Liability for electric scooter accidents depends on how the accident occurred and who is at fault. Sometimes several people share liability for injuries. That can include drivers, riders, or even pedestrians. Most electric scooter accident injuries result from operator negligence, manufacturer defects in production or design, or a collision with another party. Electric scooter accidents in Colorado often involve cars but they can also include pedestrians, cyclists and even other scooters.
No matter the details of the accident, a victim seeking compensation for injuries and losses must establish liability on a third party. In the case of a collision, the victim must prove one or more other parties to the collision acted negligently in causing the collision. For manufacturing defects, the victim must prove how the manufacturer failed to safely design or produce the product to be safe for its intended purpose. The Denver electric scooter accident lawyers at Front Range Injury Attorneys can help you establish liability and assert your right to compensation.
Determining who is liable for an e-scooter accident injury
Without establishing fault for causing your injuries, no person, business, or other entity owes you compensation. If you are the sole cause of injury to yourself or there is not a legal duty to compensate you for injuries another party caused, you cannot successfully pursue anybody for your damages. An important part of the work a scooter accident lawyer will do in your case is evaluate the facts of your case and determine who may be liable for your accident injuries. One or more of the following parties may be liable for your e-scooter accident injuries.
The scooter rider may be liable for causing a collision with a car or cyclist on the street. A pedestrian accident can also result on the street or sidewalk. Scooter riders have a duty to follow traffic laws and laws specific to electric scooters. Failing to operate an e-scooter safely and within the law can result in an accident. The rider may be liable personally but a rider on an electric scooter rental company like Lime or Bird may also be liable for the acts of the rider. Contact our Denver electric scooter accident attorneys about your claim.
Motor vehicle operator
Accidents can occur between an e-scooter and a passenger car, commercial truck, bicycle, motorcycle, or even public transportation buses. Electric scooters share roads and bike lanes with these vehicles where collisions can occur. Drivers have a duty to follow traffic law and drive with care. Scooter operators also have the same duty. Although motor vehicle drivers cause more scooter accidents, a scooter operator can improperly enter a lane or intersection, causing a driver to swerve and cause a car accident with another party. If a scooter rider caused you to avoid striking them but caused a crash with another vehicle, contact our Denver car accident lawyers about your case.
Electric scooter manufacturers and sellers
Most electric scooters in Denver and other parts of Colorado belong to scooter rideshare apps; however, you can buy a personal e-scooter of your own. When you buy an e-scooter, the manufacturer has a duty to design and produce scooters that are safe to operate for the intended purpose. Sellers also share liability for manufacturing defects. If a structural or design defect causes injuries while riding, the manufacturer and sellers may be liable for compensating you.
Depending upon the Colorado city ordinances, you may be permitted to ride an e-scooter on sidewalks owned by private people and businesses. Those owners have duties to third parties to maintain sidewalks. If you suffer injuries due to a property defect, you may have a claim against the property owner.
In cases involving public property, such as streets and public sidewalks, the local government may be liable for your injuries. Claims against government entities in Colorado involve special rules for procedures and liability. If you suffer injuries due to a property condition on public property, contact a scooter accident attorney immediately.
Scooter rideshare companies (Lime and Bird)
Although there are several electric scooter rideshare companies, the most common in Colorado are Lime and Bird. In Denver, Lime and Bird have approved deals with the city. These companies may be liable for scooter accident injuries. You may suffer injuries as a rider due to unsafe e-scooters left in service or e-scooters that have not been properly maintained. If you are injured due to a negligent rider on a Lime or Bird scooter, you may have a claim against Lime or Bird in addition to the rider. You may also suffer injuries caused by an abandoned electric scooter on a sidewalk or street.
Evidence to establish liability for your injuries
Proving injuries caused by an electric scooter accident generally requires evidence of:
- who caused your injuries
- how that person caused the accident
- why that person had a duty of care
- how that person breached their duty of care
- how the accident caused your injuries
Although your testimony is a form of evidence, it is rarely enough evidence on its own. After all, you have an interest in holding somebody else accountable for your injuries and financial losses. The other party to your case also has an interest in avoiding responsibility. It is usually difficult to establish liability when there are only word versus word statements. Independent evidence is important to build your case for liability.
Evidence of liability may include:
- Photos or videos of the accident site
- Medical documentation of diagnosis, treatment and bills
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Expert witness testimony
- Photos of your visible injuries
Calling 911 or the police after a scooter accident can help obtain independent evidence of the accident. Police departments in Denver and other Colorado cities usually investigate accidents on the scene. They will complete a report and gather information. Sometimes they provide photos or videos of the scene. Your lawyer can obtain the accident report and other evidence collected by the investigating officer.
E-scooter rideshare companies and user agreements
One way e-scooter rideshare companies like Lime and Bird avoid liability for an accident is by requiring users to sign a digital agreement. You may sign the digital agreement as part of signing up on the app or on a per-use basis. The agreement states the company is not liable for any accidents regardless of facts or circumstances. The rider agrees to ride at their own risk and foregoes the right to sue or file insurance claims against the company.
That can create a dangerous situation for people injured in a scooter accident. For people injured by a negligent e-scooter rider, the company is highly likely to deny any claim due to this waiver or agreement. An injured third party has no contractual agreement to waive liability on the part of the company; however, the e-scooter company is sure to try to use the agreement to avoid liability. You can pursue the rider directly but most riders do not carry coverage for an e-scooter. Your likelihood of obtaining compensation in these circumstances improves by hiring a personal injury attorney. An attorney can work on your behalf to locate insurance coverage and advocate for compensation on your claims.
It can also create a dangerous situation for riders injured in a scooter accident. If your injuries are caused by your negligence, the rideshare company has no duty to insure you or pay for your damages. If the injuries result from the condition of the scooter, you may have a difficult path to pursue the rideshare company or a manufacturer. Even worse, a collision with a negligent driver or cyclist may require you to pursue that party who also may not have insurance or may be underinsured. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you locate insurance coverage and pursue available claims.
Examples of common e-scooter injuries
You can find electric scooters from Lime and Bird around Denver available to rent, often around popular locations like the 16th Street Mall, Coors Field and City Park. While these scooter rentals offer convenience to riders and a low polluting alternative, the growing use of electric scooters results in an increase in accident injuries. Some of the most common e-scooter accident injuries result from:
- Young or unsupervised children riding
- Using electric scooters in unpermitted areas
- Riding too fast for road or sidewalk conditions
- Not wearing safety equipment like helmets
- Multiple riders on one scooter
- Improperly placed scooters on sidewalks or roads
- Scooter malfunction
What damages can I recover in an electric scooter case under Colorado law?
Generally under Colorado law an accident victim may recover economic and non-economic damages caused by accident-related injuries. These may include:
- Past medical bills for emergency care, rehabilitation, surgery, or pain management
- Future medical expenses
- Lost past wages or earnings
- Future loss of earning capability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The specific types of damages you can recover and the amount depends upon the specific facts of your case. Your attorney will carefully review all evidence of damages to evaluate your case and pursue the maximum compensation.
Front Range Injury Attorneys can help with your case.
After a scooter accident, there are a lot of issues that need sudden attention, such as getting medical treatment and establishing liability. The insurance companies involved in your e-scooter case will immediately begin work to deny or devalue your case. You need an experienced advocate on your side to help you navigate the legal issues and help you get fair compensation. The electric scooter accident lawyers at Front Range Injury Attorneys are ready to help. Our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys can take care of the legal issues while you focus on taking care of your health. Contact our Denver office today for a free case review.