In August of 2018, a California-based startup began dropping hundreds of electric scooters into major cities nationwide, and since then, they have done nothing more than cause trouble for the cities and their inhabitants. The unannounced launch was part of the company’s plan to make a splash, but they got more attention from authorities than anyone else. Richmond, Virginia, police and city officials began impounding the electric scooters until Bird could be contacted. The idea was to discuss regulations and safety implementations with the company. However, there are seemingly more scooters still cropping up on Richmond streets causing injuries and cluttering walkways. Our scooter accident attorneys in Richmond have been working tirelessly to help victims injured by Bird.
The overarching issue is the lack of safety precautions. Bird didn’t go through the proper channels to release their scooters, and they didn’t meet the necessary safety requirements. Nationwide, major cities have seen a massive jump in electric scooter injuries. These scooters look like toys, but they can go rather fast and wreak havoc.
These electric scooters are motorized and can lead to serious injuries. Not only is it an issue of a driver behaving safely, these scooters can also malfunction, causing people to collide. Pedestrians and bicyclists aren’t safe. Of course, the biggest fear is that these scooters will eventually lead to someone’s death. If a bird scooter has caused an injury to you call an attorney at CAIL today.
Victims of Scooter Accidents
Commonwealth Accident Injury Law works to protect victims throughout the city of Richmond. With years of experience handling a massive range of personal injury cases, we can handle this trend. Over time, we have managed to maintain our dedication to helping our clients and their families. We will always pursue fair compensation and provide guidance throughout the entire case.
If you were hurt in a recent Bird electric scooter accident, we’re here to help. Call the CAIL offices today for help from an experienced, Richmond-based personal injury attorney. We can talk about your legal options during your free consultation.
Bird Scooters: How They Work
Visually Bird scooters look like a newer model of the Razor scooters that are popular among children. The primary difference is the power behind them. Bird scooters have a motor that allows them to accelerate to 15 mph and maintain that speed. As a scooter-sharing company, Bird allows anyone with a mobile phone and method of payment to use their scooters.
Similar bike sharing systems are available in fewer major cities and offer an eco-friendlier way to get around. Scooters, however, are attempting to bring in a different crowd that’s more interested in playing with the scooters than using them for transportation. Anyone with their phone app can startup a scooter, and then Bird only charges about 20 cents per minute of use.
So, after a user is done with the scooter, they use the app to lock it up, and Bird instructs people to gather them at charging stations. These charging stations are cleverly called “nests.” When necessary, Bird will send out local mechanics to service the scooters.
When it comes to safety and restrictions, there are very few limitations put into place. To operate a scooter, you do need a valid driver’s license and be at least 18. However, on a city level, Richmond doesn’t have anything in place requiring the use of a helmet for a scooter. Bird does offer a free helmet upon request, but users do have to pay for shipping costs, which most people are not inclined to do.
In addition to Richmond, Bird lists Arlington, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk as major cities in Virginia where Bird scooters are available. Bird has stated that they intend to work closely with cities to improve transportation and decrease environmental impact. However, the fundamental issue of releasing these scooters without going through the cities proper channels seems to void that statement.
Types of Electric Scooter Accidents
Immediately, safety was the primary concern with Bird scooters. Of course, any company will declare that safety is its top priority. But already there are many different types of serious injuries consistently appearing because of electric scooter use and misuse.
These accidents happen most frequently as a result of using these scooters:
Scooters being left in the streets and on sidewalks are resulting in pedestrians tripping and vehicles hitting them. Bird scooters are dockless meaning that there is no designated spot for riders to return them. They are often left in walkways, near building doorways, and handicap access ramps.
Faulty scooter parts are making up a substantial percentage of the injuries. Brake failure and brake locking are leading to wrist injuries and injuries from impacting with the handlebars. There have even been reports of the accelerator becoming stuck. With all of these cases, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a product defect case soon.
Injuries often stem from careless riders, which goes back to the original problem of not having any control over who can or can’t rent the scooters. Scooter riders are zipping down congested sidewalks, sometimes colliding with pedestrians while going up to 15 mph. These collisions can come from inexperience in handling the device or from using the scooter while intoxicated.
Car accidents have the most serious injuries as scooter riders are most often not wearing helmets. An impact with a car could easily be fatal for a scooter operator. These scooters are generally small, and not as visible as a bike to drivers, especially near dusk.
The quality of the road will affect scooter riders more than vehicle drivers. A pothole or lip in the sidewalk could cause a rider to lose control.
Who’s Liable for a Scooter Accident?
You likely experienced the injury without having any fault in the situation. Even if you were riding the Bird electric scooter, there are legal options available to show that the fault was not yours. For those who are victims of a scooter collision, or tripping over a scooter, you’ll want to pursue compensation.
The responsible party for your injuries can include:
- Manufacturer – Bird uses Ninebot, the China-based company, which also manufactures Segways.
- Bird – As the service provider, Bird is a possible responsible party.
- Maintenance person – The most recent charger or technician person. If these persons failed to maintain the scooters or leave them in a safe spot, they could be liable.
- Rider – The rider may be liable if they were acting inappropriately, violating the user agreement, or were otherwise unsafe.
- Driver of the vehicle – If the injury results from a car collision, the driver of the vehicle may be liable if they did not provide a proper duty of care, or violated a traffic law resulting in the incident.
- Business, Agency, or City – If the injury occurred as a result of poor property conditions, the owner of the property could be facing a liability claim.
At CAIL, we use a team of investigators to dig into who was at fault for these accidents. We also rely on experts in engineering and crash reconstruction to get a full understanding of the situation. With the help of these experts, we can find out how your Bird accident occurred and who’s essentially responsible for it.
Seeking Damages for an accident
Bird scooters don’t provide their riders with any structural protection, in a manner very similar to motorcycles. There are no airbags or seatbelts. The result is that the scooter rider can take on some very serious injuries with even a seemingly small impact. They can very easily be thrown from the scooter, which can result in a substantial amount of injury.
Potential injuries may include:
- Back and spine injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Lacerations and deep cuts
- “Road rash” or friction burns
- Emotional trauma (PTSD)
When working with an attorney, you can go through your medical records and talk about your injuries with experts. As you go through the case, you’ll need to breakdown the extent of the damage. This calculation will go beyond just your medical bills as you’ll need to account for emotional pain, suffering, and financial harm as well.
Damages for these injuries might include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death in the event of a lost loved one.
CAIL aggressively pursues compensation to help the victim as much as possible. Ideally, full and fair compensation should be the result of the case. In the event where a fair settlement isn’t available, CAIL attorneys are more than happy to take your fight to court.
Contact A Richmond Bird Scooter Accident Lawyer
After an accident with a Bird electric scooter, you’ll need guidance. The legal process is not clear when dealing with these electric scooter companies. Work with an attorney who understands that the accident wasn’t your fault, while they seek the maximum possible compensation. An electric scooter injury attorney can help ease some of the stress that comes after a traumatic accident.
CAIL attorneys will work to protect your rights while exploring various legal opportunities for you. Call 1-800-HURT-123 now or fill out our contact form for a free consultation where you can discuss the details of your case further.