It’s certainly true that the era of electronic scooters started in earnest in 2018. Several of these companies, most conspicuously Bird and Lime, have been dropping their dockless scooters in strategic locations in several large Texas cities, including Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, and their popularity has taken off.
Like bicycles, people on electric scooters are very vulnerable, so when they get hit by a car, the resulting injuries can be very severe. The Austin electric scooter accident lawyers at FVF will educate you on your rights and options so you can begin taking steps towards maximizing your settlement. There are several important factors that come into play when evaluating a scooter accident case:
The only way to maximize your recovery after being injured in an electric scooter accident is to know the answer to these questions. At FVF, we welcome the opportunity to help you understand how these factors impact your electric scooter accident case so you can get the best electric scooter accident settlement possible under the circumstances.
In Austin, these electric scooters are left in strategic places throughout the city. There is no dock, so the user comes across one and makes an impulse decision to pick one up, sign in through their smartphone app and take it to the next place they want to go, where they leave it there for the next user to find. They are easy to operate, and they certainly beat walking, so they have become very popular. One kick and the scooter just takes off. Speed and braking are controlled by the rider using handlebar controls, and the vast majority of people who use these electric scooters do so without a helmet.
As anyone could have predicted, the arrival of electric scooters on Austin roadways has brought electric scooter accidents. While these scooters are too new to have produced a set of reliable e-scooter accident statistics, the death tolls are beginning to mount, including reports of multiple fatal electric scooter accidents in Austin. Unfortunately, the state of Texas holds the dubious honor of seeing the first-ever electric scooter fatality, which happened in Dallas in 2018, with scooter deaths occurring more and more across the nation.
Unfortunately, many electric scooter accidents in Austin are caused by irresponsible use of these objects that now share the roadways with much larger vehicles. For example, rider intoxication is common, since the electric scooters are used by riders to travel from bar to bar. Additionally, failing to obey traffic signals, and operate the scooters defensively can leave the electric scooter riders more susceptible to accidents. Finally, scooters can malfunction or hit unstable ground, causing riders to be thrown off the electric scooter and face serious harm. This creates a hazard for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers as well.
Since e-scooters landed on Austin streets, there have been e-scooter accidents, and the e scooter accident lawyers at FVF have been watching the developments very closely. These scooters are very popular with students at the University of Texas and in other dense, urban areas such as downtown, and more than a few scooter users have encountered dangerous situations as they tool around Austin on these vehicles.
Considering the vulnerability of e-scooter riders, our concern over these new vehicles seems warranted. The City of Austin has begun to regulate e-scooters and one of their first decisions was to order them off the sidewalk as a way to protect pedestrians. That means e-scooter riders are required to share the road with much larger vehicles, including SUVs, pickups and even large commercial trucks. And since current regulation of these scooters does not obligate riders to wear a helmet, there is additional risk when there are Lime scooter accidents or Bird scooter accidents. The scooter accident lawyers at FVF are prepared for this, and we are ready for the likelihood that e-scooter accident lawsuits will become more and more common.
As noted, the proliferation of these dockless electric scooters has resulted in a proliferation of e-scooter accidents. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting a study of the potential problems with these scooters, and they are conducting the study right here in Austin. FVF is following this study, and we will be at the forefront when it comes to protecting the rights of those involved in electric scooter accidents.
Those who would like to navigate city streets quickly and easily see these scooters in a number of spots around town, and the interest in getting to their destination more quickly and efficiently than walking is so tempting, they don’t consider the potential risks and the possibility that they could be seriously injured. FVF is concerned with this development and we’d like to help.
Scooter riders should consider the possibility that they could collide with a much larger vehicle, which is nearly any other vehicle on the road. They could also potentially lose control of their scooter, which could lead to disaster. There have also been reports of electric scooter accidents caused when an operator leaves their Lime scooter or Bird scooter in the narrow pathway of a building entrance, causing people to trip and fall. Also, many e-scooter users operate them without wearing any safety equipment. Scooter users should at least use a helmet or pads for their knees and elbows. The lack of safety equipment increases the likelihood of a serious injury in an electric scooter accident.
If you find yourself in an accident involving one of these new scooters, Fogelman & Von Flatern will be prepared to represent you and to get you the compensation you deserve. And despite the e-scooter companies’ attempts to deny liability, if we can prove negligence and liability, we can hold them accountable.
The lawyers at Fogelman & Von Flatern are doing our homework on this potential problem, and we know there are at least three companies operating in Austin, renting electric scooters to the public. These companies are Lime, Bird and Goat. They all use roughly the same scooter, which is manufactured by Segway, and their user agreements and operating instructions are nearly identical, using roughly the same language, with all including waivers of liability.
This is not surprising; waivers of liability are everywhere; when you park your car in a lot, the ticket they give you includes a waiver for damages or theft. Whether or not such waivers are enforceable for as scooter company depends greatly on the circumstances of the accident and the injury or damages that result.
If you can establish that another party’s negligence caused your injury, you can successfully sue them and recover damages in some cases, even if you have signed a waiver. In the case of an electric scooter accident, you decide to use a Lime scooter, you download the Lime app and go on your way. If a car stops suddenly in front of you, and you hit the brakes hard, but slam into the car anyway, FVF may be able to help you successfully sue Lime if you can prove the scooter wasn’t properly maintained, or the brakes lacked the stopping power to be reliable in traffic. You may also be able to sue successfully if the operating instructions Lime provided were insufficient for preventing the accident. The Austin e-scooter accident lawyers at FVF can help you evaluate your rights in those or similar circumstances.
The three companies responsible for locating scooters all over the streets of Austin are all located out of state, which means it can be a difficult and arduous process to determine who is accountable for e-scooter accidents and injuries. Besides identifying the party or parties responsible for the circumstances surrounding the accident, a thorough investigation of the events leading to the accident must be conducted.
It is also necessary for those injured in Lime Scooter accidents, Bird Scooter accidents and Goat Scooter accidents to discover which insurance coverage may apply in any given situation. It’s no exaggeration to say that such work is daunting for those who have not done it before. That’s why an attorney is a necessity in such cases.
The experience and knowledge of a dockless e-scooter accident lawyer in Austin, like those at FVF, can make them an invaluable partner in cases like these. When you consider the legal agreement they require each scooter users to sign, it is clear these companies know they have a lot of potential liability and they and their insurance companies will try everything they can to avoid liability to the extent they can. The Austin personal injury lawyers at FVF know how to make everyone responsible for your injuries accountable for their negligence and we can make sure you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to.
If you call for a no-cost consultation, the lawyers at FVF will help you understand your rights and options, including educating you about how the choices you make now can dramatically impact the outcome of your case. You will not pay anything unless you win your case against the negligent party or parties, whether it’s the e-scooter company, the e-scooter manufacturer, another motorist or all of the above. We care about our clients and we are prepared to protect their rights and protect their future.
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FVF’s client contract has, for a long time, contained the following termination clause: “FVF Law is a values-driven law firm, and because diversity is a value we support, “good cause” [for termination] shall include any expression by the client of intolerance with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.”
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