Are Electric Scooters Causing Injuries in Sacramento?

Stand-up electric scooters continue to increase in popularity across the United States, but the number of riders being treated for injuries from accidents on them is also rising. Others have ended up being admitted for hospital stays, while at least 11 fatalities are known to have resulted from injuries suffered in electric scooter accidents since 2018. Nine of those fatalities occurred on rented scooters.

Convenient and Cheap Transportation

Most electric scooter users are smitten by them. They stand on a board about the size and width of a skateboard and hold onto handlebars on a stem. The scooters have an accelerator and brakes, and they can travel at speeds up to 15 mph. The attraction is that at a dollar to unlock one and 15 cents per minute to ride it, an electric scooters is inexpensive transportation alternative. Users can arrive at their destinations in minutes. Rental scooters can be picked up and dropped off just about anywhere in Sacramento. At night, they’re retrieved by independent contractors, and they’re recharged to be put out on the street again the next day.

Head Injuries and Fractures

Both pedestrians and the drivers of motor vehicles generally detest electric scooters. They rate them as somewhere between a nuisance and a hazard. Users routinely violate traffic laws, and with their low and narrow profiles, scooters can be difficult to see when they’re darting in and out of traffic. Rarely are scooter riders seen wearing a helmet.

The Two Most Common Injuries

With the electric scooter industry being so new, comprehensive numbers and data on scooter accidents and injuries is scarce. A UCLA study at two Los Angeles hospitals showed head injuries being the most frequent. Those were followed by fractures. A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed about half of all scooter-related accident injuries as being to the head with 15% of them involving concussions and brain bleeding.

If You’re a Scooter Accident Victim

Summer is here now, and regardless of the risks, the number of electric scooter accidents in and around Sacramento is expected to drastically increase. You likely have a better chance of obtaining compensation for your damages if you’re a rider of an electric scooter as opposed to a pedestrian who is hit by one. In some cases, people injured while scooting may be eligible for workers’ compensation.

Assuming that you’re in compliance with applicable laws, the driver of a motor vehicle who hits you while you’re on an electric scooter can be held liable for your injuries and damages. What comes to issue is bias. Scooter riders are perceived by the public as being irresponsible risk takers. Courtrooms aren’t perfect worlds, and it can be difficult to overcome that perception with a jury that consists of 12 people who drive responsibly and encounter scooter riders on a daily basis.

The same bias exists if a pedestrian is hit and injured by a electric scooter rider. The perceived irresponsibility of the scooter rider will probably be determined to be the cause of the accident, especially if a young child or elderly person is the victim, and the accident occurred on a city sidewalk.

Comparative Negligence
As per California law, you might be determined to be partially at fault for your accident. Any percentage of fault attributable to you would be deducted from a gross award. For example, if the gross value of the case is $100,000, and you were determined to be 20% at fault, your net award would be $80,000.

Liability Insurance
The distinguishing factor between motor vehicle accidents involving scooter riders and pedestrians who are hit by scooter riders is liability insurance. In theory, any driver of a motor vehicle is going to have liability insurance. In reality, any rider of an electric scooter probably won’t. That puts the rider of an electric scooter in a far more desirable legal position than a pedestrian who was hit by the rider of such a scooter.

Call 911
For better or for worse, electric scooters are here to stay in Sacramento. If you’re on one, and you’re injured in an accident, or you’re a pedestrian who is injured after being hit by one, call 911 to report the accident. Ask for both police and paramedics to be dispatched to the scene, and get transported to an emergency room immediately. Police will document the accident and paramedics can assess you, stabilize your condition and transport you to an emergency room.

You might need an injury lawyer.

If a car insurer or liability insurer of any kind contacts you regarding the accident, politely refuse to give its representative any information until speaking to an attorney. Probably every injury lawyer in California provides free consultations. Be sure to contact one if you were hit by a negligent driver or think a defective scooter played a role in your injury.

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