All over the country and the world, electric scooters are becoming a transportation craze. Although it might be fun to travel over 10 miles per hour on a scooter, they have also proven to be dangerous, as several people have suffered significant injuries on account of these scooters. Some of these incidents involved injuries to the head, which can leave a person suffering permanent disabilities.
There are several reasons why these scooters are particularly dangerous. For one, many people ride them without a helmet for protection, even if they would ordinarily wear a helmet to ride a traditional motorcycle or bicycle. Moreover, there seems to be a lack of training for would-be riders; at this juncture and in many locations, a person can simply hop on a scooter and go, even though the scooter goes the speed of a slow-moving car.
Finally, many injuries get reported when the scooters have a technical failure in the middle of a person’s ride. For example, many victims have reported injuries after the accelerator on the scooter got stuck or the brakes failed to work.
These scooters are relatively new technology, so the legal landscape has yet to account for them fully. Still, the manufacturers of these scooters have an obligation to provide products that are safe for the public.
When these scooters malfunction, whether on account of a design flaw or a manufacturing defect, those who get injured as a result may be able to obtain compensation for their losses through a products liability claim.
Electric scooters continuing to cause injuries
A recent report in a major medical journal confirmed that, while this new mode of pedestrian transportation is spreading rapidly across the country, issues involving the safety of these scooters remain.
For instance, based on a survey of emergency room visits by people who were injured by these scooters, it seemed that the vast majority of them, over 90 percent, were actually riding the scooter at the time of the accident. Of these victims, fewer than 5 percent were wearing a helmet. T
his is unfortunate since, of those patients who had to go to the emergency room, 40 percent had some sort of injury to the head. These head injuries included traumatic brain injuries in some cases. In fact, of the handful of patients who had to remain in the hospital in intensive care, all had the symptoms of a severe brain injury.
While some might say that it is a rider’s own fault for not wearing a helmet, it is important to remember exactly how these scooters work. For one, they are convenient and portable, but the tradeoff is that they are not always the most durable or resilient vehicles. Moreover, they are distributed so that people can pick them up off the street at any time, that is, on the spur of the moment. It is unlikely that every California resident out on the town is going to remember to pack a helmet.
While every case is different, someone who is the victim of an injury involving these electric scooters should remember that compensation may be available to them via a products liability or other personal injury action.
Lime pulls scooters due to potential fire hazard
Lime, one of the major distributors of these scooters, recently pulled thousands of its products from the streets of cities in the area and across the country. Apparently, some of these scooters have a tendency to catch fire, particularly if the casing holding their batteries has been damaged.
There have been reports of batteries starting to smolder and, in some cases, even catch on fire. While thankfully no one has been reported injured as a result of a scooter fire, it just goes to reinforce that this new transportation trend comes with some considerable risks.
Lime itself even acknowledged that it may have to recall additional scooters, as the company claimed it was being particularly cautious with respect to the safety of the products it distributes. Reports coming from within the company, however, suggested that even its own employees have some reservations about the safety of these products. The manufacturer of the products, for its part, did not want to comment on Lime’s actions.
This recent development serves as an opportunity to reiterate that the manufacturers and distributors of these products have an obligation to the California public to make sure that these products are safe. To the extent that they cannot be perfectly safe, these companies must warn customers of the residual danger.
More bad news for electric scooter distributor Lime
Lime recently announced that it was pulling several vehicles from the streets based on concerns that the scooters could suddenly break apart from underneath the feet of their riders.
As previously mentioned, Lime recently had to recall thousands of its scooters across the country because of a documented fire hazard. This recall pertained to a different model of scooter made by a different manufacturer than those scooters which are the target of the latest recall.
There have been some concerns expressed that Lime, and other distributers of these scooters as well, are not taking safety concerns as seriously as they should. For instance, some close to the situation have suggested that Lime’s management has known about the tendency of some scooters to crack for weeks or even months and did not pursue this information with sufficient vigor.
Lime officially acknowledged the cracking problem a few weeks back, suggesting that the issue was largely due to riders abusing the scooters by, for example, riding them over curbs at a high speed.
This latest development again serves to remind Los Angeles residents that when anyone, whether an electric scooter company or otherwise, puts a product out on the market, they are assuming responsibility for the safety of those who use it.
Lawsuit filed against electric scooter companies
Earlier we talked about how the newest transportation trend, electric scooters that pedestrians can pick up and drop off as they travel through crowded areas, poses hazards to riders and those with whom these scooters share the roads and sidewalks. This post mentioned that several people had been injured by these devices, often because they were not equipped with a helmet or because they did not receive instruction about how to operate the device.
Now, it seems that some of the victims of these accidents are taking action, as a group of nine of them have filed a class action lawsuit in Los Angeles County. The lawsuit names both the manufacturers of the scooters and those companies which distribute them as defendants.
Among other allegations, the lawsuit says the distributors of the scooters were grossly negligent in that they dispersed the vehicles in such a way that it was highly likely people would get hurt as a result. Hundreds of people, both riders and pedestrians whom these riders have hit, have reported injuries on account of these scooters. Many of these injuries are significant and include the loss of teeth, as well as soft tissue injuries. A handful of people across the country have died while traveling on these scooters.
It is obviously still too early to tell what the outcome of this lawsuit will be as the companies responsible for these scooters have denied responsibility and suggested that the real safety problem is with automobile traffic. However, the lawsuit serves as an important reminder that a products liability claim may be available to victims of these potentially dangerous vehicles.