Recently, a 27 year old scooter rider pled guilty to the hit-and-run death of actress Lisa Barnes.
According to the New York Times, the driver, Brian Boyd, drove “recklessly, and with no regard for pedestrians.” Boyd struck Barnes in a crosswalk.
While the victim of this accident was particularly famous, the truth is that e-scooter accidents are on the rise in New York City. This year, 680 people have been injured in scooter-related incidents.
By far the most common victims of these accidents are pedestrians, not scooter riders. At times, scooter riders are failing to remain in designated areas, such as bike lanes.
Scooter accidents can be incredibly serious. They can cause spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage, burn injuries, and other serious, life-changing problems.
Who pays when e-scooters collide with pedestrians?
The DMV defines an electric scooter as a type of device with handlebars, a floorboard or a seat, and an electric motor that can be powered by the electric motor, and/or human power. They may be operated on highways with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less. They are not to be operated on sidewalks except as authorized by local law or ordinance.
Class A scooters and mopeds, as well as Class B mopeds, are required to be registered and insured. Class is determined by speed: 30 to 40 mph for Class A, and 20 to 30 mph for Class B.
Class C mopeds can go up to 20 mph but may only be ridden in the right-hand lane, the shoulder, or a bike lane. They may be insured but insurance is not mandatory. You must have a driver’s license to drive all three forms of scooter. Helmets are recommended for Class C scooters and required by law for Class A and B scooters.
Many New York insurance companies do offer e-scooter policies.
In general, if the e-scooter rider had insurance then we would call upon the insurance company to pay your claim.
If the accident is the result of a defect in the scooter, companies like Bird, Lime, and Veo may be required to pay your damages instead. Each of these companies carries up to $1 million in liability coverage for covered claim. In addition, lack of proper warnings or instructions on how to use the scooter could form the basis for a claim against the company itself.
If the rider is uninsured the scooter rider may be required to pay your damages out of pocket. This can be difficult because sometimes they don’t have the assets to pay anything at all.
However, there are avenues we can explore, such as getting insurance coverage from your health insurance, their car insurance, or their homeowner’s or renter’s policies, some of which have umbrella policies which cover recreational vehicle liability. It is impossible to know what might be available in your scooter injury case until we begin investigating.
In a hit and run case, the e-scooter rider is committing a crime, just as they would be if they’d committed a hit and run in a car accident. You may be able to obtain compensation through a victim’s compensation fund, or you may be able to file for benefits under the Motor Vehicle Collision Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
Obviously if you regularly ride scooters, we’d recommend getting insurance just in case you get into an accident with a pedestrian yourself. You do not want to have to pay $20,000 or more in medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering if you accidentally collide with a pedestrian in a moment of inattention.
What should you do if injured by an e-scooter?
The first thing you should do is get medical attention. Follow all of your doctor’s instructions. Call an ambulance. You should also involve the police.
If you are in good condition to do so, take photos of the scene. Document the damage, the local conditions, and even the locations of any video cameras. We might be able to obtain that footage as evidence later.
We recommend getting insurance details and driver’s license details from the scooter operator, as well as the names and numbers of any witnesses.
E-Scooter Wrongful Death Cases
Like Lisa Barnes, some pedestrians who are involved in scooter accidents will not survive their accidents. When this happens the parents, children, or spouse of the victim may file a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death claims cover any medical expenses incurred via the accident prior to the victim’s death, funeral expenses, loss of your loved one’s income, and loss of your income’s company.
Get Help Today
You have just three years to file an injury claim for an e-scooter accident. The longer you wait, the more evidence and witnesses tend to become unavailable. Contact our office soon to schedule a free case review.