Recovering Compensation After an Electric Scooter Accident
Motorscooter accidents are increasing throughout the country, and Charlotte is not an exception. Scooter rental companies make hundreds of scooters available to users on the street. Customers unfamiliar with electric scooters can cause accidents that result in injuries. A distracted driver may collide with someone using an electric scooter in other cases.
If you have been injured in an electric scooter accident, you may be entitled to compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. The experienced attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, will review your case and help you understand your legal options. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a free initial consultation.Laws Regarding Electronic Scooters
In Charlotte, as in many other cities where e-scooters have been introduced, laws regarding the operation of motor scooters are in flux. Under North Carolina, motorized scooters are considered mopeds. Specifically, Section 20-140.4 requires moped riders to wear helmets. Mopeds must be registered and tagged with a license plate. However, electronic scooter/moped riders are not required to have a driver's license at the state level. Cities and localities may require a driver's license to ride a scooter.
It is also vital that electronic scooter users understand local laws. In Charlotte, sidewalk riding is allowed except in the Uptown area bound by Church St., Stonewall St., College St., and 7th St. When riding on sidewalks, electronic scooter riders must remain visible, courteous, and yield to pedestrians at all times. In 2019, the Charlotte City Council adopted the following rules for electric scooter riders:
- Speed limits: e-scooters are limited to 15 miles-per-hour
- Parking: e-scooters cannot be parked in a manner that blocks sidewalks, bus stops, and curb ramps
- Helmet use: In concurrence with state law, anyone under 16 must wear a helmet when riding an electric scooter. All e-scooter operators must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license
- Permits: electric scooters must obtain a permit from the City of Charlotte to operate a fleet of rental e-scooters. Companies must meet the permit requirements for maintenance, safety, operations, and parking.
- Fleet size: Charlotte has imposed a "dynamic cap" on the number of e-scooters each company can operate. If a company's average number of trips per day for each e-scooter is over three, the company must have more e-scooters. If the company's average daily trips fall below two, the company must remove e-scooters from the system
- E-scooter riders should not block parklets or sidewalk dining, loading zones, transit zones, accessible parking zones, curb ramps, entryways, and driveways
If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident, you must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries to recover damages. Proving liability is required for obtaining an insurance settlement or compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Determining fault is only sometimes as clear-cut as in other types of motor vehicle accidents.
For example, if a scooter rider strikes a pedestrian, they may argue that the scooter operator is liable. This is especially true when the scooter is on the sidewalk and the pedestrian is walking predictably. However, suppose an electric scooter rider is injured in a motor vehicle collision on the street. In that case, the driver's liability may be less easy to prove, depending on how and where the scooter was operating.
As mentioned above, the city of Charlotte has passed multiple regulations regarding how electric scooter riders must operate in the city. When electric scooter riders violate one of these safety issues and cause an accident, it can be easier for the victim to prove that they are at fault for the accident. In some cases, victims may be able to bring a claim against the owner of the electronic scooter company that provided the scooters for rental.
For example, suppose the scooter company did not maintain their scooters, and a lack of maintenance caused the scooter to malfunction, resulting in an accident. In that case, the victim can pursue compensation from the company. In many user agreements with customers, electric scooter companies require writers to agree to arbitration if they become injured, giving up their right to bring a lawsuit in exchange for the opportunity to ride the scooter.
Not all of these causes are legally valid, so you should discuss your case with an attorney if you have been injured in an accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.