A California-based startup began dropping hundreds of electric scooters into major cities nationwide. It all started in August of 2018 and since then has 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 police and city officials impounded the dock fewer 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. Bird scooters remain on Richmond streets and are causing injuries. A Bird scooter clutter walkways and are often left in the middle of the road.
Bird is just the first wave of scooter-sharing companies. No doubt you can expect to see Spin and Lime scooters soon too.
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 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 malfunction, and people collide. Pedestrians and bicyclists aren’t safe. Of course, the biggest fear is that these scooters will lead to someone’s death.
A Standing Devotion to Victims of Scooter Accidents
Commonwealth Accident Injury Law works to protect victims throughout Richmond, VA. 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 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 quickly. 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 showing 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 employs 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. 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.
In addition to Richmond, Bird lists Arlington, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk are 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 as people use these scooters:
- Abandoned scooters are resulting in pedestrians tripping and vehicles hitting them. Bird scooters are dock less 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.
- Device malfunctions are making up a substantial percentage of the injuries. Brake failure and brake locking are leading to wrist injuries, injuries from impacting with the handlebars are more. There have even been reports of the accelerator becoming stuck. With enough of these cases, it wouldn’t be a shock to see a product defect case soon.
- Collision injuries often stem from careless riders, going 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, 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 crashes 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.
- Road conditions 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.
- Business, Agency, or City – If the injury came 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 a Bird Scooter Accident Through a Lawsuit
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. Even being thrown from the scooter 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 pursued compensation to help the victim as much as possible. Ideally, full and fair compensation will be the result of the case. In the event where a fair settlement isn’t available, CAIL attorneys are happy to take your fight to court.
Contact A Richmond Bird Scooter Accident Lawyer Now
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 now or reach CAIL online for a free consultation where you can discuss the details of your case further.