damages. An at-fault driver’s insurer will pay for all damages victims suffered because of the policyholder’s negligence – including injuries to an e-scooter rider. Recovering from someone else’s insurance will take filing a claim, negotiating a settlement and potentially taking the insurance company to court in pursuit of fair compensation.
Another outlet for recovery that may be available after an e-scooter accident is to file a claim with the e-scooter company’s insurance. Lime, Bird, Spin, Skip and other major electric scooter companies carry liability coverage for e-scooter claims. Receiving compensation through this coverage, however, can be difficult. You or your lawyer may have to prove the company’s liability for your injuries. Claims against a third party such as the government or a property owner could also lead to compensation for your damages.
Can E-Scooter Accidents Be Fatal?
When the rise of e-scooters initially began, many riders did not understand the risks. Soon, however, news of e-scooter accidents emerged around the world. Scooters are vehicles, not toys. They pose similar dangers to riding a bicycle in Dallas. Drivers can and have struck e-scooter riders and caused fatal injuries. Since fall 2017, eight people have lost their lives on rentable electric scooters, according to Consumer Reports. A rider could suffer many severe injuries in an e-scooter accident.
- Skull fracture
- Traumatic brain damage
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Fatal neck injury
Most electric scooter companies highlight the importance of wearing helmets. Companies such as Bird and Lime even offer free helmets to riders who take their safety pledges. A helmet could significantly reduce the risk of a fatal head or brain injury in an e-scooter accident. A collision with a motor vehicle, however, could be fatal for a rider even with a helmet. Motor vehicles are dangerous for e-scooters. Distracted, negligent and speeding drivers who collide with scooters in Dallas could cause catastrophic injuries or a wrongful death.
Texas is a traditional fault or tort-based insurance state. In Texas, the at-fault party will be the person responsible for paying your damages after an e-scooter accident. In many cases, this will be the driver that struck you. However, other defendants could include the e-scooter company or the City of Dallas. The point of bringing a civil claim is twofold: financial compensation and justice. An e-scooter accident claim that succeeds with help from an attorney could garner many different types of compensation for you as a victim. It could also hold one or more liable parties accountable for wrongdoing.
- Medical and health care costs. The serious injuries an e-scooter accident could inflict may cost thousands of dollars to treat. Even a simple injury such as a broken bone could require expensive medical care. A more catastrophic injury, such as spinal cord damage, could cost $1 million or more over a lifetime.
- Loss of income. Injured e-scooter riders will often have to miss work to receive medical treatments and heal from their injuries. Some can return to work in limited capacities and for less pay while dealing with temporary disabilities. If you have to miss work after a collision, include your lost wages and earning opportunities as part of your damage claim.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. If you had to pay for things such as ambulance fees, gas to get to the doctor’s office, hotel rooms near injury specialists, vehicle rentals, attorney’s fees or court costs, these are all charges for which an insurance company may reimburse you in Texas.
- Noneconomic damages. The Texas courts also allow you to seek restitution for your noneconomic or intangible losses. You could receive payment for physical pain as well as emotional, mental and/or psychological damages your e-scooter accident caused. This includes post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Wrongful death damages. If you lost a loved one in a Dallas e-scooter accident, your family could be eligible for compensation for damages such as the price of a funeral and burial, mental anguish, outstanding medical bills and loss of consortium.
- Exemplary damages. Finally, the Texas courts will award exemplary or punitive damages in some e-scooter accident claims. This is an extra compensation award meant to punish the defendant for gross negligence. Exemplary damages show others in the city the courts will not put up with serious acts of wrongdoing.
If you are curious about the type of compensation you may be able to receive after an e-scooter accident, contact our firm for a free case evaluation. We have the experience and knowledge to size up your claim and give you an accurate estimate. You could be eligible for significant financial recovery if you suffered catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one because of another person’s negligence. Our lawyers are not afraid to fight for the best possible compensation award during a personal injury trial on your behalf, if necessary.
Contact Us Today
Users agree to a liability waiver in the app before they can use Bird or Lime e-scooters. This can make filing a claim with the company tricky. For assistance with your e-scooter accident personal injury claim, contact our Dallas attorneys. Call (855) 655-HURT to request your free consultation.